(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics maintained their lead atop the AL wild card standings and shoot for a series win this evening in the continuation of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
Oakland posted a 6-1 win last night at Safeco Field and rookie starter A.J. Griffin improved to 5-0 by striking out seven batters and allowing one run in 5 1/3 innings. Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle held the Mariners scoreless the rest of the way.
"It seems like every time he pitches, we feel good about our chances and he gives us a great chance to win," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said about Griffin. "He goes out there and performs for me."
Griffin was able to outduel Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who allowed six runs, five of which were earned, and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
George Kottaras hit a three-run homer and both Josh Donaldson and Stephen Drew knocked in runs for Oakland, which was coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the LA Angels and won for the 10th time in 13 tries.
The A's and Baltimore Orioles currently own the final two postseason spots in the American League. Oakland still has some tough games remaining on the slate, including a four-game road series with the Angels next week.
Oakland announced Friday that Dan Straily was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take the rotation spot of Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy recently was hit in the head by a line drive and needed immediate surgery to repair a skull fracture. McCarthy is progressing, but is still in serious condition.
Brett Anderson has won each of his three starts this season and will go for a fourth tonight and a series win for the A's. Coming off elbow surgery more than a year ago, Anderson threw seven innings of one-run ball against Minnesota on Aug. 21, then tossed seven scoreless frames in a win at Cleveland six days later.
Anderson last toed the rubber in a 6-2 victory over Boston on Sunday, as he held the visiting club to a run in six innings. The lefty has a sparkling 0.90 ERA in 20 innings pitched and is 6-3 with a 1.90 ERA in 12 starts against Seattle.
Seattle fell to 3-4 on a nine-game homestand last night and was hoping Hernandez would bounce back from a poor outing. Instead, King Felix dropped his second outing in a row and dropped to 13-7 on the season. The AL Cy Young Award candidate was 9-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 14 starts until the LA Angels got to him in a 5-2 victory last Saturday.
"Every pitch was up," Hernandez said. "I fell behind a couple of times...well, not a couple of times, a lot of times and they made me pay. It was not my day."
Brendan Ryan drove in Seattle's only run and John Jaso finished with a team- high two hits. Mariners outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders were back in the lineup after extended absences and went a combined 1-for-8 with a run scored by Saunders.
The Mariners will send Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound Saturday and he is 5-1 with a 1.57 earned run average in his last seven starts. The Mariners are 6-1 in that stretch and recorded a 2-1 win his last time out on Sunday versus the LA Angels of Anaheim.
Iwakuma struck out seven over 7 1/3 shutout innings and has allowed just one earned run in his last four starts. Seattle has won each of his previous five outings, and the rookie right-hander is 6-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 25 games, 11 of which have been starts. Iwakuma lost to Oakland back on June 27, when he yielded one run in 3 2/3 innings of a 2-1 loss.
Seattle and Oakland have split 14 meetings so far this season.