OAKLAND, Calif. — James Paxton returned from the disabled list to strike out 10 batters over five innings, Ben Gamel hit a two-run double, and the Seattle Mariners held off the Oakland Athletics 8-7 on Saturday night in a matchup of contenders with a knack for comebacks.
Jean Segura had a two-run single in the fifth, an inning after he was hit by a pitch. He finished with three hits, helping Seattle pull within 4½ games of Oakland for the second AL wild card.
Khris Davis hit his majors-leading 40th home run to start the eighth for Oakland, giving him three straight 40-homer seasons. He joined Jimmie Foxx from 1932-34 as the only players in A’s history to accomplish that feat.
Marcus Semien added a two-run double in the eighth and left fielder Denard Span’s blunder trying to scoop up the ball allowed a third run to score to make it 8-7.
Edwin Diaz walked Jed Lowrie to begin the ninth and put the tying run aboard, and then recovered to strike out the side for his club-record 51st save in 55 opportunities.
With an ailing rotation, the A’s made a day-of change to start September call-up reliever Liam Hendriks (0-1) — a philosophy Tampa Bay employed this season — and then manager Bob Melvin eventually went to regularly scheduled starter Daniel Mengden after two other relievers.
After Gamel’s double in the second got the Mariners going, Seattle scored two of its three runs in the third on errors.
Mark Canha hit two-run homer in the fifth for the A’s.
Paxton (11-5) took the mound for the first time since getting hit on his left forearm by a line drive Aug. 14 at Oakland. He allowed three runs on two hits and walked four.
The lefty clapped his hand into his glove after retiring Davis on a strikeout to end the fifth following consecutive two-out walks to Matt Chapman and Lowrie.
Ryon Healy had a pair of hits against his old club as the Mariners won for just the second time in six games.
Seattle’s Mitch Haniger doubled leading off the fourth to match his career high with a 13-game hitting streak.
Mengden wound up working the third and fourth innings as the A’s used nine pitchers. That matched the most for any game in Oakland history and was the highest number used in a nine-inning game.