- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Robinson Cano made sure the Seattle Mariners upheld their end of the wild-card equation.

Cano hit two home runs, Taijuan Walker pitched six effective innings and the Seattle Mariners moved within one game of the second AL wild-card spot, beating the Oakland Athletics 5-1 Friday night.

“You want the other teams to lose, but at the same time you’ve got win,” Cano said. “You get to watch it here, but when it’s time to play, it’s time to play. You’ve just got to go out and give it everything you’ve got.”

Seattle, which has won seven of nine, is one game behind Toronto for the second spot. The Mariners also trail Detroit by a half-game.

“We needed somebody to help us out today,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We got a little help, but more importantly, we took care of business.”

Cano had a two-run homer in the first. He added his 38th home run in the third, a solo shot that gave him 100 RBIs for the season. Norichika Aoki and Nelson Cruz also homered off Raul Alcantara (1-3), who was tagged for five runs and seven hits in two-plus innings.

“With Raul today, balls were over the middle of the plate, and unfortunately more mid-thigh than we’ve seen him, so he just had a tough night,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

Walker (8-11) allowed one run on two hits in six innings, but walked five in a 113-pitch outing. The only run came on Ryon Healy’s 13th homer to open the sixth. Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

“It was just one of those weird starts where one hitter everything was locked in, the next hitter it was all over the place,” Walker said. “But, I just kept fighting.”

Cano drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center to give the Mariners to a 2-0 lead in the first after a leadoff infield single by Aoki.

Aoki made it 3-0 in the second with his fourth homer just inside the right-field foul pole.

Cano opened the third with another home run to center and Cruz followed with his 42nd homer to make it 5-0.

The A’s loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and a two-out error by second baseman Cano, but Walker retired Stephen Vogt on a popout.

Zach Neal came on for Alcantara with one aboard in the third and retired all 15 batters he faced.

“He’s come a long way,” Melvin said. “He’s had two days off, and gives us five innings of nothing against a team who looked like they were going to score 30 runs in the first couple innings.”


With Cano reaching the 100-RBI mark, Kyle Seager needs just one more RBI to make the Mariners the first AL team since the 2001 Oakland A’s (Eric Chavez, Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada) with three players with 30 homers and 100 RBIs. Cano has 38 HRs, 100 RBIs; Nelson Cruz 42, 103; and Seager 30, 99. The last team in the team in the majors with a 30-100 trio was the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals (Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen).


Athletics: RF Danny Valencia was originally in the lineup, but was a late scratch due to neck soreness. Matt Olson started in right.


There was a crew chief review of Cruz’s home run, which barely cleared the outstretched glove of center fielder Jake Smolinksi at the top of the wall, but then bounced back onto the field. The call was upheld after a review estimated at 2 minutes and 21 seconds.


Seattle sent minor league infielder Tim Lopes to Toronto to complete the Aug. 6 trade for reliever Pat Venditte. Lopes, 22, hit .284 with one home run and 49 RBIs with Double-A Jackson of the Southern League. Venditte, who pitches with either hand, is 0-0 with a 7.15 ERA in six appearances with Seattle.


Athletics: Rookie RHP Jharel Cotton (2-0, 1.44 ERA) makes his fifth career start since being called up from Triple-A Nashville on Sept. 7. He has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his four starts, lasting at least 5 2/3 innings in each.

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 3.96 ERA) has been Seattle’s most consistent pitcher over the course of the season. His 16 victories are a career high, but he is 2-5 in his last eight starts. Iwakuma is 4-0 against Oakland this season.

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