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Oakland at Seattle

W: L. French (4-3) L: G. Gonzalez (4-5)
S: D. Aardsma (30)
HR: OAK - J. Cust (20), K. Suzuki (11)   SEA - J. Lopez (19)

Mariners 5, Athletics 3

CBSSports.com wire reports

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners are 9-2 without the great Ichiro Suzuki.

It's enough to make the Mariners pause -- to wish for more games against last-place Oakland.

Jose Lopez hit a home run, newly acquired Bill Hall drove in two runs and Luke French won his third game in four decisions as a Mariner in Seattle's 5-3 victory against the Athletics on Wednesday night.

Even without their nine-time All-Star leadoff man and eight-time Gold Glove outfielder, who might be out into the weekend with a sore calf, the AL's lowest-scoring team swept three games from the team ranked last in the league in slugging percentage, extra-base hits and home runs entering Wednesday.

  Mariners: Tell Ichiro to slow down | Athletics: Chavez begins rehab

It was Seattle's first series sweep since June 19-21, against Arizona. It kept the Mariners on the fringes of the AL wild-card race, 7½ games behind front-running Boston.

The Mariners were 6-2 when Suzuki began the season on the disabled list following a bleeding ulcer. Three of those victories came in another sweep of the A's.

"It's opportunity. It's about the support of one another," said first-year manager Don Wakamatsu, who has succeeded in instilling a unified attitude into what was a divided team that lost 101 games in 2008.

Suzuki dressed quietly in the clubhouse after the game. He declined an interview request through his interpreter.

The Mariners don't want him to return too soon and potentially damage the calf more severely. That would jeopardize his chance to become the first major leaguer with nine consecutive 200-hit seasons. He needs 16.

"He says he's ready to go -- but he said he was ready to go in January," Wakamatsu said before the game.

Closer David Aardsma nearly scoffed at the idea life is grand without Suzuki, whose 1,396 games played since 2001 is the most in the majors during that span.

"It's not that we're playing better without him," Aardsma said. "But when he's out of the lineup, people think they've got to pick it up a bit."

Aardsma followed relievers Miguel Batista and Mark Lowe in keeping Oakland scoreless over the final 4 1/3 innings. Barely.

Aardsma allowed a ground-ball single to Mark Ellis and a bloop hit to Ryan Sweeney to begin the ninth. He struck out Tommy Everidge looking at a 96 mph fastball almost down the middle. Pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra then looked at another 96 mph pitch on the inside corner for strike three, with the veteran protesting to umpire Dan Bellino it was off the plate. Adam Kennedy grounded out to conclude Aardsma's 30th save in 34 chances.

He became the sixth Mariner to get 30 saves in a season. Aardsma had zero in four major league seasons before 2009.

"Coming into the season, I never had any expectations for any of this," he said.

Lopez's 19th home run of the season was a two-run shot in the first off Gio Gonzalez (4-5).

Hall's RBIs came on a single in the third and sacrifice fly in the fifth that made it 4-1. His other two-RBI game with Seattle was Friday at Cleveland, his first game after a trade from Milwaukee.

French (4-3), making his fifth start since Seattle acquired him from Detroit in the Jarrod Washburn trade, allowed six hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings.

After Kurt Suzuki hit French's 0-2 changeup for his 11th home run with a man on in the sixth, Jack Cust hit an extraordinarily high drive down the right-field line and off a seldom-reached top window of a restaurant. First-base umpire Mike Winters ruled it foul. A's manager Bob Geren came out and asked Winters, the crew chief, "That went over the pole, didn't it?"

After a couple minutes' delay for a review, Winters emerged with his crew and again signaled foul ball instead of a tying home run.

"You don't see too many homers in the major leagues go completely over a foul pole," Geren said. "[The umpires] did the right thing."

In the fourth, Cust hit another towering drive to right -- fair -- for his 20th home run.

It's his third consecutive season with at least 20 home runs. He had five home runs in 169 plate appearances for four other teams dating to 2001, before San Diego traded him to the A's for cash in May 2007.

"I'm pumped about that," Cust said, adding he appreciated being asked about the career turnaround.


Geren reiterated he will have a six-man rotation when rosters expand in September. One of them might not be LHP Dallas Braden, who could be done for the season. A neurologist found Braden has nerve trauma in his left foot. He has been on the DL since Aug. 8, first for a rash on the foot.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

J. Lopez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

K. Suzuki
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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Oakland Athletics
Adam Kennedy, 3B5000005 .277
Rajai Davis, CF4120002 .291
Kurt Suzuki, C4112001 .275
Scott Hairston, LF4000001 .276
Jack Cust, DH4111021 .243
Mark Ellis, 2B3010110 .279
Ryan Sweeney, RF4020011 .274
Tommy Everidge, 1B4010013 .224
Cliff Pennington, SS3010011 .265
   a- Nomar Garciaparra, PH1000012 .264
a-struck out for Pennington in the 9th
2B - Ryan Sweeney (21, French)
HR - Kurt Suzuki (11, French), Jack Cust (20, French)
RBI - Kurt Suzuki 2 (59), Jack Cust (57)
2-OUT RBI - Jack Cust (24)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Ryan Sweeney 1
E - Rajai Davis (4, Dropped fly)
Oakland Athletics
Gio Gonzalez (L,4-5) 5744371 5.88
Jeff Gray 2110030 0.73
Andrew Bailey 1000000 1.96
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 107-63, Jeff Gray 30-20, Andrew Bailey 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 1-6, Jeff Gray 3-1, Andrew Bailey 1-2
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 24, Jeff Gray 8, Andrew Bailey 3
Seattle Mariners
Franklin Gutierrez, CF4010011 .291
Jack Hannahan, 3B2310200 .217
Jose Lopez, 2B4222011 .273
Mike Sweeney, DH4021013 .254
Bill Hall, RF3012002 .210
Russell Branyan, 1B3000112 .249
Rob Johnson, C4010012 .230
Jack Wilson, SS4000031 .254
Michael Saunders, LF3000021 .244
2B - Jack Hannahan (11, G. Gonzalez), Jose Lopez (34, G. Gonzalez), Mike Sweeney (13, G. Gonzalez), Rob Johnson (18, G. Gonzalez)
HR - Jose Lopez (19, G. Gonzalez)
SF - Bill Hall (3)
RBI - Jose Lopez 2 (78), Mike Sweeney (23), Bill Hall 2 (28)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Sweeney (5), Bill Hall (10)
Team LOB - 6
Seattle Mariners
Luke French (W,4-3) 5.2633142 3.92
Miguel Batista (H,11) 1.1000010 4.10
Mark Lowe (H,22) 1100000 3.13
David Aardsma (S,30) 1200020 2.30
Pitches-Strikes - Luke French 86-53, Miguel Batista 10-8, Mark Lowe 14-9, David Aardsma 17-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke French 3-10, Mark Lowe 1-2, David Aardsma 1-0
Batters Faced - Luke French 24, Miguel Batista 4, Mark Lowe 4, David Aardsma 5
Game Information
Attendance - 18695
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Wally Bell