In what he said would be his final appearance of the 2017 season, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez threw six innings of two-hit ball as the Mariners thumped the Athletics 7-1 on Monday in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

In what he said would be his final appearance of the 2017 season, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez threw six innings of two-hit ball as the Mariners thumped the Athletics 7-1 on Monday in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Mariners thump Oakland 7-1

With its playoff hopes finally dashed, Seattle hits four homers in victory.

By Bob Dutton

The News Tribune

OAKLAND, Calif. — There’s been no better tonic in recent years for the Mariners than the Oakland Athletics. It’s been that way for Felix Hernandez throughout his career.

Form held Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum as the Mariners won for just the second time in 10 games by rolling to a 7-1 victory over the Athletics. Afterward, Hernandez said it would be his final start of the season.

“I think I’m done,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to go the last day of the season…We talked about it a week ago, about my last start. If we’re not fighting for anything, I’m not going to pitch.”

If so, this was a good one to go out on.

The Mariners pummeled Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (4-10) for four homers, including two by Mitch Haniger, in 41⁄3 innings.

That was plenty.

Hernandez (6-5) allowed one run and two hits while throwing 70 pitches over six innings in his third start since returning from a 61⁄2-week stay on the disabled list.

He lost his shutout when Marcus Semien hit a two-out homer in the sixth.

Sound dominant? It was and it wasn’t.

Hernandez’s bullpen session prior to the game was so bad that pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre warned manager Scott Servais to have Andrew Albers ready to pitch in the first inning.

“Mel said to me, ‘I don’t know if (Hernandez) can get through the first inning,’” Servais said. “He’s got nothing. Nothing is working.’”

Hernandez said that never changed.

“I was bad the whole game,” he said. “I just tried to keep the ball down. Get a lot of ground balls. Throw a lot of sinkers.”

Albers replaced Hernandez to start the seventh, worked three scoreless innings, and picked up his first career save.

Perhaps all Hernandez needed was to see the Athletics in the opposing dugout.

He improved to 13-3 in 25 career starts at the Coliseum, which marks the most victories ever by a visiting pitcher. He is 25-9 with a 2.60 ERA in 46 starts overall against the Athletics.

“He just executed,” Servais said. “He made pitches tonight. He wasn’t trying to strike people out because he knew he didn’t have his top-notch stuff. It goes to show the kind of talent that Felix really has.”

The Mariners have now won seven in a row over Oakland, which matches a franchise record previously achieved in 2009 and 2016. They are also 57-36 against the A’s since the start of the 2013 season, including 31-15 at the Coliseum.

Monday’s victory also dimmed the likelihood of Oakland catching the Mariners in an effort to avoid finishing last in the American League West Division. The Mariners now have a 31⁄2-game edge with five games remaining.

“I know guys are disappointed on how the last (1-5) homestand went,” Servais said. “But they came in today, they went through our meetings and our normal preparation. Nobody has backed out.”

Mike Zunino’s 24th homer, a three-run blast in the second inning, staked Hernandez to an early lead. Zunino drove a 2-2 fastball from Gossett an estimated 422 feet to right side of dead center field.

The Mariners pushed their lead to 5-0 on one-out homers by Haniger in the third inning and ex-Athletic Yonder Alonso in the fourth. Alonso’s homer was his 26th overall but only his fourth in 38 games with the Mariners.

Haniger’s second homer of the game, and 16th of the season, was a two-run shot in the fifth after a one-out bloop double by Ben Gamel.

“The first one,” Haniger said, “I had a real good feeling he was going to throw me a slider. The second one, I just saw it well. I was trying to hit a line drive to right center, and he threw a slider that was good to hit.”

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