OAKLAND (AP) — Jed Lowrie hit his 100th career homer after his line drive knocked Mariners ace James Paxton out of the game, and the Oakland Athletics beat Seattle 3-2 on Tuesday night to move within one game of the slumping Houston Astros for the AL West lead.
Felix Hernandez replaced Paxton in the first relief appearance of his career after 398 starts. The former Cy Young Award winner, who has struggled all year and was demoted to the bullpen last week, allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Paxton suffered a bruise on his left forearm after Lowrie’s line drive popped him in the first inning, and X-rays taken later were negative.
Mike Fiers (8-6) gave up two runs on six hits in six innings with five strikeouts in his second start since being acquired in a trade from Detroit.
Oakland won its fourth straight and improved to 17-6 since the All-Star break. The Astros have been in first since June 14 and led by as many as six games in late July, while the A’s haven’t had a share of first place this late in a season since Aug. 25, 2014.
Robinson Cano returned to Seattle’s lineup after serving an 80-game suspension for using a diuretic that can mask performance-enhancing drugs. The eight-time All-Star batted second and played first base, going 1 for 4.
Four Oakland relievers combined to pitch three scoreless innings. Blake Treinen worked the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 opportunities.
Paxton allowed a home run to Marcus Semien and struck out Matt Chapman before Lowrie lined a 2-1 pitch back up the middle that hit the left-hander. Manager Scott Servais and a trainer rushed from the dugout to check on Paxton, who seemed hesitant to move his left arm, and Hernandez quickly began warming up.
Hernandez (8-11) walked Khris Davis but pitched out of the jam in the first. He ran into trouble in the third after a two-out walk to Chapman. Lowrie followed with his 19th homer this season.
Cameron Maybin homered for Seattle.
Mariners: 2B Dee Gordon was back in the lineup after sitting out the series opener with a bruised right shoulder he suffered sliding into a base in Houston on Sunday.
Seattle RHP Mike Leake (8-7, 4.11 ERA) seeks his first win in three starts against Oakland this season. Leake has five consecutive quality starts. LHP Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.53) is 2-1 since coming off the disabled list.
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