OAKLAND -- The Mariners are surging at the right time, and thanks to a run-scoring single in the ninth inning from Ketel Marte, Seattle outlasted the A's, 3-2, to complete a series sweep at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday.
"Really hard-fought win," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We had a lot of clutch hits late, pretty good pitching, bullpen was solid. Nice series for us taking it a day at a time, and we accomplished what we needed to get done here."
The win was Seattle's fifth straight and helped the club keep pace in a crowded American League Wild Card race. James Paxton provided Seattle with its third consecutive quality start, allowing two earned runs in six innings. The left-hander also grew more effective as the game wore on, and didn't allow an Oakland baserunner to reach scoring position after the second inning. And following Marte's tiebreaking base knock, Edwin Diaz recorded his third save in four days by retiring three straight batters in the bottom of the ninth.
"I felt pretty good, finger was much better, didn't have very good fastball command, but my secondary stuff was pretty good today," said Paxton, who is still limited by a torn fingernail.
The pitching performances proved to be crucial, as the Mariners scored fewer than six runs for just the second time in their last seven games.
A's right-hander Raul Alcantara bounced back from a rocky Major League debut and allowed just two runs in 5 2/3 innings. However, the offense continued to burden the A's. The club stranded five runners and combined for a mere seven runs in the series.
"You could tell he was a lot more poised when he went out there," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He was throwing strikes right away. I think the first time out was mainly just nerves … but he pitched really well today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Finally: In a game marked by missed opportunities, Marte finally came through for the Mariners in the ninth. After Mike Zunino and Leonys Martin opened the inning with base hits, Marte lined a single up the middle to break the stalemate.
"Marte did a great job today getting on base, doing his thing with a big knock at the end," Servais said of Marte, who finished the day 3-for-3.
Should have waited: The A's had runners on the corners with one out in the seventh, but couldn't make it pay off. On the first pitch from former Oakland reliever Evan Scribner, rookie pinch-hitter Joey Wendle grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Sweet spot: Alcantara hung a slider right over the middle of the plate in the second inning and Zunino made him pay, crushing his 11th homer of the season to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead. The ball left Zunino's bat at 107 mph and traveled an estimated 402 feet, according to Statcast™.
"It was another at-bat where I felt like I got to two strikes pretty quick," said Zunino. "He showed me the slider early and I was able to lay off of it. He threw another one that was in the zone and up and I was just able to barrel it."
Madson's streak ends: A's closer Ryan Madson had not allowed a run in 12 consecutive games spanning 13 2/3 innings, but took the loss after giving up the game-winner in the ninth inning. Madson gave up hits to Seattle's first three batters in the inning and also bobbled Norichika Aoki's bunt before recovering to get the out at first.
"You get a couple guys on and now you try and make some really good pitches," Melvin said. "Next thing you know there's a run in. He's going to give up a run every now and then."
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Ariel Miranda will take the mound when the Mariners and Angels begin a three-game series in Los Angeles on Monday at 7:05 p.m. PT. Miranda has allowed just five hits and three unearned runs in his last 11 innings pitched.
Athletics:Ross Detwiler makes his first start in nearly two weeks Monday when the A's travel to Kansas City to begin a four-game series at 4:15 p.m. PT. Detwiler's only win this season came in his Oakland debut on Aug. 10. The left-hander pitched three innings of relief in his most recent outing against the Angels on Sept. 5.