SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners found out before Friday night’s game against the Oakland A’s that their manager would not be back next season. Then they went out and provided another reason why change might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Shortly after manager Eric Wedge informed the players that he was stepping down after the weekend series, the Mariners fell, 8-2, to an A’s team that clinched home-field advantage for the American League Division Series with the win.
Oakland’s Coco Crisp matched a season high with four hits, and Brandon Moss and Derek Norris each hit homers and drove in three runs for the AL West-champion A’s (95-65).
Oakland starter Bartolo Colon (18-6) outdueled Seattle’s Felix Hernandez after both pitchers allowed first-inning homers. Colon gave up two earned runs – both on solo homers – and three hits in six innings.
Hernandez (12-10) took the loss despite being dominating in his final five innings. Hernandez bounced back from serving up Moss’ three-run homer in the first inning, eventually going six innings while giving up three runs and five hits.
Hernandez closed out the season by going 0-5 in his final six starts after posting a 10-4 record at the All-Star break.
Oakland’s 3-1 lead after the first inning held up until the bottom of the sixth, when a solo home run from Seattle’s Kendrys Morales brought the Mariners to within a run. But the A’s responded with three runs in the top of the seventh, with the big blow coming on a two-run, pinch-hit homer that Norris delivered off reliever Oliver Perez. Josh Donaldson added an RBI on a groundout to give the A’s a 6-2 lead.
Norris contributed an RBI in the eighth and then came around to score, giving Oakland an 8-2 lead.
The win, combined with Detroit’s loss on Friday night, gave Oakland the second-best record in the AL.
All the Mariners (70-90) were able to clinch was the franchise’s sixth 90-loss season since 2004. Prior to that, Seattle had gone 11 consecutive years without losing more than 85 games.
A matchup of former Cy Young winners was anything but a pitching duel early on.
Hernandez served up a three-run homer to Moss in the top of the first inning, then the Mariners’ Franklin Gutierrez hit a solo homer off Colon in the bottom of the inning for a 3-1 Oakland lead.
Both pitchers settled down to give up just three total hits in the next four innings.
Oakland left fielder Yoenis Cespedes made his first start in the outfield in two weeks but had to come out in the fourth inning because of soreness in his ailing right shoulder. Seth Smith replaced him in left field in the bottom of the fourth.
After an inning-ending double play in the second, Hernandez surpassed 200 innings for the sixth year in a row. Earlier this month, Hernandez secured his fifth consecutive season of 200 or more strikeouts. ... The Mariners changed their weekend starters when they announced that right-hander Erasmo Ramirez would start Sunday’s season finale in place of lefty James Paxton.