Kottaras, A’s get to Hernandez early in 6-1 win


SEATTLE (AP) — George Kottaras hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning and the Oakland Athletics chased Felix Hernandez early in a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Hernandez (13-7) threw 96 pitches in just 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since May 16 when he went 3 2-3 innings at Cleveland. He gave up five earned runs, 11 hits — matching his season high — walked one and struck out four.

It was the second straight loss for the 2010 Cy Young Award winner. He had been 9-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his previous 15 starts since June 17, with five shutouts, including a perfect game on Aug. 15.

The victory broke the A’s three-game losing streak. They trail Texas in the AL West by 4 1-2 games. The A’s, Yankees and Orioles are all within a half-game of each other on top of the wild card standings.

A.J. Griffin (5-0), in his 10th start his rookie season, went 5 1-3 innings to pick up the victory. He gave up one run and six hits, walking one and striking out seven.

Cliff Pennington had a season-high four hits for the A’s.

Josh Donaldson drew a one-out walk in the fourth inning and was followed by a Stephen Drew single to set up Kottaras’ three-run shot, on a 1-1 pitch from Hernandez. It was Kottaras’ fourth home run.

The A’s touched Hernandez for two runs in the fifth. Donaldson had an RBI double into the left-field corner, as Brandon Moss scored from first. Drew followed with a run-scoring single to right, ending Hernandez’s night.

The A’s pushed across an unearned run in the first. Seth Smith reached on a one-out single. With two outs, Yoenis Cespedes blooped a single to right but Thames overran the ball and Smith was waved home on the error.

The Mariners got that run back in the second. Michael Saunders led off with a single to center. With two outs, Luis Jimenez walked and Saunders scored on Brandon Ryan’s single to right.