OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mark Canha hit a two-out, two-run home run in the 10th inning, lifting the Oakland Athletics to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
The Mariners had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the 10th when pinch-runner Dee Strange-Gordon – playing in his 1,000th career game – scored on a passed ball.
The A’s came back with the majors-leading sixth walkoff win.
Ramon Laureano hit a two-out double to drive in Sean Murphy, who began the inning at second base. Canha followed with a deep drive on a 1-1 pitch from Joey Gerber (1-1) that cleared the fence in right. It was Canha’s second game-ending hit this season.
“We have a lot of guys that are clutch. Ramon’s one of those guys and I consider myself one of those guys,” Canha said. “The moment’s never too big for us as a team. We have that kind of special ability to win in dramatic fashion. It’s a good thing to have.”
The A’s (35-22) moved past the Minnesota Twins (35-23) in the race for the second seed in the AL. Oakland had lost three of four and five of 11.
Manager Bob Melvin, who admitted before the game that his ballclub has been pressing, noted the importance of the A’s getting homefield advantage in the playoffs if they can hold on.
“You give us a chance late and we’ve shown that we can win games like that here at home,” Melvin said. “It’s a little different on the road when you don’t have the last at-bat.”
Both teams were held scoreless through nine innings before the offenses broke through.
Jake Diekman (2-0) retired three batters to claim win.
Gordon put the Mariners ahead 1-0 after sitting on the bench for the first nine innings.
After Strange-Gordon moved to third on pinch-hitter Luis Torrens’ long fly to right, Evan White swung and missed at a pitch from Jake Diekman (1-1), but the ball deflected off catcher Sean Murphy’s glove. Strange-Gordon raced home and slid in safely.
“We’re one out away from walking off there with a big W on the road,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Give Oakland credit. They’ve won a few games like that this year and they’ve got outstanding pitching. They really shut us down offensively tonight.”
Both teams made strong defensive plays in left field in the eighth.
Oakland’s Robbie Grossman ran into the wall after chasing down Joseph Odom’s long fly with two outs. In the bottom half, Seattle’s Tim Lopes also sprinted and made a running catch at the warning track on pinch-hitter Jonah Hein’s deep fly after the A’s had runners on second and third.
Both starters took shutouts deep into the game.
Oakland’s Chris Bassitt struck out six and allowed five hits in seven innings. Bassitt has not allowed a run in three of his last four starts and has a 0.34 ERA (one earned run in 26 2/3 innings) during that stretch.
Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi worked in and out of trouble to pitch four-hit ball over six innings. Kikuchi struck out five and walked three. Mariners starters have allowed one run or fewer in five of their last six starts.
“I thought Yusei was very calm, all night and even when it looked like some of those innings maybe start to unravel,” Servais said. “You keep grinding through and you keep making one pitch at a time and executing, and I thought he did a very good job of that tonight.”
With Seattle eliminated from playoff contention, the Mariners aren’t facing the same quarantine lockdown restrictions on the road as they had been previously. Major League Baseball’s guidelines for teams in contention are more strict than those that are not. “So you can go to Starbucks down the street and get a cup of coffee in the morning, which I did this morning,” Servais said. “I would much rather have stayed in my room and ordered room service, but that’s where we’re at right now.”
The Mariners claimed RHP Ian Hamilton off waivers from the Chicago White Sox and assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma. Hamilton was designated for assignment on Sept. 18 after appearing in four games for the White Sox.
KEMP WINS STEWART AWARD
Oakland infielder Tony Kemp was honored with the Dave Stewart Community Service Award, given annually to an A’s player in recognition of his charitable work and donations. Kemp has dedicated his time to helping raise awareness about racial injustice against Black people and has been very active helping community organizations provide resources during Covid-19.
Athletics: The A’s are trying to keep injured 3B Matt Chapman part of the mix despite his season-ending right hip injury that requires surgery. After clinching the AL West, he was part of a video call as Melvin addressed the team. “It’s unfortunate but we try to keep as close contact with him as we can,” Melvin said. “He’s such an emotional leader.”
Oakland’s Mike Minor (1-6, 5.92) and Seattle’s Justus Sheffield (4-3, 3.75) pitch in a matchup of lefties in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. Minor’s only win since joining the A’s earlier this month came against Seattle on Sept. 14. All four of Sheffield’s wins have come in his last seven starts. A’s RHP Paul Blackburn (0-0) makes his season debut in Game 2, while the Mariners counter with RHP Justin Dunn (3-1, 4.20).
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