Kyle Seager joined a select group Sunday by collecting a pair of doubles the Mariners continued their August surge with an 8-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Seager drove in four runs with his two doubles and took over the club lead in RBIs with 77. He became the sixth player in franchise history to reach 30 doubles and 20 homers in four different seasons.
Hitting coach Edgar Martinez did it seven times.
"It's nice to build a little bit of a lead there," Seager said, "and let our pitchers settle in and not throw quite as many stressful pitches. We’ve been putting together pretty good at-bats, top to bottom."
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Mariners built a 7-1 lead through 5 1/2 innings for Wade LeBlanc, who gave two runs back in the sixth on a homer by Khris Davis before the Mariners turned to their bullpen.
A Wolfpack relay of Drew Storen, Archimedes Caminero and Nick Vincent closed out the Mariners’ 10th victory in 12 games.
Seager led a 12-hit attack with an RBI double in a two-run third inning that broke a 1-1 tie and a three-run double in the sixth. Nori Aoki added three hits, while Shawn O’Malley had two hits and a walk.
"A lot of guys chipped in," manager Scott Servais said. "We needed it. To go out and win the series, you need to score a few runs. We got it done today."
Storen inherited a 7-3 lead from LeBlanc (2-0) but started the seventh by giving up a homer to Brett Eibner. The Mariners answered in the eighth inning on Aoki’s two-out RBI single.
That’s how it ended. Caminero worked around two singles in a scoreless eighth before Vincent finished up.
LeBlanc had a season-high seven strikeouts while gaining his fifth quality start in seven turns since arriving in a June 22 trade from Toronto. The Mariners are 6-1 in his starts.
"Anytime you can get a win and give up less runs than your team scores," he said, "you’ve got to be happy about it."
The Mariners (62-54) closed to 5 1/2 games of first-place Texas in the American League West Division and remained two games behind Boston in the race for the AL’s final wild-card berth.
Oakland starter Zach Neal (2-2) had given up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings when he departed after Mike Zunino’s single.
The Mariners then feasted on reliever Daniel Coulombe, who walked O’Malley — who had two hits against Neal — on four pitches before Aoki’s single loaded the bases.
Seager followed by driving a three-run double into the right-center gap and, although he got trapped between second and third for an out, the Mariners led 7-1.
"We’re sitting there watching and thinking, `Here we go,’" Servais admitted. "`We’re up by a couple. We’ve got the big at-bat.’ Really good hitting by Kyle. He hung in there and kept fighting.
"Foul ball. Foul ball. And then he got a fastball, and he smoked it in the gap."
PLAY OF THE GAME: All four Mariners’ infielders surrounded a high two-out pop by Jake Smolinski near the back of the pitchers’ mound in the third inning.
Shortstop Shawn O’Malley called for the ball but collided with first baseman Adam Lind in making the catch. O’Malley held the ball as Lind tumbled to the ground.
"It was pretty funny," manager Scott Servais said, "that Lind got flattened by O’Malley. He had momentum on his side. We’ll give him that."
Also Tri-Cities toughness.
PLUS: Adam Lind opened the scoring by leading off the second inning with a 443-foot drive into the upper deck in right field. It was his third homer in three career at-bats against Neal…reliever Archimedes Caminero has six scoreless innings in five appearances since arriving in an Aug. 6 trade from Pittsburgh…reliever Nick Vincent has pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in four outings since returning from a six-week stay on the disabled list.
MINUS: Reliever Drew Storen allowed a leadoff homer in the seventh inning (to Brett Eibner) after replacing starter Wade LeBlanc. It was only the second earned run allowed by the bullpen over 30 1/3 innings in the last nine games…Dae-Ho Lee was hitless in four at-bats and is 4-for-48 in his last 18 games. His average has dropped in that span from .293 to .249.
STAT PACK: Kyle Seager’s double in the third inning was his 30th of the season and gave him four years with at least 30 doubles and 20 homers. Only five other players have had four or more 30/20 seasons in franchise history: Edgar Martinez (seven times), Ken Griffey Jr. (five), Raul Ibanez (four), Bret Boone (four) and Alex Rodriguez (four). Seager got his 31st double later in the game…the Mariners are back to .500 on the road at 29-29…
QUOTABLE: Left fielder Nori Aoki went 3-for-5 and is batting .290 (18-for-62) in 19 games since returning from a month-long demotion to Triple-A Tacoma. So…what changed?
"It’s hard to say," he said. "I’m doing a lot of things different. It’s not just one thing. I changed my bat. I changed my helmet. I changed the way I see the ball. I changed a lot of things."
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners scored in the fourth inning by taking advantage of a mistake; Oakland second baseman Tyler Ladendorf failed to touch second for a force-out on what should have been an inning-ending double play. A replay challenge overturned the out call, and the Shawn O’Malley followed with an RBI single to center…the Mariners were 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners