The visiting Seattle Mariners can tie the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card standings when the West rivals meet Tuesday night in the second game of a high-stakes, four-game series.
Seattle (81-69) beat Oakland (82-68) for the sixth consecutive time in the series opener Monday, getting three RBIs from Kyle Seager and seven strong innings from left-hander Tyler Anderson in a 4-2 win.
The result left the A's two games out of the final AL wild-card spot with 12 games remaining, while the Mariners moved within three games of a postseason position.
Seattle will try another left-hander, Marco Gonzales (8-5, 4.05 ERA), on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old has gone unbeaten in his last 12 starts, running up a 7-0 record with a 2.70 ERA. The Mariners have gone 9-3 in those games.
Gonzales has faced the A's twice during his hot streak, getting a win and a no-decision. He has gone 6-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts, against Oakland in his career.
Gonzales might have to go without his safety net -- reliever Paul Sewald -- who worked overtime to secure the series-opening win.
Sewald struck out Oakland sluggers Matt Olson and Matt Chapman with the potential tying run on base in the eighth inning before being sent back out for the ninth, which he wrapped up quickly.
He earned his ninth save, but in working 1 2/3 innings, he likely pitched his way out of consideration in the rematch. The past five times Sewald has recorded four or more outs in a game, he was given the next day off.
"I've said it many times: We would not be in the position that we're in right now without what Paul Sewald has done for us this year," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We have used Sewald a ton. And like a lot of players in the league right now, the tank is not full anymore. So I think it's important you find him some down time, some down days."
After the A's had a shaky outing from the bullpen Sunday in a 3-2, 10-inning road win over the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland manager Bob Melvin praised his relief corps following the Monday loss. Domingo Acevedo, Sam Moll and Deolis Guerra combined for four shutout innings, allowing two hits, keeping Oakland in the game while preserving the club's top relievers for another day.
"We put such a workload on six guys," Melvin said. "With a nine-man bullpen, we have to get contributions elsewhere or their arms are going to fall off. Every inning that those (other three relievers) pitch takes a little bit of pressure off the (core) guys."
Seeking to avoid a costly losing streak, the A's are slated to start Paul Blackburn (1-2, 4.94). The right-hander has pitched Oakland to wins in his past two outings, against the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, despite giving up six runs and 12 hits in 7 2/3 innings.
The A's have averaged 8.3 runs in his three starts this month.
Blackburn went head-to-head with Gonzales during a 5-3 Mariners win on Aug. 23. Blackburn left a 2-2 game in the sixth inning. The 27-year-old is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.
--Field Level Media