OAKLAND — James Paxton pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and the Seattle Mariners held off a late rally by Oakland for a 6-5 win Tuesday night, handing the Athletics their fifth loss in six games.
Paxton (5-1) gave up three hits through the seventh. Ahead 6-0, he got chased in Oakland’s three-run eighth, and the A’s nearly got even in a harried ninth.
Seattle closer Fernando Rodney took over with a 6-3 lead and retired the first two batters. He then gave up consecutive doubles to Derek Norris and pinch-hitters Brandon Moss and Sam Fuld before retiring Josh Reddick on a grounder for his 40th save.
The A’s remained 4 1/2 games back of the first-place Angels, who lost at Houston. Seattle is third in the AL wild-card standings.
The rubber game Wednesday afternoon between the division rivals and playoff contenders has the makings of quite a pitcher’s duel. In a matchup of 13-game winners, Seattle ace Felix Hernandez faces Jon Lester.
Sonny Gray (13-8) gave up six runs and seven hits in five innings. He is 1-5 in seven outings since his 5-0 July earned him the AL Pitcher of the Month award.
Gray came in 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in his first five starts against the Mariners.
A day after hitting a home run in his first at-bat since joining the A’s, Adam Dunn had an RBI single as a pinch-hitter in the eighth to put Oakland on the board. Craig Gentry added a two-run double for his third hit.