Mariners complete sweep, inch closer to wild card

Seattle, WA – Robinson Cano seems to have rediscovered his home run stroke just when the Seattle Mariners need it most.

Cano homered for the second consecutive game and drove in four runs, Andrew Albers took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 10-2 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

“I think last night when Robbie hit the ball out of the ballpark just kind of relaxed him,” manager Scott Servais said. “He showed up today and he was seeing pitches, he was tracking the ball better, he was staying behind the ball. He’s got a special swing, still got to get good pitches to hit and that’s what he did today.”

Albers, acquired from Atlanta on Aug. 11, did not allow a hit until Matt Olson opened the sixth with his 12th home run to make it 3-1. That was the only hit off Albers (3-1) who struck out five and walked one while throwing 101 pitches in six innings.

“It’s one of those things, yeah, you know it was happening,” said Albers, whose last big league victory prior to joining the Mariners was Aug. 12, 2013, when he was with Minnesota. “The pitch count was up, was pretty sure I wasn’t going to finish that no matter what happens. At the same time, that’s kind of neat just to be able to carry something like that that deep into a ball game.”

Carlos Ruiz and Mitch Haniger hit solo homers for the Mariners, who moved within 2 1/2 games of Minnesota for the second wild card spot. Cano had a two-run home run in the first, and RBI singles in the fourth and in a five-run eighth as Seattle finished with 17 hits.

Cano had a solo homer in Saturday’s 7-6 victory, but prior to that had not homered in 35 games since July 22.

“It feels good right now,” said Cano, who has been bothered recently by a strained hamstring. “Not only because I got a hit, but for the past week I’ve been feeling good since we faced the Atlanta Braves. Before I got hurt, I was feeling really good.”

Ruiz opened the sixth with his third homer to put Seattle up 4-1. Haniger, who also singled twice and doubled, made it 5-1 in the seventh with his 10th homer.

Olson’s RBI single made it 5-2 in the eighth, but Seattle opened the bottom half with six consecutive hits en route to a five-run inning.

Daniel Gossett (3-8) gave up three runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, but walked five and struck out five as Oakland dropped it sixth straight.

“I just have to locate better,” Gossett said. “It’s the single most important aspect of pitching. I wasn’t able to do that and I got exposed.”

The playoff-contending Mariners, who had only seven home games in August and ended the month by losing the final five games of a 12-game trip, now host Houston and the Los Angeles Angels in consecutive three-game series.

Cano staked the Mariners to a 2-0 lead in the first with his 21st home run, and extended it to 3-0 on his run-scoring single to left in the fourth.

Seattle left two runners on base in each of the first three innings and the bases loaded in the fourth.