OAKLAND, Calif. — Luis Castillo got chased in the fifth inning and the contending Seattle Mariners managed only one hit, falling to the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Carlos Santana’s infield single in the second inning was all the Mariners could muster at the plate against JP Sears (6-2) and four relievers.
Seattle remained one-half game behind Tampa Bay for the third and final AL wild-card spot.
The Mariners have a magic number of 11 to reach the playoffs for the first time since their 116-win season of 2001. But Seattle again struggled to beat the last-place A’s in Oakland, where the Mariners lost two of three at the Coliseum from Aug. 19-21.
Castillo (7-6) is 3-2 in nine starts since being acquired from Cincinnati at the trade deadline. He matched his shortest outing of the season at 4.2 innings.
The All-Star right-hander was tagged for four runs on six hits, struck out four and walked two. Tony Kemp’s three-run homer highlighted a four-run fifth — he connected for his seventh homer, then Vimael Machin and Sean Murphy doubled.
Sam Haggerty drew a bases-loaded walk from Sears in the second for the Mariners’ lone run. Sears allowed one hit in five innings and struck out seven.
Domingo Acevedo finished for his third save.
Ty France went 0 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts as designated hitter for Seattle after taking a pitch in the foot during Monday’s 9-1 win over the Angels in Anaheim.
Mariners: 3B Eugenio Suárez, placed on the injured list Saturday with a fractured right index finger, saw a hand specialist Monday in Arizona and the hope is he will begin taking swings this week off a tee and in the cage. “The first thing is to get a bat in his hand and see what that feels like,” manager Scott Servais said. “The Blue Jays are probably not happy about it, to be honest.” … C Cal Raleigh was out of the lineup for the fourth time in five games because of a sore left thumb. Servais said he is “improving, the swelling has gone down a little bit.” He’s day to day.