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A's post shutout win in playoff tune-up

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners closed out the Eric Wedge era in familiar fashion Sunday afternoon, while the Oakland A's looked as if they were ready to keep going.

The A's cruised to a 9-0 win over Seattle in their final warm-up for the postseason. Oakland will host the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday.

The Mariners (71-91) completed their fourth consecutive sub-.500 season in familiar fashion, collecting just five hits while getting shut out for the 10th time this season. It was their final game with Wedge at the helm, as the 45-year-old manager said last week that he would not be back next season.

The A's (96-55) ended the regular season with their highest win total since 2003, and in Sunday's finale, they did most of their damage early. Chris Young and Daric Barton both had two-run singles as Oakland built up an 8-0 lead through five innings.

Oakland starter Sonny Gray (5-3) pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks and striking out eight before the A's bullpen took over. He threw 79 pitches.

"Nice little tune-up for the postseason," Melvin said. "We wanted to cut (Gray) short some -- around 80 pitches was probably going to be the top -- and he went out there and did his thing for five innings. Deserved the win, got the win."

The A's spent a good part of the game shuffling the lineup, with 14 position players seeing time before the end of the sixth inning and five players getting familiar with multiple positions.

Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez (5-3) struggled with a lack of control that led to an early exit. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning but fell back into trouble in the top of the second. Ramirez allowed back-to-back walks to start the inning, and Young drove in two runs with a one-out single. Seth Smith's RBI double made the score 3-0 and chased Ramirez from the game. The A's added another run before the second inning was over.

Ramirez lasted just 1 1/3 innings, and he walked four of the 11 batters he faced. He allowed four runs on three hits in his shortest outing of the season.

The A's continued to pound the Seattle bullpen, with Barton's two-run single highlighting a four-run fifth.

Wedge informed the Mariners before Friday's game that he did not want to be back next season. He was in the final year of a three-year deal and cited philosophical differences with the front office as his reason for departing.

"It's tough," Wedge said of his emotions after the game. "I wanted to see this thing through, but that's not the way it worked out.

"I had to make the decision I made, and now I have to move on to the next adventure. I don't know what that is, but I want to manage again."

Wedge ended his three-year run in Seattle with a 213-273 record. This year, he became the first Mariners manager since Dick Williams (1986-88) to post multiple 90-loss seasons.

"We fought and battled," Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said. "There's a lot we can take from this year."

NOTES: Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes (shoulder) and 1B Nate Freiman (abdominal strain) did not play Sunday but are expected to be available when the postseason begins Friday. ... The A's still haven't listed their probable starter for Game 1 of the AL Division Series. RHP Bartolo Colon was the team's most effective starter this season. With four days off, the entire rotation should be available. ... Ramirez wasn't the only player to have a short night. Josh Donaldson was listed as the Athletics' third baseman, but he never got to put on his glove. He walked in the top of the first inning and was immediately replaced by pinch runner Jemile Weeks, who went into the game at second base and pushed Alberto Callaspo to third. ... Mariners RHP Hector Noesi made one of the best defensive plays of the game, a behind-the-back stab of a Barton ground ball up the middle in the top of the third. Noesi calmly threw to first for the final out of the inning. ... In the top of the ninth, the Mariners pulled OF Raul Ibanez off the field so he could get a standing ovation from the home crowd. Ibanez, 41, is in his third stint with the Mariners, and he played the 2013 season under a one-year contract.
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