Smith's homer lifts Mariners over A's in finale

Smith's homer lifts Mariners over A's in finale

SEATTLE -- Seth Smith launched a home run to center field with two out in the bottom of the eight to lift the Mariners to a season-ending, 3-2 victory over the A's on Sunday at Safeco Field.

Smith's 12th homer of the year, off A's reliever Ryan Dull, raised Seattle's final record to 76-86 after losing nine of its previous 10 games. Oakland wound up last in the American League West at 68-94, including 6-13 against the Mariners, to finish with its worst record since 1993.

"You wish the scenario was a little different on the last game on the season, but any time you can win a game, especially on the last day of the season, it's nice," said Smith.

Starting pitchers Vidal Nuno and Chris Bassitt battled to a 2-2 tie through six innings before turning the game over to their bullpens. Nuno allowed six hits with one walk and four strikeouts, finishing his season 1-4 with a 3.74 ERA for the Mariners. Bassitt, who tweaked his setup to ensure he wasn't tipping pitches, gave up five hits and five walks with three strikeouts to end his rookie season with the A's at 1-8 with a 3.56 ERA.

"You saw the emergence of his desire," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "and once he got into a rotation, you saw him compete and compete hard, and he wears it on his sleeve, and it looks good on his sleeve. He's out there grinding."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The return of Robbie: Robinson Cano singled and scored the Mariners' first run in the fourth inning as he ended his second season in Seattle on a 16-game hitting streak, the longest active run in the Majors. It was quite a rebound for Cano. After batting .236 with three homers and 19 RBIs in the first 63 games, the 32-year-old hit .322 (119-for-370) with 18 homers and 60 RBIs in his last 93 games, hiking his final average to .287 with a team-leading 179 hits.

"It's good to finish strong as far as personal goals and stuff, but now you have to go pack and go home and watch somebody else be in the playoffs," Cano said. "So it's a sad day. We'll just go home and think about how it's going to be next season and what's going to happen."

Morrison's sacrifice fly

Yes he Canha: Rule 5 selection Mark Canha was one of the A's few bright spots in a mostly disappointing season, finishing with 16 home runs -- the last of which was hit in the third inning Sunday to give the first baseman 70 RBIs, most among American League rookies and second most on the club, behind Josh Reddick's 77.

"I didn't have any goals as far as numbers go, but I wanted to just show that I belong," Canha said. "As a Rule 5 guy, I wanted the respect and wanted to show I can play at this level and I think I did that."

Canha's solo blast

"Great year," Melvin said. "He's banged up, gave him the option to play today because he was hit by a pitch and was having a little bit of a tough time swinging the bat and he says, 'I'm going to get three hits today.' Got his 70th RBI, hit another home run, I don't know how much more a guy like that can do to prove himself at the big league level and to his teammates as being a Rule 5 guy."

Nuno holds the line: Though Nuno again wound up with a victory, Seattle's swing man kept his team in the game by dodging some difficulties early. Nuno gave up singles to Marcus Semien and Canha leading off the first, but stymied that threat with a 5-4-3 double play by Brett Lawrie. And after the A's struck twice in the third, he struck out Lawrie to minimize the damage. Nuno has just one victory in his past 26 starts in the Majors, though he's pitched relatively well in that span with the Yankees, D-backs and Mariners.

"He really settled down and got it together," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "He was a little shaky there for a while. He was up in the zone and we really didn't think he was going to make it through the fourth. But he really settled down and gave us six quality innings."

Nuno's solid outing

QUOTABLE
"I try not to think about what-ifs, but obviously the struggles with our bullpen … when you blow as many saves as we've blown, you wonder. You look at teams now that are going to win 86, 87 games and be in the playoffs. It's a little frustrating from that standpoint, but there are no regrets. You come out, you give everything you've got every day. Like I said earlier, I'm very proud of this club. They're resilient. They gave me everything they had every day." -- McClendon, on the Mariners season

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
By winning their final game, the Mariners wound up tied with the White Sox with the 10th-worst record in the Majors. Had they lost, they would have been alone in 10th, which would have assured them a protected Draft pick if they sign a free agent with a qualifying offer this offseason. Instead, the White Sox have the tiebreaker edge (a worse record in 2014) and Seattle will be No. 11 in the Draft order, meaning they'll lose their top Draft choice if they sign player who has been given a qualifying offer.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.