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Oakland Athletics (67-93) at Seattle Mariners (86-74)
Saturday, October 01 - 9:10 PM EST
Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
The Seattle Mariners have continued to make the American League wild-card standings congested down the stretch and hope to tighten things up even more when they host the Oakland Athletics on Saturday for the third contest of their season-ending four-game series. The Mariners rolled to their third straight victory Friday, a 5-1 triumph that drew them within one game of Toronto for the second wild card with two to play.
With Baltimore leading the Blue Jays by one game for the top spot and Detroit one-half game behind Toronto because of a postponement that would be made up on Monday if necessary, a four-way tie for the two wild cards is not out of the realm of possibility and would make for an exciting week leading up to the Division Series. Seattle relied on its power Friday, belting four home runs — including two by Robinson Cano — to secure its seventh victory in nine contests. Cano raised his career-high total to 38 homers and reached the 100-RBI plateau for the fourth time in his career and first since collecting 107 in 2013. Rookie Ryon Healy's blast was one of the two hits recorded Friday by the Athletics, who have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), ROOT (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jharel Cotton (2-0, 1.44 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 3.96)
Cotton continued the impressive beginning to his major league career Sunday when he limited Texas to one run and three hits over seven innings en route to victory. The 24-year-old native of the Virgin Islands has allowed just one earned run in each of his four starts and worked at least six frames on three occasions. Cotton has yielded more than three hits only once and has displayed excellent control, issuing just three walks over 25 innings — none in his past two starts.
Iwakuma settled for a no-decision at Houston on Monday after allowing just one run and four hits in six innings. In his last four starts, the 35-year-old from Japan gave up fewer than three runs in three turns on the road but yielded six (five earned) in the home outing. Iwakuma has recorded 25 percent of his career-high 16 victories this season against Oakland to improve to 9-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 15 career games (14 starts) versus the Athletics.
1. Mariners DH Nelson Cruz launched his 42nd homer Friday, leaving him two shy of his matching the career high he set last season.
2. Healy is 11-for-23 during his six-game hitting streak.
3. Seattle 3B Kyle Seager has hit safely in five straight contests, going 7-for-21 in that span.
PREDICTION: Mariners 6, Athletics 2