Mariners 9, Athletics 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Ben Davis saw the plate and nothing else. He charged home, knocked down the catcher and umpire and scored for Seattle.
The Mariners are set on making the AL West interesting until the very end— even if they have to run over people to do it.
Ichiro Suzuki had four hits and drove in a career-high five runs, and Bret Boone added three hits and two RBIs as Seattle beat the first-place Oakland Athletics for the second straight day, 9-3 Saturday.
“This is a great opportunity for us to jump up, stand up and be heard,” Seattle’s Mike Cameron said.
Oakland’s division lead dropped to three games over Seattle, and the A’s magic number to win the West remained at five. Any combination of A’s wins and Mariners losses totaling five would give Oakland its second straight division title.
Seattle cut Boston’s wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games after the Red Sox lost 13-4 at Cleveland.
“We’re desperate,” Davis said. “It’s a good time to be greedy. No one wants to go home at the end of the season.”
The Mariners scored both of their sixth-inning runs with hard home-plate collisions that made it tough for the A’s to make a play. Mike Wood threw a wild pitch that allowed Cameron to come home from third, and Seattle’s center fielder ran into the pitcher at the plate after Wood failed to control an errant throw from catcher Ramon Hernandez.
Davis then leveled Hernandez and knocked the ball from his hands to score minutes later. Umpire Joe West even fell over on that one.
Hernandez left the game two innings later with a bruised right elbow, but manager Ken Macha believed he would play Sunday in the series finale.
Cameron and pitcher Joel Pineiro fought to be the first ones to reach Davis and offer their congratulations for making such a clutch play. It gave the Mariners momentum—“That’s big Ben,” Suzuki said. “That type of play proved we are into the game and it gives us more enthusiasm.”
“Ben Davis, hats off to him,” Cameron said. “That’s like my ultimate dream, to erupt the crowd. That was nice.”
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Davis said he was trying to lower his body to avoid getting injured, and he didn’t see West in his way.
“I just tried to get a little lower … and go for the brunt,” Davis said. “It’s not my intent to hurt anybody. I was just zoning everything out to try to score runs. That symbolizes what we were doing early in the year—playing good, hard, aggressive baseball.”
Pineiro (15-11) calmly worked out of jams to win for just the second time in nine starts. After giving up a leadoff walk to Eric Byrnes in the fifth, Pineiro retired the next nine Oakland batters.
Suzuki’s two-run single in the fourth gave him 200 hits for the third straight season, and his other three hits were doubles.
“I cannot express how sincerely happy I am about what I accomplished today,” Suzuki said.
The Mariners—who had been struggling on offense lately—were impressive with their bats again. Seattle entered the series 38-for-141 (.270) in their four previous games. They had 14 hits Friday and 17 Saturday.
Rey Sanchez had two hits and two sacrifice bunts, and Cameron had two hits and scored three times.
“My major league debut was an important game, but this is bigger than that,” Harden said of his Sunday start.
Duchscherer, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 8, lasted four innings, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out five and walked one. Duchscherer (1-1) won his Oakland debut against Anaheim on Sept. 9. He hadn’t lost since June 3 at Tacoma, the Mariners’ Triple-A team. He often worked Seattle deep into the count, but couldn’t put batters away.
“You start to wonder, are they lucky?” Duchscherer said. “Or did they do a great job hitting on me?”
In the third, Pineiro gave up a leadoff double to McMillon and walked Durazo again but got three straight outs to escape the jam. And Pineiro settled down once he had some runs to work with. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking three.
Pineiro woke up Saturday morning with pain behind his left knee.
“I just took a couple strong painkillers,” he said, smiling.
Seattle leads the season series 9-6, going 5-4 in Oakland. … Byrnes robbed Suzuki of another hit with a spectacular catch against the wall in center in the eighth. … Pineiro is 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA in six career starts against Oakland. He went over 200 innings for the season, giving Seattle three 200-plus starters for the seventh time. Pineiro threw 125 pitches, 85 strikes. … Mike Edwards pinch-hit in the eighth for the A’s to make his major leaguedebut.