OAKLAND, Calif. — For the Mariners, their final off day of the regular season will be a welcomed respite to rest, recover and ready themselves for the final push for the postseason — an emotionally charged sprint of 10 games in 10 days against the two teams they are directly competing with for the American League West
For Mariners fans, Friday can’t get here soon enough.
With a comfortable 6-3 win over the A’s that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate, Wednesday afternoon, the Mariners did what they were supposed to do on this first leg of the final road trip — sweep one of the worst teams in baseball and re-establish their footing in the race for a postseason spot and now an American League West title.
Given another quality start from George Kirby and home runs from Dominic Canzone, Julio Rodriguez and Cal Raleigh, the Mariners rolled to yet another victory of the A’s this season. They finished 12-1 vs. Oakland in the season series and improved to 84-68 on the season.
Seattle will have Thursday off in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before opening a pivotal three-game series vs. the Rangers on Friday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
The Mariners’ final 10 games start with the three road games in Texas followed by the final homestand of the season that features three vs. the Astros followed by a four-game series vs. the Rangers.
It won’t be dull.
“The playoffs start for us on Friday night,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s what you play all year for. Our year, the way it started out was a little bumpy. We’ve righted the ship, got some things going. And now we’re in a situation where we get to play the teams that we’re competing against in the standings over a 10-day period. It should be super exciting.”
With several key players returning from the injured list, the Rangers (84-68) rolled out their projected postseason lineup and just crushed the Red Sox, rallying from an early four-run deficit for a 15-5 win.
The Astros (85-68) avoided being swept at home by the Orioles, needing a walkoff single from Mauricio Dubon in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 victory.
Houston, who holds a 1/2-game lead over Seattle and Texas, will also be off on Thursday, meaning there will be no movement the AL West standings.
“‘I’m definitely really excited,” Rodriguez said. “I feel everybody’s ready to get to the field, honestly. Everybody’s excited, everybody’s ready to compete and lay everything on the line over there”
Kirby pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts. He wasn’t dominant, but he was efficient and pitched with the lead.
Facing right-hander Joes Estes, who was making his MLB debut, the Mariners got an unexpected spark from Canzone, who had struggled of late.
He crushed a two-run homer to right field, a blast that traveled 448 feet for an early lead.
Rodriguez and Raleigh hit back-to-back homers to start the fifth and Canzone added a two-run double.
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