Olson’s slam helps A’s top Mariners 9-3, close in on Yankees
SEATTLE (AP) — Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin said he wasn’t paying much attention to the out-of-town scoreboard at Safeco Field during his team’s 9-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
No matter, Melvin and his team got the result they wanted.
Matt Olson hit a grand slam that capped a six-run fifth inning. Khris Davis added his major league-leading 47th home run and the A’s moved closer in the AL wild-card race.
The Athletics took advantage of the Yankees’ 8-7 loss to Tampa Bay to move within 1 1/2 games of New York atop the wild-card standings.
Oakland (96-63) improved to a big league-best 41-21 since the All-Star break. New York (97-61) holds the tiebreaker to host the Oct. 3 game; the winner advances to the Division Series against AL East champion Boston.
“We’re just trying to win every game we can,” Melvin said. “Now, we have to balance it with who we’re playing and resting guys, but again, we feel good with whatever lineup we run out there.”
With the score 3-all, Nick Martini hit an RBI single that chased Felix Hernandez (8-14), who made his first appearance since gaining American citizenship this week. Marcus Semien added a run-scoring single against Chasen Bradford before Olson’s drive to right-center.
Chad Pinder also homered for the A’s, who reached 96 wins for the first time since 2013. Ryan Buchter (6-0) pitched a hitless inning in relief of Edwin Jackson, who gave up three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“Everything now is just a day-at-a-time mentality,” Jackson said. “You can’t really look too far ahead. We’ll find out what’s next in due time.”
Hernandez, a 32-year-old Venezuelan who won the 2010 AL Cy Young Award, was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on Monday. He gave up five runs — four earned — three hits and two walks in four innings.
Hernandez finished with a 5.55 ERA, more than a run above his previous career high last year. His ERA has more than doubled since he led the AL in 2014 at 2.14.
“It’s kind of what we saw the majority of the year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Hernandez.
Meanwhile, aside from trying to play themselves into a home wild-card game, the A’s were saying they hope to see Davis reach a round-number long-ball milestone by the time the regular season ends Sunday.
“I definitely want to see him get to 50,” Olson said. “I think he can do it, too. We’ll see.”
Mariners LHP James Paxton may start Saturday against Texas, giving him a chance to get the single strikeout he needs to reach 200 for the first time.
Seattle hired Frankie Thon Jr. as head of amateur international scouting. Thon spent the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and before that was with Arizona for eight seasons. Triple-A manager Pat Listach was let go after the season and Mike Micucci is not expected to return as minor league coordinator.
Athletics: Relievers Lou Trivino (sore neck) and Cory Gearrin (triceps) were slightly improved but did not pitch.
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (12-7, 3.31 ERA) starts Friday’s series opener at the Los Angeles Angels.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (13-9, 4.12) pitches Thursday’s series opener against Texas and RHP Ariel Jurado (4-5, 6.66).