Mariners gain ground in wild card chase, beat A’s 5-1 final

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 28: Dae-Ho Lee #10, left, of the Seattle Mariners congratulates Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners after Cruz hit a two-run home run off of starting pitcher Jonathon Niese #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning of a game at Safeco Field on June 28, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)


SEATTLE – Robinson Cano hit two home runs, Taijuan Walker pitched six effective innings and the Seattle Mariners moved within one game of the second AL wild-card spot, beating the Oakland Athletics 5-1 Friday night.

Seattle, which has won seven of nine, is one game behind Toronto for the second spot.  The Mariners also trail Detroit by a half-game.

Cano had a two-run homer in the first. He added his 38th home run in the third, a solo shot that gave him 100 RBIs for the season. Norichika Aoki and Nelson Cruz also homered off Raul Alcantara (1-3), who was tagged for five runs on seven hits in two-plus innings.

Walker (8-11) allowed one run on two hits in six innings, but walked five in a 113-pitch outing. The only run came on Ryon Healy’s 13th homer to open the sixth. Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.