OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge has embraced the opportunity for his club to impact the AL West and wild card races, relishing each game in a playoff-type atmosphere.
He’d only be happier if his Mariners made a more positive mark.
Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning after Josh Donaldson’s tying two-run shot in the ninth, and the Oakland Athletics gained ground on the first-place Texas Rangers with a stunning 7-4 win over the Mariners on Saturday.
“Those guys are feeling it over there,” Wedge said. “The fans are feeling it. Obviously the players are feeling it. You can sense the excitement in the air, and it’s great for our guys to be playing in that environment. You have to finish games off. We just weren’t able to do that today.”
Few teams have in extra innings in Oakland this season.
Coco Crisp singled off Oliver Perez (1-3) leading off the final inning for his fourth hit. Stephen Pryor entered with one out and walked Yoenis Cespedes on four pitches.”
Moss hammered the first pitch against Pryor well over the wall in right for his 21st home run, sending Oakland (90-68) streaming out of the dugout to celebrate its major-league leading 14th walk-off win.
“What hurts us is that leadoff walk,” Wedge said. “Now you bring the tying run into the game and then he hung a breaking ball. His stuff’s good. That’s the type of closer that we want and he’s going to be. It just didn’t work out for us today.”
The A’s are 2 games back of Texas in the division and 2 ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the final wild card. The Angels-Rangers game Saturday in Texas was postponed by inclement weather, and the teams will play a doubleheader Sunday. Tampa Bay also is three games behind Oakland.
Oakland hosts Texas in the final three games of the season starting Monday. If the Angels lose the doubleheader and Tampa Bay falls in its finale at the Chicago White Sox, the A’s could clinch at least the wild card with a win today.
Donaldson’s drive off Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth landed just over the wall in center field for his ninth home run to start Oakland’s latest rally. Grant Balfour (3-2) pitched a perfect inning to earn the win.
John Jaso walked leading off the second inning and took advantage of a pair of errors for Seattle’s first run.
Justin Smoak grounded out to Moss, who stepped on first base and threw the ball into left field. Cespedes tried to throw out Jaso at third and instead sailed the ball into Oakland’s dugout, allowing Jaso to score and give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
Kyle Seager hit a solo shot over the wall in center and Michael Saunders lined a two-run homer to right to put Seattle ahead 4-0 in the fourth. It was the 19th home run for each this season.
Once again, Jason Vargas quieted the A’s. He struck out seven and walked none in seven innings. The lefty is 2-1 and has allowed only 10 runs in six starts against Oakland this season.