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Mariners pull away in ninth, extend winning streak to 5 games and advance in Wild Card chase

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

9/11 at OAK by TOM HAYDEN

75-68, 9.5 GB in AL WEST, 3.5 GB in AL WILD CARD ----

The Mariners took care of business for their fifth straight game as they took down the Oakland Athletics in the series finale of what was a 3-game weekend series in OakTown! The Mariners completed a sweep of Oakland on Sunday, helping them to advance in the AL Wild Card race as well as advancing to 7 games over .500 on the season so far. LHP James Paxton took the ball on Sunday afternoon for the M's, and turned what was an OK start into a solid outing for sure. Offensively, the bats remained hot, even though our Mariners put up just 3 runs in the ball game. 3 runs was enough runs to get this one done, however! Solid performances came from C Mike Zunino (.229 AVG) who continues to rise out of a slump in which he had in the past few series. It was SS Ketel Marte's clutch RBI single in the ninth inning however which secured this 3-2 win for Seattle. With the win, the Mariners have advanced to a W-L record of 75-68 on the season. In the American League Western Division, the Mariners trail the first place Texas Rangers by now 9.5 games. For an American League Wild Card spot, the race is tight, as the Mariners are now tied with the Houston Astros in the race at 3.5 games back. The Toronto Blue Jays currently sit in that second Wild Card spot, a spot in which we are trying to get to very quickly as the season is slowly coming to a close. 

Offensively on Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum, the Mariners combined to put up 3 runs on 12 hits off of Athletics' pitching. C Mike Zunino led offense in this one having a day at the dish. Zunino (.229 AVG) went 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBI and a run scored for Seattle in this one. Mike Z smashed his 11th home run of the season in the top of the second inning, a crucial 2-run blast in the 3-2 close win over Oakland. The 2 RBI now gives Zunino 26 on the season in 40 games played so far this year. A pretty good ratio, for sure. Zunino also connected for his 6th double of the season in this one. SS Ketel Marte (.268 AVG) who is my pick for Mariners Player of the Game went 3-for-3 at the plate on Sunday afternoon with 3 singles for 1 RBI. The RBI was the game winner for the Mariners, as Marte singled to center field to score Ben Gamel and give the M's a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth inning! CF Leonys Martin (.243 AVG) went 2-for-4 on the day with a single and his 14th double of the season. 1B Dae-Ho Lee (.266 AVG) went 1-for-2 at the plate with his 8th double of the season. DH Nelson Cruz (.285 AVG) went 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of base hits for Seattle in this one. 

On the mound on Sunday afternoon, LHP James Paxton made his 17th start of the season for the M's. Paxton had a decent outing going 6.0 innings giving up just 2 runs on 5 hits (both earned) while walking 2 and striking out 3 A's on the afternoon. Paxton's outing was a no decision, so he maintains an individual W-L record of 4-6 on the season. Paxton now has an ERA of 3.97 in just over 100.0 innings pitched this season. In relief on Sunday afternoon, things were done very well again. RHP Evan Scribner (0.00 ERA) went 1.0 inning giving up just 1 hit while walking 1 Athletic. RHP Steve Cishek earned himself his 3rd win of the season going 1.0 inning while walking and striking out 1 A each in his outing. Cishek now has an individual W-L record of 3-6 on the season with an ERA of 3.18 in just under 60.0 innings tossed this season. It was then RHP Edwin Diaz (2.30 ERA) who closed the door in the ninth inning for his 15th save of the season in his 14th opportunity to achieve one! Diaz went 1.0 inning giving up nothing and striking out 2 Athletic's to end the ball game. 

WHAT'S NEXT? : 

The Mariners will now look to keep this winning streak alive, and extend it 6 games as they open up a 3-game mid-week series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday night at Angel Stadium. The Wednesday night game will be nationally televised on ESPN! This will be the fifth time this season Seattle baseball has been featured on national television. Looking to help push the M's to 8 games over .500, as well as 6 straight wins will be LHP Ariel Miranda, making his 9th appearance and 7th start of the season for the M's! Miranda (3-1, 4.79 ERA) and the M's are set and ready to face LAA RHP Ricky Nolasco (5-13, 4.90 ERA). Be sure to catch all of the action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle Radio! First pitch start time- 7:05 PM PAC, 10:05 PM ET! 

MARINERS 365 NOTES: 

The Mariners have recalled INF Dan Vogelbach, INF Mike Freeman, and RHP Cody Martin from AAA Tacoma. The roster is now at 35 players. 

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue as our M's #KeepFighting towards the PostSEAson! 

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