Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman follows through on a swing against the Giants at AT&T Park on Friday, July 13, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman follows through on a swing against the Giants at AT&T Park on Friday, July 13, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Oakland Athletics clinch playoff spot, beat Mariners

Just before first pitch in Seattle, thanks to the New York Yankees closing out a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Oakland Athletics had already secured a playoff berth — their first since 2014.

Like 2014, they’re headed to the Wild Card game — unless the Houston Astros collapse in the final week — but unlike 2014, they’re coming in with a head of steam.

Instead of limping to the finish, the Athletics are rolling. With a 7-3 win over the Mariners, who for much of the season stood ahead of the A’s in the Wild Card standings, Oakland (95-62) has now won 61 of its last 87 games.

Behind Daniel Mengden — making his first start since returning to the club at the end of August — the A’s hit four home runs, including the go-ahead shot by third baseman Matt Chapman in the top of the seventh.

Mengden started 16 games for Oakland before spraining his right foot in an abbreviated start against the Chicago White Sox on June 12. Since returning to the club at the start of September as the bulk guy in opener scenarios, Mengden had gone 1-0 in four appearances with a 1.83 ERA. 

In the fifth inning on Monday, he took a liner off that same foot from Denard Span, but he stayed in the game and made it into the sixth. He wouldn’t make it out of the frame, as Dee Gordon tied the game with a two-run shot, one of three hits Mengden allowed in the inning, after allowing just one hit over the first five.

Ryan Buchter got Robinson Cano to strike out and, despite allowing a Nelson Cruz single to move the go-ahead run into scoring position, froze Span with a fastball to end the inning.

After Chapman’s two-run homer off Shawn Armstrong, Buchter ended up with the win. Fernando Rodney took care of the bottom of the seventh, allowing just a two-out single to Mike Zunino, and the visitors padded the lead in the eighth with a Matt Olson RBI single and a Marcus Semien sac fly, leaving little pressure for Jeurys Familia and Blake Treinen to record the final six outs.

Semien and Olson also teamed up on an excellent defensive play to rob Ben Gamel of a hit in the seventh, with an excellent backhand and throw by Semien and a scoop by Olson before Gamel reached the bag.

Neither starter factored into the decision, with James Paxton going four innings for Seattle (85-71) on a limited pitch count. He threw 71 and allowed a pair of solo homers, with Jonathan Lucroy taking him deep in the third for his 100th career homer, and Jed Lowrie leading off the fourth with a blast. Khris Davis added his league-leading 46th homer in the fifth, driving in his 120th RBI, which is good for second in the league behind Boston’s J.D. Martinez.

The Mariners had struck first with a Robinson Cano solo shot in the bottom of the first, but Mengden allowed just one more baserunner until the sixth. That sixth inning started with a Zunino double into the gap and was followed with Gordon’s fourth homer of the year and second in the past week. He also hit one against the Athletics on August 15.Daniel MengdenDee GordonJames PaxtonJed Lowriejonathan lucroyKhris DavisMajor League BaseballMatt ChapmanMLBOakland A'sOakland AthleticsRobinson Canoryan buchterSeattle Marinersshawn armstrong

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

The San Francisco Giants celebrate team legend Willie Mays' 90th birthday before taking on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on May 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Willie Mays returns to the ballpark for a special birthday bash

Giants celebrate No. 24’s 90th in an intimate party for a few thousand friends

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Most Read