OAKLAND -- The A's raced out to a spacious lead on Monday night, needing every bit of oomph from their offense -- and Blake Treinen -- to stave off the pesky Mariners.
Jed Lowrie and Matt Chapman combined for six hits and six RBIs behind a stellar Sean Manaea, and yet it almost all went for naught when their typically steady bullpen coughed up four runs.
Enter Treinen, who came on with no outs and the bases loaded in the ninth and stranded a pair of runners for his 31st save, as the A's held on for a 7-6 win to create some breathing room in the American League Wild Card race, at least for 24 hours.
"No lead is big enough, especially this time of year," Chapman said. "We fought just as much as them till the last out, and I was glad we were able to come away with the win today, but we know what they are capable of, and we just gotta keep grinding."
Oakland has a 2 1/2-game lead over Seattle for the second American League Wild Card spot, with two games to play in this pivotal series. Also in play is an AL West title, as the A's 37th win in 49 tries since June 16 has them within two games of the first-place Astros.
They sat 11 1/2 games 50 games ago.
"Sometimes you see peaks and valleys throughout the season," Treinen said. "Our valley was the beginning of the season, so it's hard to see from a fan standpoint how you'd come out of it. But we've taken it one game at a time, and our guys have hit their groove. We just have to put our heads down and not worry about who's going to win the division, who's going to win the Wild Card and focus on one game at a time."
There was much to unwrap in this one. While Manaea swiftly strung together 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball with just five hits allowed, the A's were relentless at the plate, tagging lefty starter Marco Gonzales for four runs on eight hits in five innings before working right-hander Casey Lawrence for 42 pitches in a three-run sixth.
Credit Chapman, who extended his on-base streak to 27 games, for igniting the attack. The A's third baseman, also a dazzler on defense yet again, hit the first of his three doubles in the first inning, scoring on Lowrie's RBI single. Chapman picked up his second two-bagger in his next at-bat, setting the stage for yet another run-scoring hit from Lowrie. The infield duo teamed up for back-to-back RBI doubles in the sixth for a 7-1 lead.
"Since he's been in that two-hole, he's really taken off," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Chapman. "He's getting more comfortable with the league, understands how they're pitching him, playing with a lot of confidence, both defensively and offensively. It's a really good spot for him, the two-spot."
Added Treinen: "He's on some kind of streak right now. I think we're all just playing loose and having fun."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After the Mariners sprung for two runs in the eighth under the watch of Emilio Pagan, they were back for more in the ninth, using a patient approach against Jeurys Familia to draw three consecutive walks and force Treinen into the game. Treinen struck out pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann on three pitches, uncorked a wild pitch to score a run and gave up a two-run single to Mitch Haniger to make it a one-run game. But Treinen buckled down, fanning Cameron Maybin and responding to Jean Segura's infield single with a game-ending strikeout of Nelson Cruz.
"We've done that a few times before, but the other end of it doesn't feel so great," Melvin said of hanging on during a dramatic ninth. "But when you have Blake Treinen and what he's done, you're confident. Haniger's just been a pain in everybody's side to this point."
The A's remain the only team in MLB that is undefeated when leading after seven innings, improving to 49-0.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Chapman thrills on the regular, so perhaps his diving stop in the fourth appeared routine. It was still worth watching again. The stud defender clobbered a grounder off the bat of Segura with one out in the inning, diving and rebounding for the throw to first to take a hit away and keep Haniger at second base.
"Unbelievable," a visibly exuberant Manaea said. "I don't even know what I was saying. I was just screaming gibberish. It shouldn't come as a surprise to me, but that play was huge. It was incredible."
HE SAID IT
"I was trying to run faster than I think I'm capable of running. I don't think I picked my legs up very much, and I just started to trip. I was about to eat it. I was planning on sliding right on top of the bag because I knew it would be a close play, but I was starting to fall, and I couldn't even get my hands out in time. I didn't even realize it because it all happened so fast, but when I looked at the videoboard replay, I was like, oh my God, I can't believe I just looked like that." -- Chapman, who belly flopped as he slid into second for his second double
Right-hander Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.40 ERA) will make his second start with the A's on Tuesday in the second game of this three-game series, while the Mariners counter with lefty James Paxton (10-5, 3.63) in the 7:05 p.m. PT matchup at the Coliseum. Fiers allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday in his debut with Oakland.