SEATTLE MARINERS

Mitch Haniger hits 2 homers, Mariners beat A’s 13-4 to gain in playoff race

Sep 27, 2021, 11:03 PM | Updated: Sep 28, 2021, 12:06 am

              Seattle Mariners' Mitch Haniger yells as he begins to round the bases on his three-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
            
              Seattle Mariners' Mitch Haniger, right, is greeted by Ty France (23) after hitting a three-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
            
              A "Believe" sign, similar to one seen in the TV series "Ted Lasso," hangs from outfield seats as fans look on during a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
            
              Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Yohan Ramirez throws against the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
            
              Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman, right, gives starting pitcher Cole Irvin, center, a pat as Irvin heads off the mound past catcher Sean Murphy while being relieved in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
            
              Seattle Mariners' Jarred Kelenic, right, begins his slide home to score as Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy waits for the ball in the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
            SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners hits a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners waits for a pitch during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners makes a throw to first base during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Cole Irvin #19 of the Oakland Athletics throws a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27:  Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners misplays a ball off the bat of Seth Brown of the Oakland Athletics that cleared the wall for a home run ball in the first inning at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Seth Brown #15 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with Matt Olson #28 and Mark Canha #20  after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Chris Flexen #77 of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Chris Flexen #77 of the Seattle Mariners flips the ball to first base for an out in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: J.P. Crawford of the Seattle Mariners hits a single during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners hits a single in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27:  Luis Torrens #22 of the Seattle Mariners runs to first base on a two-run single in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with teammates after scoring in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27:  Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with teammates after scoring in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27:  Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners rounds the bases on his three-run home run in the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with teammates after Mitch Haniger hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: J.P. Crawford #3 of the Seattle Mariners makes a throw to first base in the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Yohan Ramirez #55 of the Seattle Mariners gestures in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Mariners won 13-4. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Kyle Seager #15 of the Seattle Mariners catches the ball for an out in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Mariners won 13-4. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Tom Murphy #2 and Matt Andriese #27 of the Seattle Mariners shake hands after a 13-4 win against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: J.P. Crawford #3 and Abraham Toro #13 of the Seattle Mariners hug after a 13-4 win against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27:  Carlos Dunlap II #8 of the NFL Seattle Seahawks throws the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: A general view of a Seattle Mariners base before the game against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Mitch Haniger hit two identical three-run homers and the Seattle Mariners gained precious ground in the AL wild-card race with a 13-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

Mariners 13, Athletics 4: Box score

Seattle’s 10th straight victory against Oakland tied the team record for most consecutive wins against a single opponent. The Mariners have won eight of nine overall and nine of their last 11.

“We’re fighting for that spot,” starting pitcher Chris Flexen said. “We want it and we’re playing like we want it.”

Seattle is 1 1/2 games behind Boston for the second wild card, with Toronto a game back of the Red Sox. Both those teams were off Monday.

“We’ve got five games left and here we sit,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “This is some kind of season we’ve had and we’ve still got a lot to play for, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Oakland fell 3 1/2 games behind Boston and two back of the Mariners with two more games to play in Seattle. The A’s, last year’s AL West champions, also were eliminated from the division race.

Haniger hit his first three-run homer to the bullpen in left field during a five-run fourth inning, then put the game away with his second shot to nearly the same spot in the sixth. He has 37 homers this season after sitting out for 18 months following two surgeries.

The usually reserved Haniger acknowledged being taken by the importance of the moment.

“These games are so meaningful coming in the last week of the season, and so every inning, every pitch is big,” the right fielder said.

Ty France reached base five times for Seattle, going 4 for 4 with a walk and four RBIs. J.P. Crawford added three hits and an RBI. Each scored three runs.

The Mariners picked up their 21st win with Flexen (14-6) starting on the mound. The right-hander struck out six, giving up four earned runs and seven hits in five innings.

Seth Brown gave Oakland starter Cole Irvin (10-15) a 3-0 lead with a three-run homer in the first – part of four consecutive hits by the A’s. But he left after walking the first two batters he faced in the fourth, and reliever Deolis Guerra gave up run-scoring singles to Crawford and France to set up Haniger’s first homer.

“There’s no panic,” Haniger said. “I feel like we’ve had that kind of vibe and energy from the beginning of the season, that it doesn’t matter when we’re down. … Tonight we get down 3-0, and we come in the dugout and we’re like, ‘We’re going to score more than three runs, no big deal. Flex, keep us in there,’ and he did a great job.”

Seattle reliever Casey Sadler extended his major league-leading scoreless streak to 25 appearances and 23 2/3 innings with three groundouts in the sixth. The bullpen combined for four scoreless innings, with Matt Andriese striking out the side in the ninth.

A’s manager Bob Melvin credited that bullpen with Oakland’s struggles against Seattle this year.

“They’ve won a lot of close games,” Melvin said. “Their bullpen, when they come in the game late and they have a lead, they seem to finish it off every time. … We’ve had their starters on the ropes quite a few times.”

WIN AFTER WIN

The Mariners can set the team record for consecutive wins against one opponent when they play Oakland on Tuesday. Their previous 10-game winning streaks over a single foe came against Kansas City in 1985 and Baltimore in 2001.

ROSTER MOVE

Seattle sent former starter Justus Sheffield to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled RHP Wyatt Mills. Sheffield was moved to the bullpen after returning this month from a stint on the injured list due to a strained left forearm. Manager Scott Servais said the Mariners needed pitchers they could rely on down the stretch with a wild-card spot on the line, and Sheffield has struggled since returning. He gave up a hit and walked five while allowing three runs in an inning in his last appearance, a 14-1 loss to the Angels on Saturday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: OF Starling Marte (strained left lat) and 2B Josh Harrison (strained quad) are both day-to-day after aggravating injuries Sunday. Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Marte strained the muscle Saturday during an at-bat, and though he was able to play Sunday, the injury worsened. Harrison was pulled from Sunday’s game after making a dive for a grounder that aggravated an old injury. Oakland called up OF Luis Barrera for a healthy hitter on the bench and designated RHP Michael Feliz for assignment.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (12-4, 3.16 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Mariners since returning from the injured list following surgery to repair a facial fracture. He gave up a hit in three innings in a no-decision against Seattle last Thursday.

Mariners: Servais said the decision on who will start Tuesday against the A’s would come after Monday’s game. LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-9. 4.41) was scheduled, but he’s been struggling the last month and could be replaced.

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