The Seattle Mariners won't be heading to the playoffs without something just short of a miracle, but they're sure making it difficult for the Oakland Athletics to improve their chances of repeating as AL West champions.
Visiting Seattle seeks a seventh victory in the last 10 meetings with Oakland in the finale of a three-game series Wednesday afternoon.
The Mariners (58-67) are trending toward their fourth straight losing season as they sit 14 1/2 games behind first-place Texas in the AL West. They've more than held their own against Oakland, though, going 9-6 and winning each of the last three series.
It marked just the third victory in the last 53 times the Mariners had trailed after seven innings, putting together a five-run eighth. Franklin was safe on a close play at the plate in that inning, but he suffered a laceration on his left knee that required stitches.
The injury could keep him out for up to one week."I want to say it was five stitches," acting manager Robby Thompson said. "He had a nice little deep gash in his left knee. He wanted to stay in, just wanted new pants. It was necessary to take care of that right away."
Oakland (71-54), which closes the season with a three-game series at Seattle, fell 1 1/2 games behind the Rangers for the division lead, but it still holds the league's second wild-card spot.
Catcher Derek Norris suffered a fractured left toe on the play that also injured Franklin. Backup Stephen Vogt could get the start as the A's face Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma , who is coming off another impressive outing.
Iwakuma (11-6, 2.95 ERA) allowed one run and struck out eight in seven innings of Friday's 3-1 win over Texas, and he's given up fewer than three runs in four of his last five starts.
The right-hander pitched well in his first two starts against the A's this season, winning both while allowing three runs over 13 innings. Iwakuma, though, gave up four runs in five innings of a 10-2 loss on June 16 before allowing four runs on three homers over seven frames in a 6-3 defeat five days later.
Yoenis Cespedes homered off him April 2 and again June 21, and the A's slugger is 6 for 15 with three homers and two doubles lifetime against Iwakuma.
Oakland counters with A.J. Griffin, who has struggled with his control lately.
Griffin (10-8, 3.76) walked a career-worst six in Oakland's 6-4 win over Toronto on Aug. 11 before issuing five free passes while giving up one unearned run in five innings of the A's 3-2 victory over Cleveland on Friday.
The right-hander, who threw 104 pitches in his last outing, had walked 10 over his previous nine starts combined.
"The ball was up in the zone at times, which you don't normally see out of him, either," manager Bob Melvin said. "He battled himself. He was a little frustrated the whole game with his command."
Griffin had won each of his three career starts versus Seattle while posting a 2.12 ERA before giving up four runs in six innings of a 4-0 loss June 15.
|July 26, 2013||Mike Zunino||15-Day DL||Fractured left hamate bone|
|July 11, 2013||Nick Franklin||Day-to-Day||Left game - knee soreness|
|July 11, 2013||Endy Chavez||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin tightness|
|June 29, 2013||Dustin Ackley||Day-to-Day||Left game - thumb|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
|August 14, 2013||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|August 11, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left wrist|
|July 25, 2013||John Jaso||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 20, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring cramp|
|June 20, 2013||Derek Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin injury|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Brendan Ryan ended one of the longest hitting slumps of his career with a timely two-run double.
The Mariners shortstop felt even better after adding an RBI single two innings later.
Making a rare start after interim manager Robby Thompson shuffled his lineup due to an injury to second baseman Nick Franklin , Ryan had two hits and drove in three runs to snap a 9-for-77 stretch, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-3 on Wednesday.
"The frustration mounts ... when the at-bats are limited because you have so much time to sit and think about it," said Ryan, who went into the game hitting .190. "This is the role I've carved out for myself. All I can try to do is the best I can in the opportunities I'm getting."
Ryan struck out in his first two at-bats before doubling off Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (10-9) with two outs in the sixth.
He hit a two-out, 0-2 pitch sharply down the third base line that glanced off the glove of Oakland's Josh Donaldson and ricocheted into the A's bullpen.
Kendrys Morales scored and Dustin Ackley barely beat the relay throw home despite colliding with A's catcher Stephen Vogt to put the Mariners up 4-3. Vogt slammed the back of his head on the ground during the play and remained down briefly before staying in the game.
"I thought at the time I got him," Vogt said. "It was an unfortunate play in our direction."
Michael Morse and Brad Miller homered for Seattle, which overcame an uneven start by Hisashi Iwakuma to beat the A's for the fourth time in the past five games between the division rivals.
Iwakuma (12-6) gave up a pair of home runs and pitched with runners in scoring position most of the afternoon, but limited the damage to win his second straight. The Mariners right-hander struck out four and walked two in seven innings.
"As I got deeper into my game I was able to command my pitches lower in the zone," Iwakuma said. "Even with runners on second and third, I was able to keep the ball down and pitch effectively. That's part of my game and I'm able to execute with runners on."
Coco Crisp and Brandon Moss hit home runs for Oakland, which fell to 15-16 since the All-Star break.
The A's stranded three runners at third, one at second and had another runner get thrown out at the plate. They also wasted a 3-1 lead one day after blowing a four-run lead in a 7-4 loss to the Mariners.
That was enough to anger Oakland manager Bob Melvin .
"Everything that we did today is what's wrong with us," Melvin said. "We didn't add on early, we didn't make big pitches when we had to, we didn't come through in situational at-bats. Ugly, ugly game for us and it's been going on for a while. It comes to a point where you just have to step up."
Iwakuma wasn't nearly as crisp as he was in his previous start against Texas, but did make it hold up. He got Alberto Callaspo to fly out with a runner at third to end the sixth, then retired two straight to end the seventh after Oakland got runners on first and third.
Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina worked the eighth while Dannny Farquhar struck out the side in the ninth for his ninth save.
Crisp homered leading off the bottom of the first and Moss hit his 20th of the season in the fourth. Callaspo added a sacrifice fly to give the A's a 3-1 lead.
Seattle, which overcame a 4-0 deficit to beat Oakland 7-4 on Tuesday, came back again.
Morse hit a towering home run off Griffin in the second and Miller added a leadoff shot in the fifth.
After the Mariners scored twice in the sixth to take the lead, Ryan's RBI single off Dan Otero in the eighth made it 5-3.
Griffin struck out seven, but continued to have issues with his control. He walked four, giving him 15 over his past three starts.
Notes: A's C Derek Norris was held out of the lineup after breaking a toe in his left foot during a play at the plate in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 7-4 loss. The runner, Franklin, suffered a gash that required stitches in his leg. ... Mariners slugger Raul Ibanez was given the day off. ... Oakland OF Seth Smith sat out a second straight game with an astigmatism in his eye.