SEATTLE (AP) — The Oakland Athletics wrapped up a playoff spot before the first pitch, then missed a chance to move closer to hosting next week’s AL wild-card game when closer Liam Hendriks gave up two runs in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
The A’s are tied with Tampa Bay for the two wild-card slots at 96-64 — if they wind up even, Oakland would host the Rays on Wednesday night.
The Athletics sealed their postseason berth when Cleveland lost to Washington. Many of the A’s exchanged a brief set of hugs and high fives in the dugout after the Indians loss went final.
Shed Long’s two-out RBI single scored Mallex Smith with the tying run and J.P. Crawford followed with an RBI double to win it for the Mariners.
Hendriks (4-4) blew his seventh save of the season. Seattle tied the game at 3 on Long’s two-strike single up the middle. Smith singled with one out, moved up on a pair of wild pitches and jogged home on Long’s hit.
Crawford followed going the opposite way down the left-field line and Long used his speed to score from first.
It’s the second straight year and third time since 2014 the A’s have earned a wild-card berth. Last year the A’s lost 7-2 to the New York Yankees in the wild-card game, and they fell to Kansas City in 2014.
Matt Olson appeared to make it celebratory night for the A’s with a two-run home run off Taylor Guilbeau in the seventh inning to give Oakland a 3-2 lead. It was his 36th home run of the season and brought raucous cheers from the small smattering of fans in green around the ballpark.
But Hendriks ran into trouble in the ninth. He had allowed just two earned runs in the past 10 appearances.
Marcus Semien led off the game with his 33rd home run on the fourth pitch from Justus Sheffield. Seattle took a 2-1 lead in the third inning after Austin Nola’s RBI single. It was the Mariners’ first lead since the first inning of last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Baltimore, a span of 37 innings since Seattle was last in front.
Art Warren (1-0) pitched the ninth to get the victory.
Oakland’s Mike Fiers got through five innings, but wasn’t at his best. Fiers allowed two runs and four hits and struck out four. It wasn’t as good as his last start when he pitched eight shutout innings against Texas, but was better than the two prior starts against the Astros and Rangers where he allowed 12 earned runs in 2 2/3 combined innings.
Sheffield labored through five innings in the final start of his first season with the organization, but limited the A’s to only Semien’s homer. Sheffield allowed five hits and walked four, and stranded baserunners at third in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
Athletics: Oakland manager Bob Melvin is hoping for a chance to work OF Stephen Piscotty into the lineup over the weekend after he missed a month with an ankle injury.
Athletics: Brett Anderson (12-9, 4.00) is 8-3 with a 3.40 ERA in 15 road starts this season. It will be his 31st start of the season, tying a career-high.
Mariners: Marco Gonzales (16-12, 4.09) looks to put a capper on a season that’s already seen career highs in wins and starts.