Mariners sweep A's, gain ground in Wild Card

Mariners sweep A's, gain ground in Wild Card

SEATTLE -- Mariners starter Andrew Albers took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and Robinson Cano, Carlos Ruiz and Mitch Haniger slugged home runs to lead the Mariners over the A's, 10-2, completing a three-game series sweep on Sunday at Safeco Field.

The Mariners pulled within 2 1/2 games of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot after Minnesota fell to Kansas City, 5-4, on Sunday.

Albers, making his fourth start of the season since being dealt to the Mariners from the Braves on Aug. 11, allowed one hit over six innings and fanned five while issuing only one walk. His only blemish was a leadoff home run from Matt Olson in the sixth.

"Andrew Albers was exceptional today," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "[He] went right after them. Attacked them. Exactly what we needed, especially going through a bunch of guys to get through last night's game. Can't really do a whole lot better. … Was exactly what we needed, very aggressive. He's been a great addition."

Albers strikes out five

"I thought my fastball command was outstanding today," Albers added. "I felt like I was ahead for most of the counts, we didn't fall behind a whole lot, and I think a lot that was fastball command, just in-and-out, and then working the offspeed stuff off it."

The southpaw was backed by a strong offensive performance. Haniger went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and was a triple short of the cycle; Cano went 4-for-5 with four RBIs; Ruiz went 2-for-3 with a double; and Jean Segura went 3-for-4 with a walk.

Nelson Cruz, Yonder Alonso and Ben Gamel drove in runs in a five-run eighth inning.

Haniger's four-hit day

"Really nice day offensively," Servais said. "We haven't had one of those days in quite some time. Obviously, It's great to have Cano get going again, he's going to be huge for us going into September. And then Haniger as well. Hanny's really swung the bat well after some rough days on the last road trip."

Mariners' lineup collectively emerges from lackluster stretch

The A's lost all six games on their road trip through Anaheim and Seattle. Sunday's loss clinched the season series for Seattle, and Oakland has now lost five consecutive season series against the Mariners.

"Terrible," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I can't remember the last time we went on a road trip and didn't come home with a win."

A's frustrated after winless road trip

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Setting the tone: Cano put the Mariners up early by launching a two-run homer, his 21st of the season, to right-center field. It was Cano's second homer in as many games after a homerless stretch that dated back to July 22 and spanned 145 plate appearances.

"I think last night when Robbie hit the ball out of the ballpark, it kind of relaxed him," Servais said. "He showed up today and he was seeing pitches, he was tracking pitches and staying behind the ball. He's got a special swing, but you still got to get good pitches to hit, and that's what he did today."

Cano on his offensive surge

Walks hurt: A's starter Daniel Gossett struggled with command, particularly in the fourth inning, when he issued back-to-back, two-out walks to Segura and Alonso to extend the inning. Cano made him pay by dumping an RBI single into left field. Gossett walked a career-high five batters over 3 2/3 innings

"Just gotta locate better," Gossett said. "There's no other way to put it. Just locate better. That's the single most important aspect of pitching. I wasn't able to do that, and I got exposed. Just gotta locate better, find a way to locate better."

Cano's RBI single

QUOTABLE
"I give up a lot of hits, so I usually don't go that far in a game where I haven't given up a hit yet. But it's one of those things, like yeah you know it's happening. Pitch count was up, pretty sure I wasn't going to finish that no matter what happened, just be able to carry something like that as deep in the ballgame. Obviously, I wouldn't want to give something like that up the way I did. But at the same time, it's the sixth inning and it's a 3-0 ballgame, the worst thing I could do right there is a walk a guy, so I was going to continue to attack." -- Albers, on mindset with no-hitter on the line

WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES
Catcher Mike Marjama made his Major League debut on Sunday, as he entered the game in the ninth inning as a defensive substitution after Ruiz was pinch-run for in the eighth. Gordon Beckham, who pinch-ran for Ruiz, made his Mariners debut, as did Shae Simmons, who pitched the ninth inning.

"I had an idea," Marjama said. "If you've been around the game long enough you kind of know when the situation starts to arise when you put some runs together at end to pull away a little bit. I had an idea of what was going on.

"Down in the bullpen, [Shae and I] kind of smiled at eachother, like, 'here we go' … It's a really good time. We shared some good time together down in Tacoma, so for able to do it with him was a lot of fun."

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With Marjama, Simmons and Beckham debuting, Seattle has used 61 players this year and 40 pitchers, which ties the 2014 Rangers for the MLB record for most pitchers used in a season.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Oakland challenged a play at first base that ruled Alonso safely retreated to first base after Olson snagged Cano's sharply hit line drive to Olson and sprinted over to the bag to attempt the unassisted double play. The play was overturned, as it was ruled that Olson's foot landed on the bag before Alonso's hand touched.

Alonso doubled off first

WHAT'S NEXT
Athletics: The A's will return to the Coliseum for a seven-game homestand, beginning with three against the Angels. Right-hander Chris Smith, who allowed seven runs (six earned) across 3 2/3 innings in Anaheim on Tuesday, will start the 1:05 p.m. PT opener Monday.

Mariners: Erasmo Ramirez is on the hill for the 3:40 p.m. PT series opener against the Astros on Monday at Safeco Field. He owns a 2.25 ERA in his last four outings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

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