Cruz homers twice to power Mariners past A’s 6-3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nelson Cruz wasn’t nearly as impressed with his latest power display as Seattle teammate Kyle Seager was.
On a day when Seager hit a three-run homer in the first inning to get the Mariners off to a fast start, Cruz trumped him with two towering 400-foot home runs to continue his season-long feast on Athletics pitching.
Seattle beat Oakland 6-3 on Wednesday to complete a two-game sweep.
“It’s cool being on deck when he gets hold of one because he can do stuff that there’s not a lot of guys can,” Seager said of Cruz. “He’s a lot of fun to watch and you certainly want him on your team. He’s incredible, the stuff he can do.”
Robinson Cano had two hits and scored twice while Ben Gamel singled and made another sparkling defensive play to help Seattle to its fourth win in five games.
The Mariners, who entered the day tied with Kansas City and Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card, finished 6-3 on their road trip.
Cruz hit a two-run homer in the third, his 25th, then added his 26th in the fifth. It’s the second multi-homer game in four days for the Mariners slugger, who has 22 RBIs in 13 games against the A’s this season — a Seattle record against Oakland.
“I can’t explain it,” Cruz said. “You go to all the ballparks and you don’t feel it. I guess luck.”
Seager homered in the first after Jean Segura and Cano singled.
All three home runs came off Oakland starter Jharel Cotton (5-9).
Khris Davis hit his 31st home run and Matt Joyce also homered for the A’s, one day after returning to the lineup following a two-game suspension for using an anti-gay slur.
Emilion Pagan (1-2) pitched one-hit ball over 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Yovani Gallardo to earn his first career win.
Edwin Diaz retired three batters for his 25th save.
Gallardo was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning after allowing three runs and six hits.
The Mariners, who went into the day with 67 errors, made two defensive gems.
Gamel made a leaping catch while crashing into the left-field wall to rob Marcus Semien of a hit in the fourth inning, the latest in a string a stellar plays from the rookie outfielder. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson also made a leaping catch near the wall in center in the first inning.
“There were some subtle plays that kept us down a little bit,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Our bats weren’t great in the middle of the game but if one of those breaks goes one way or the other, now we’re looking at a different ballgame. But they didn’t so it was a great play.”
Cotton, winless since June 23, allowed six runs and eight hits over six innings.
CAN’T GO THE DISTANCE
The A’s have gone a franchise-record 154 consecutive games without a pitcher throwing a complete game. The last pitcher to go the distance for Oakland was Kendall Graveman on Aug. 19, 2016. The streak was the third-longest active drought in the majors entering the day behind Tampa Bay and Atlanta.
Diaz has 12 saves since the All-Star break, most in the majors. The Seattle closer also has a scoreless streak of 18 2/3 innings on the road dating to May 24.
Athletics: RHP Bobb Wahl will see a shoulder specialist in Dallas on Friday. Wahl has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a strained pitching shoulder. He had been attempting a comeback on a rehab assignment but was shut down after experiencing soreness.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (12-3, 2.70 ERA) pitches in the opener of a four-game series against the Angels on Friday night in Seattle. Paxton leads the AL and is tied for second in the majors with 113 wild pitches.
Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-1, 4.82) faces Baltimore on Thursday night. The 36-year-old is seeking his first career win as a starter.