A's edge Mariners to close out 2016 campaign

A's edge Mariners to close out 2016 campaign

SEATTLE -- There were no postseason aspirations or playoff dramatics on the line, but Oakland rookie left-hander Sean Manaea put on a nice pitching performance as the A's and Mariners played out the string in Sunday's season finale at Safeco Field.

Manaea pitched six innings of two-run ball in Oakland's 3-2 win, allowing five hits with five strikeouts. The big 24-year-old finished his first season with a 7-9 record and 3.86 ERA and was 3-1 with a 1.05 ERA over his last six outings.

"Talk about a great year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "This is somebody to be very excited about, and we are, and it was good that he finished up strong and got a win today too. Give him a healthy and a full year, he'll put up some pretty strong numbers."

Melvin on young players

After Seattle saw its Wild Card hopes eliminated in an extra-inning loss Saturday, Felix Hernandez closed out his campaign with a three-inning start, giving up four hits and three runs before manager Scott Servais went to his bullpen. Hernandez, who missed six weeks in midseason with a calf injury, finished 11-8 with a 3.82 ERA.

"We didn't have a lot of wind in our sails, I guess is the best way to put it," Servais said. "Last night and the run we've been on, it took a lot out of everybody physically and emotionally."

Hernandez fans Healy

Stephen Vogt cracked a first-inning homer off Hernandez, his 14th of the season for the A's, as Oakland finished its season with two straight wins over Seattle to put its final record at 69-93.

The Mariners finished 86-76, a 10-win improvement from 2015, and their second-place standing in the American League West is their highest finish since 2007.

"I'm not in it to finish above .500," Servais said. "No doubt the Mariners in their history have not had a lot of seasons over. 500. I get it. But we're in it to get to the playoffs, to get deep and get to the World Series. Everything we do as an organization is going to be geared toward that."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Homer happy: Vogt was given just one at-bat in Sunday's finale, but he made the most of it, collecting his 14th home run ahead of his first winter of arbitration eligibility to move his season average from .249 to .251. The A's catcher, a key presence in their clubhouse, wasn't at his best offensively in the second half of the season. He finished a second consecutive All-Star campaign with 56 RBIs, after totaling 71 last year.

"I wanted to play today," Vogt said. "Obviously you want to play every day, but I was fortunate enough to get one out. Then [bench coach Mark] Kotsay came up to me and said, 'Hey, that's a way to go out.' It was nice to get over .250 and go out on a good swing like that and give the team the lead."

Vogt's solo jack

The 'Hands Team' hits: Mariners outfielders Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia were used as late-inning defensive replacements for much of the closing month, but the youngsters were both in the lineup for the finale and showed promise at the plate as well. After Dae-Ho Lee beat out a slow dribbler for an infield single in the fifth, Gamel followed with a ringing ground-rule double to center and Heredia drove in both with another double to left field for Seattle's only runs off Manaea.

Heredia's two-run double

Leading off: A's shortstop Marcus Semien capped his season with quite a week at the plate, going 8-for-24 on this seven-game road swing. After finishing with a career high-tying four hits Saturday from the leadoff spot, Semien was back at the top of the lineup Sunday, and his third-inning single sent in the A's second run of the game. A's manager Bob Melvin said earlier in the day he could see sticking with Semien in the No. 1 hole next year, given continued production.

"If he continues to make the kind of progression that he has at times this year and is right now," Melvin said, "then he'll be a guy that'll be up in the lineup against both righties and lefties."

Semien's RBI single

It was thiiiis close:: Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager would have loved to get to 100 RBIs on the season, but finished with a career-high 99 when he ripped a line drive to right field in his final at-bat in the ninth that wound up being pulled down on a leaping catch at the top of the wall by the A's Matt Olson.

"Let's just say he's not going to get a Christmas card from me," said a chagrined Seager.

Olson's leaping grab

QUOTABLE
"I would have loved to see that ball go over the fence for Kyle Seager. That was kind of a microcosm of our season. So close." -- Servais

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mariners drew 24,856 for Sunday's finale, putting their season tally at 2,268,573 for 81 home games. That's the highest attendance at Safeco since 2008..

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.