Paul Blackburn shuts down Mariners as A’s pull out of cellar

Paul Blackburn allowed only one hit in 5 1/3 scoreless innings as the Oakland Athletics escaped the American League West cellar with a 4-2 victory against the host Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon.

Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus homered for the A’s, who took two of three games in the series to move a half-game ahead of Seattle.

Blackburn (5-0) lowered his ERA to 1.70, the fifth-best mark in the major leagues entering Wednesday night’s games. The right-hander walked five and struck out two.

Dany Jimenez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 10th save of the season in as many opportunities.

Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray (4-5) took the loss. Ray gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. He walked one and matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts.

Brown broke a scoreless tie with a homer to right-center field with two outs in the top of the fourth inning.

The A’s extended their lead in the sixth. With one out, Christian Bethancourt lined a single to center and Andrus followed with a two-run shot to left, his second homer in as many days.

Seattle’s only hit through the first five innings came with two outs in the second, when J.P. Crawford lined a single to center.

The Mariners threatened in the sixth as leadoff hitter Jesse Winker walked on a 3-2 count and Ty France was hit by a pitch. Blackburn got Adam Frazier to fly out to shallow center field before being replaced by Lou Trivino. He struck out Julio Rodriguez and got Eugenio Suarez to fly out to center to end the inning.

The Mariners finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh. With two outs, pinch-hitter Dylan Moore walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch by A.J. Puk. Luis Torrens, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, grounded a run-scoring single into right to make it 3-1.

Seattle pulled within a run in the eighth after France and Frazier led off with singles against Zach Jackson. France took third as Rodriguez grounded into a double play and then scored on a wild pitch.

The A’s restored their two-run advantage in the ninth as Brown walked, stole second and scored on Luis Barrera’s two-out single to right.

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