Athletics

A's use four-run first inning to take down King Felix and the Mariners

A's use four-run first inning to take down King Felix and the Mariners

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Stephen Piscotty and the Athletics tagged Felix Hernandez early, and Oakland ended the Seattle Mariners' five-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory Thursday.

Oakland helped itself by turning a team record-tying five groundball double plays, and stopped a five-game home skid.

The A's scored four times in the first inning, two on Piscotty's double off Hernandez (5-4). Hernandez settled down and retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced in going six innings.

Yusmeiro Petit (2-1) pitched three scoreless innings in relief. He was among five A's pitchers manager Bob Melvin used after saying it would be a bullpen day with rookie reliever Josh Lucas making a spot start.

Lucas lasted just two innings in his first career start, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks and throwing 52 pitches. The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but managed just one run as Nelson Cruz grounded into a double play and Kyle Seager struck out.

Seager hit an RBI double off Blake Treinen in the eighth. Treinen got Daniel Vogelbach to fly out to end the inning with runners at second and third, and worked the ninth for his 11th save.

Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly in the first, Piscotty doubled and Dustin Fowler had an RBI single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: OF Mitch Haniger, who sat out Wednesday's game after being hit by a pitch on his right forearm the previous day, was back in the lineup.

Athletics: LHP Ryan Buchter (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground from 75 feet on Thursday without discomfort. Melvin said the team doesn't have a timetable for when he'll throw off a mound, the next step in his recovery. . RHP Liam Hendriks (strained right groin) left for Arizona on Thursday to pitch in extended spring training games, Melvin said. . RHP Paul Blackburn (strained right forearm) is headed to Arizona, too, and could soon start a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (3-1, 3.30 ERA) will pitch in Friday's series opener against Minnesota. Paxton is 2-1 with a 2.91 in three career starts against the Twins.

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (5-4, 2.71) will pitch Friday's series opener against Arizona. Manaea has never faced Arizona but is 2-4 with a 3.63 ERA in eight career interleague starts.

A's notes: Khris Davis continues to own Astros ace Justin Verlander

A's notes: Khris Davis continues to own Astros ace Justin Verlander

OAKLAND — Justin Verlander has made a lot of good hitters look silly over the years. Khris Davis is not one of them.

The A's slugger belted two home runs off Verlander, followed by a single, improving to 6-for-11 with four home runs in his career against the former MVP.

This was Davis' 21st career multi-homer game, and his sixth this season, tied for third most in Oakland history behind Reggie Jackson (eight), Jose Canseco (seven), and Mark McGwire (seven). Davis also set a career high with his eighth three-hit game of the season.

--- Despite allowing four earned runs, Verlander earned his 200th career win. He joins Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia as the only active pitchers with at least 200 wins and 2,500 strikeouts.

--- The five home runs allowed by the A's tied a season high. Oakland also gave up five home runs June 5 at Texas.

--- The nine runs allowed by the A's were their most in a game since July 24 at Texas, a 13-10 win in 10 innings.

--- Sean Manaea allowed six runs, tying his season high. He gave up nine hits, also tying a season high.

--- Matt Olson went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to seven games, tying a career high.

--- Mark Canha is 0 for his last 11 at the plate. He is batting .125 (5-for-40) in the month of August.

--- Jonathan Lucroy snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a base hit in the seventh inning. He is batting .189 (7-for-37) in August.

What the A's proved after taking four of six from Astros and Mariners

What the A's proved after taking four of six from Astros and Mariners

OAKLAND — Take notice, Major League Baseball. The A's have declared themselves here to stay.

Despite Sunday's loss, Oakland finished off an impressive 4-2 week with series victories against both the Astros and Mariners, their top two competitors in the AL West.

Now with 38 games remaining, the A's sit at 74-50, just a game behind Houston for first place, and 3 1/2 games ahead of Seattle in the Wild Card race. It has become clear that Oakland will be in this division race until the very end.

“We've believed in ourselves since Spring Training, even when not a lot of people thought we should,” reliever Emilio Pagan said. “I think we made a statement coming out and taking the series against them, and Seattle, two really good teams. We feel good going forward.”

“Other teams know that we're good and we're a legit team,” added catcher Jonathan Lucroy. “They know that they have to have their best stuff to beat us.”

The A's have been the hottest team in baseball for more than two months now. Oakland is 40-14 in the last 54 games, a pretty significant sample size, signifying that this is not a fluke. The A's have proven they are one of the elite teams in the sport.

“I would definitely say we're very confident,” reliever Lou Trivino said. “Obviously it would have been nice to get the win here today, but as long as you can continue to win every series, that's really all you need to do. If we can continue to play like we're playing, we're definitely very confident.”

“I think it shows what kind of team we've got, the depth we've got, and how we play,” outfielder Nick Martini added.

The A's have also shown they can beat the league's other top teams. Oakland is 5-4 against the Red Sox and Yankees, who own the two best records in MLB. After losing eight in a row to the Astros, the A's have taken five of the last seven meetings.

“We're just a better team now,” said manager Bob Melvin. “Before, maybe we go out and hope to win those games against them, and now I think we go out and expect to win the games.”

And why shouldn't they? The A's have only lost one of their last 18 series. That type of consistency builds incredible confidence, even for a team lacking experience. This group knows they can compete with anyone in the league, even the defending World Series champions, and they won't settle for anything less than a division title.

It's now a 38-game sprint to the finish. Game on.