The Seattle Mariners left-hander threw 10 consecutive fastballs,
each one between 95 and 98 mph, in a one-two-three inning.
Paxton kept throwing heat and mowing down A's batters, allowing just
two runs on four hits -- all singles -- over 7 2/3 innings as the
Mariners withstood a furious A's rally and held on for 6-5 victory
at the O.co Coliseum.
"This young man has greatness written all over him," Mariners
manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He's just got to stay healthy."
A two-run, fifth-inning homer by third baseman Kyle Seager helped
Seattle take a 6-0 lead against A's right-hander Sonny Gray, and
Paxton (5-1) blanked the A's for the first seven innings. Paxton
walked three and struck out only two, but he kept getting ground
balls, and the Mariners turned three of those into double plays.
"I was just going at them with my fastball," Paxton said. "They
weren't making the adjustment, and they were hitting ground balls
and hitting it right at guys, so I just kept on pounding away. They
got themselves out."
The A's (79-59) remain 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Los
Angeles Angels in the American League West. Oakland owns the AL's
top wild-card spot, but its lead over the Detroit Tigers fell to
three games and its edge over Seattle (74-63) dropped to 4 1/2
Paxton left the game with two outs and runners on first and third in
the eighth inning. A's pinch hitter Adam Dunn then lined an RBI
single to right off reliever Yoervis Medina, cutting Seattle's lead
to 6-1. After a Medina wild pitch, center fielder Craig Gentry, who
had a season-high-tying three hits, lined a two-run double to left,
making it 6-3.
Mariners closer Fernando Rodney gave up two runs in the ninth on
back-to-back-to-back, two-out doubles by designated hitter Derek
Norris, pinch hitter Brandon Moss and pinch hitter Sam Fuld as the
A's cut Seattle's lead to 6-5.
Rodney retired right fielder Josh Reddick on a ground ball to end
the game and record his 40th save, the second most in the AL.
"You look at the guy tonight," Norris said of Paxton, "he's running
up to 99 mph on our gun, which is slow. I wouldn't focus too much on
the negatives but focus on the positives that we were one swing away
from winning the ballgame tonight."
Gray (13-8) entered the game with a 4-0 record and 1.10 ERA in five
career starts against Seattle. He gave up six runs on seven hits and
lasted only five innings, striking out two and walking two. After
going 5-0 in June, Gray is 1-5 in his past seven starts.
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"I felt OK," Gray said. "I've definitely felt better, but I've felt worse
as well. Just OK."
Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson went 2-for-4 with a two-run
single in the third inning. Right fielder Endy Chavez drove in two runs
with a double in the fourth, and Seager made it 6-0 with his two-run
shot an inning later.
"He's tough," Seager said of Gray. "He's definitely one of those guys
you've got your hands full with. He's got good stuff. He mixes it up. He
locates really well. He's definitely a guy that you have to bring your
The same could be said for Paxton.
"He's been phenomenal," Seager said. "You see the way he was working
tonight. Working fast, throwing strikes. He gets a lot of ground balls.
He obviously has great stuff. There's a different feel with him. He goes
right at them. He attacks hitters. He's pretty special."
NOTES: The A's recalled LHP Drew Pomeranz and 1B Nate Freiman from Class
A Beloit. Freiman started at first base and went 0-for-2 with a walk.
... Seattle recalled LHP James Paxton and RHP Erasmo Ramirez from
Triple-A Tacoma. Paxton made his eighth start of the season. ... A's
catcher John Jaso (concussion symptoms) took batting practice on the
field for the first time since landing on the seven-day disabled list
retroactive to Aug. 14. "I think that coming back in the near future is
definitely a very good possibility," Jaso said. ... A's LHP Sean
Doolittle (strained right intercostal muscle) played catch for the first
time since going on the 15-day DL on Aug. 24. It is unclear when
Doolittle will be ready to return. ... After back-to-back rough starts,
Mariners RHP Chris Young could have his turn in the rotation skipped
Saturday against Texas. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Young will have to
convince him that he is fully healthy in order to make his next start.
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