Athletics

Manaea pitches into the eighth, Lowrie drives in four as A's hold off Mariners

Manaea pitches into the eighth, Lowrie drives in four as A's hold off Mariners

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- With a 7-6 win over the Mariners Monday evening at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Athletics extended their lead in the wild-card race to 2.5 games over Seattle and moved to within just two games of the idle Houston Astros for the best record in the West. 

Jed Lowrie fueled the A’s offense, driving in the game’s first three runs and then added his fourth RBI of the game in the sixth with a double down the line. 

Matt Chapman put on a show with his glove, including a run saving diving stop in the hole in the fourth inning. He tied a team record for the second time this season with three doubles and also scored three runs batting in front of Lowrie in the two spot. 

Sean Manaea shut the Mariners down for much of the night, yielding just two run on five hits over 7.2 innings of work. With the win, Manaea improved to 11-8 on the season for Oakland and has now allowed three runs or fewer in 13 consecutive starts. 

The Athletics tagged Mariners starter, Marco Gonzales, for eight hits and four runs over five innings. Oakland jumped all over Casey Lawrence in the sixth, scoring three times in the frame and appeared to put the game out reach.  

Kyle Seager drove in the first run for Seattle with a single in the fourth that scored Mitch Haniger. The Mariners scored two runs in the eighth and then added three more in the ninth to cut the A’s lead to one. 

With Haniger at first, Blake Treinen struck out Cameron Maybin for the second out of the ninth. Jean Segura picked up an infield single to put the tying run at second, but the A’s closer sealed the deal by striking out Nelson Cruz to pick up his 31st save of the season. 

Oakland improved to a season-best 23 games over .500 with the victory and sit at 71-48 on the year. They have now won three straight and they are 37-12 over their last 49 games. 

Baby Steps
During his pregame meeting with the media, Bob Melvin updated the status of three of the A’s many injured pitchers sitting on the disabled list. Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs and Jharel Cotton have started throwing programs.

There is an outside chance that both Blackburn and Triggs can make it back to Oakland before the season ends. 

“We hold out hope for that,” Melvin said. “With September and extended rosters, I think there is the potential for that.”

Cotton underwent Tommy John surgery in March and is out for the season. Beginning a throwing program is a big step for the 26-year-old pitcher. 

“I think everything is on schedule, but I think for him it’s a big day because it’s a lot of hard work coming off of Tommy John, that’s a lot tough thing to rehab from,” Melvin said. “It can be a lonely existence when you’re doing that.”

What’s Next
Mike Fiers takes the bump for his second start as a member of the A’s staff Tuesday evening at 7:05. He lasted 5.1 innings in his first game for Oakland, giving up four hits and a run while striking out eight in the Athletics 3-2 win over Anaheim on last Wednesday. Fiers will faceoff against left hander veteran, James Paxton, who is 10-5 with 3.63 era for the Mariners this season.

Oakland or New York? A's players debate AL Wild Card game's location

Oakland or New York? A's players debate AL Wild Card game's location

Entering the final week of the regular season, it appears all but certain that the A's and Yankees will face off in the American League Wild Card Game. The only question remaining is which team will host it.

As of Monday, it would be the Yankees. New York leads Oakland by 1 1/2 games and owns the tiebreaker. But how much does home-field advantage actually matter in a winner-take-all game?

Since Major League Baseball introduced the Wild Card Game in 2012, road teams actually have gone 7-5 (4-2 in the National League and 3-3 in the American League). But the A's still say they would prefer to play the game at the Coliseum.

“I think we're comfortable with both, but at the same time, it would be more of an advantage to play here because this place is so loud,” outfielder Ramón Laureano told NBC Sports California. “It's really fun to play here when it's packed.”

Said designated hitter Khris Davis: “We'll embrace anything that comes our way. We'll accept the challenge if it's on the road, but if it's at home, I think we'd like that a little bit more. Just being in front of our own fans, there's nothing like home.”

Oakland's home and road records are similar this season. The A's finished their home schedule 50-31, and they're currently 44-31 on the road with six to play. But the offense has been significantly better away from the Coliseum.

[RELATED: Yankees star Didi Gregorius suffers wrist injury]

In 75 road games, Oakland has scored 406 runs, an average of 5.4 per game. At home, they totaled just 369 runs in 81 games, or 4.6 per contest. The A's also have belted a league-leading 123 home runs on the road, compared to 91 at home.

The pitching numbers present a different story, however. Oakland has allowed just 3.8 runs per game at home this season, compared to 4.4 on the road.

“You always want to play at home because this can be a real home-field advantage and we've played really well at home in the second half,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “But if, hypothetically, we're in the playoffs and we play a Wild Card Game, we're not afraid to play on the road. We've done really well on the road this year, and our offensive numbers are a little bit (better).”

The statistical splits are more dramatic for the Yankees. New York has been dominant at Yankee Stadium, finishing its home schedule with a 53-28 record, while going 42-32 on the road. The Yankees' bats especially thrived at home, averaging 5.6 runs per game, compared to 4.7 on the road.

However, New York's pitching staff performed better outside of hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. At home, the Yankees allowed an average of 4.3 runs per game. On the road, that number dropped to 3.8.

You can break down the numbers any way you want, but in a one-game scenario, all the stats go out the window. While both teams would prefer to host the game, they have each shown the ability to beat quality opponents on the road.

A's notes: Failures with runners in scoring position an oddity in Twins series

A's notes: Failures with runners in scoring position an oddity in Twins series

OAKLAND -- The A's went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in Sunday's 5-1 loss, finishing their three-game series with the Twins an astounding 0-for-21 in that stat.

“That does not happen very often with us,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “We're usually pretty good with runners in scoring position. We were not this series.

"Usually those things tend to even out. Unfortunately they didn't even out today.”

For the season, Oakland ranks sixth in MLB with a .268 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Some other notes from the day at the Coliseum ...

-- A's right-hander Trevor Cahill has allowed three or more runs in five consecutive starts, and he owns an ERA of 7.45 during that stretch. But Melvin thought he looked better against the Twins.

“I actually thought his delivery and his stuff -- the movement on his stuff -- were really good, some of the best we've seen,” Melvin said. “All things considered, I think it was a step in the right direction for him. The last time we saw him, he was completely out of whack and hurting a little bit. You could tell within his delivery, it just wasn't smooth. But I think he looked OK today.”

Cahill agreed" “My stuff was a lot better. I was able to command a lot better for the most part. I just couldn't get that out when I had to.”

-- Matt Olson blasted his 28th home run of the season to extend his career high. Those 28 homers also lead all American League first basemen.

"It's nice to see some results, for sure,” Olson said. “The more the merrier, but wins are No. 1 right now.”

-- A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy threw out his 27th attempted base stealer of the season, extending his major league lead. Lucroy also recorded his 79th assist of the season, an Oakland record for catchers.

-- J.B. Wendelken pitched a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 0.71. The young righty has allowed only one earned run in 12 2/3 innings for Oakland this season.

-- A's starting pitchers have a streak of 37 consecutive games of seven innings or fewer. A's starters have pitched 807 1/3 innings this season. The fewest in a non-strike season in A's history is 858 2/3 in 1997.

-- The A's fell to 39-20 since the All-Star break, still the best record in Major League Baseball.