Athletics

A's swept by Mariners in two-game home series

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AP

A's swept by Mariners in two-game home series

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Nelson Cruz homered twice, Kyle Seager also went deep and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Wednesday to complete a two-game sweep.

Robinson Cano had two hits and scored twice while Ben Gamel singled and made another sparkling defensive play to help Seattle to its fourth win in five games.

The Mariners, who entered the day tied with Kansas City and Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card, finished 6-3 on their road trip.

Cruz hit a two-run homer in the third, his 25th, then added his 26th in the fifth. It's the second multi-homer game in four days for the Mariners slugger, who has 22 RBIs in 13 games against the A's this season.

Seager homered in the first inning after Jean Segura and Cano singled.

All three home runs came off Oakland starter Jharel Cotton (5-9).

Khris Davis hit his 31st home run and Matt Joyce also homered for the A's, one day after returning to the lineup following a two-game suspension for using an anti-gay slur.

Emilion Pagan (1-2) pitched one-hit ball over 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Yovani Gallardo to earn his first career win.

Edwin Diaz retired three batters for his 25th save.

Gallardo was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning after allowing three runs and six hits.

The Mariners, who went into the day with 67 errors, made two defensive gems.

Gamel made a leaping catch while crashing into the left-field wall to rob Marcus Semien of a hit in the fourth inning, the latest in a string a stellar plays from the rookie outfielder. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson also made a leaping catch near the wall in center in the first inning.

Cotton, winless since June 23, allowed six runs and eight hits over six innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: RHP Bobb Wahl will see a shoulder specialist in Dallas on Friday. Wahl has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a strained pitching shoulder. He had been attempting a comeback on a rehab assignment but was shut down after experiencing soreness.

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (12-3, 2.70 ERA) pitches in the opener of a four-game series against the Angels on Friday night in Seattle. Paxton leads the AL and is tied for second in the majors with 113 wild pitches.

Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-1, 4.82) faces Baltimore on Thursday night. The 36-year-old is seeking his first career win as a starter.

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

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USATI

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

Don’t count out top prospect Franklin Barreto as a possibility for the A’s in center field.

It’s long been speculated that the middle infielder might eventually get a look in center, and the idea has at least been discussed in team circles. It’s tied partially to whether the A’s exercise their $6 million club option on Jed Lowrie and bring him back as their regular second baseman in 2018.

Regardless, the battle to be Oakland’s everyday center fielder will be one of the A’s most intriguing storylines next spring. Grady Fuson, a special assistant to general manager David Forst who spends much of the season evaluating the team’s farm system, discussed several of the team’s center field options in the latest A’s Insider Podcast.

So much revolves around the health of 22-year-old Dustin Fowler, one of three prospects the A’s received from the Yankees for Sonny Gray. He’ll spend the winter continuing to rehab from a devastating knee injury suffered in his very first major league game in June while still with New York.

The A’s are hopeful he’ll be ready for spring training and believe he can be a solution in center.

“Fowler certainly is the guy we made this trade for, and I think everybody, top to bottom, in the system is counting on him taking that spot,” Fuson said. “But we all know he’s been hurt. How he comes back, who knows? Boog (Powell’s) been doing a very good job for us. And there’s other options.”

The 21-year-old Barreto, who has split time between second and short this season at Triple-A and with the big club, played some center in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2015. He’s always talked with enthusiasm about the idea.

The A’s experimented with another highly touted young infielder, Yairo Munoz, in center field in the minors this season.

“(We’ve) had discussions about taking Munoz out there, which we’ve done,” Fuson said. “We’ve had discussions about maybe Franklin Barreto, depending on what happens at second here at end of the year, over the winter, and early in camp.”

Lowrie has enjoyed a very strong season with Oakland, and A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has said the team is seriously considering picking up his option. Having Barreto be an option in center could be a way to keep him in the majors in 2018 even if Lowrie returns at second base.

Fuson stressed that the idea of Barreto in center hasn’t advanced past the early-discussion phase. No decisions have been made.

What’s interesting is that, in a short time, the A’s have gone from scarce few center field options to suddenly having several. Powell and Fowler may enter the spring as front runners, but Munoz, Jaycob Brugman, Chad Pinder, Jake Smolinski and, perhaps, Barreto may all have a shot too.

The A’s also used their first-round pick in June on high school center fielder Austin Beck, who represents another option down the road.

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

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USATSI

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell has a history with foul tips and concussion concerns, so there was cause for concern after he took a direct shot during Wednesday's game against the Tigers.

With one out in the ninth inning, Tigers shortstop fouled a ball square into Maxwell's facemask. The A's catcher immediately fell backwards. As manager Bob Melvin and the team trainer checked on him, he appeared dazed and rubbed his eyes. In an attempt to try to stay in the game, reliever Liam Hendriks tossed two warmup pitches. Maxwell missed the first one, but even after he caught the second one, it was clear he wasn't right and was removed from the game.

Afterwards, Melvin was asked about Maxwell's status.

"He went through all the protocol. It doesn't look like a concussion at this point. We'll probably know more in the next couple of days," Melvin told reporters in Detroit. "Took a pretty good shot. More sore on his face because of where the impact was, which was right in the middle of his face."

Josh Phegley replaced Maxwell for the final two outs of the game. Hendriks managed to close out the 3-2 win for the A's.