By JANIE McCAULEY AP Baseball Writer
OAKLAND, California. (AP) – Kyle Seager hit his 35th home run, Ty France also connected and the Seattle Mariners advanced to the playoffs, beating Oakland Athletics 4-1 Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.
Seattle topped the A-number for the third day in a row to draw within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees for the second wild card. Oakland fell 3 1/2 behind New York.
As manager Bob Melvin and bench coach Ryan Christenson were both thrown out by referee Greg Gibson at the top of the sixth during a strange sequence.
Melvin came out to seek an explanation for the lack of a bad call against Seattle’s Dylan Moore. Baserunner Jarred Kelenic had stolen others already, only to return to the first seemingly unclear point of error. He was marked by Matt Olson, but Gibson had signaled a timeout – so Kelenic went on to others.
Melvin was furious when Christenson was thrown the first time he tried to communicate to Melvin that he had seen an ugly tip, but Gibson clearly believed that Christenson was shouting at him. This meant that third base coach Mark Kotsay moved into the active leadership role.
Chris Flexen (13-6) struck out eight and went two, allowing one run on three hits over seven star innings. Diego Castillo hit a 1-2-3 eighth, and Drew Steckenrider finished for his 11th save.
Tom Murphy added an RBI single in off Cole Irvin (10-14), which fell to 0-4 lifetime against the Mariners with all four defeats in as many starts this year.
Matt Chapman finished fifth in the A-number.
Oakland’s right-hander Chris Bassitt promised to return to the mound at the end of the season after a frightening 100 km / h line ride to the face in Chicago in August. 17.
He gets the chance in the league final on Thursday afternoon. Bassitt underwent facial surgery in August. 24 to repair three cheekbone fractures from the injury.
“It’s been a bit of a torture chamber,” Bassitt said. “I’m happy to finally be back and hopefully help the team win.”
Immediately after he was injured, on a ball from Brian Goodwin’s bat in the second half of a 9-0 loss to the White Sox, Bassitt Melvin and the medical staff let it be known that he was definitely planning to set up again this year.
Athletics: RHP Daulton Jefferies was examined by team orthopedist Dr. William Workman and and MRI examination showed an elbow flexor load. He will be on the sidelines for 2-3 weeks. … INF Jed Lowrie handles pain between the second and third leg of the right hand from a difficult swing and will be limited to hitting from the left side. … DH / 1B Mitch Moreland received a cortisone shot last week in the troublesome left wrist and rehabbing in Oakland, but it is unlikely he will play again during the regular season. … RHP Mike Fiers (sprained pitching elbow) allowed three runs – two earned – and four hits in 1 2/3 rounds without a strike or trips for Triple -A Las Vegas Tuesday night in a rehab outing and still did not feels right. “He’s just had a tough year,” Melvin said. … RHP Trevor Rosenthal, who has not participated this year due to shoulder and hip problems, will be re-examined by the doctor who performed the hip operation.
Bassitt (12-4, 3.22 ERA) led the American League in victories, innings beating (151.0) and starting (25) at the time of injury. Seattle sends LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-9, 4.32) to the mound and seeks his first win in nine starts since hitting the rays in August. 3. Kikuchi is 1-0 with 3.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts for three rounds in their two previous starts vs. The A number this year.
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