OAKLAND -- The A's simply don't lose, or so it seems these days, but a 2-0 defeat to the Mariners in 12 innings on Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum hardly shook them.
Their steadfast approach has guided them this far, which is why there's no reason to magnify any one win or loss.
Oakland's latest affair didn't feature a run until the 12th inning, when reliever Yusmeiro Petit surrendered a two-run homer to Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon following a one-out walk to Mike Zunino. The A's went quietly in the home half, finishing 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight to fall shy of a three-game sweep.
Yet the A's still maintain a 2 1/2-game lead on the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot after snapping a four-game winning streak. They are also just two games behind the first-place Astros for the division lead -- following Houston's rout of the Rockies later on Wednesday -- as they prepare to welcome them to the Coliseum on Friday.
"We can only control what we can control," A's first baseman Matt Olson said. "We won two games against a good team, and we missed a couple opportunities today, but we come back Friday against the Astros ready to roll.
"We're obviously aware of the situation, but we try to approach each day the same. It's still early to be looking at numbers and things like that, but just come here every day. We enjoy each other in the clubhouse, we go out and play hard. That's what we do every day."
The big hit eluded a team that's come up with so many in the late innings this year, nullifying a superb effort from starter Brett Anderson. The lefty engaged in a going-out-of-style pitchers' duel with right-hander Mike Leake -- the latter just barely outlasting the A's southpaw with eight scoreless frames.
Anderson put forth his longest outing since Oct. 1, 2015, needing just 83 pitches to work 7 2/3 innings, which prompted a healthy ovation for the lefty after he yielded a two-out single to Guillermo Heredia in the eighth that triggered his departure.
"You see what the other guy is doing on the other side, you go out and try to throw up a zero and match him," Anderson said. "You just want to try to fall in line with the other starters and give us a chance to win. Unfortunately, it didn't work out today, but we've all been kind of feeding off each other lately where you don't want to be the weak link."
The veteran pitcher has quietly produced pristine results this month, holding opponents to a pair of earned runs across 19 2/3 innings. Twice in three August starts, he's completed at least seven innings after coming up short in each of his previous eight outings, to continue an encouraging trend from a rotation that, not too long ago, was more or less a mess. A's starters have a 1.84 ERA in their past 14 games.
Anderson yielded just five hits, including two in the opening frame ahead of Nelson Cruz's inning-ending double play, and he didn't walk a batter, fanning two and inducing 15 ground-ball outs.
"That's as good as he's pitched," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You saw a lot of balls on the ground, you saw a lot of weak contact. To expect him to get us that deep in the game was probably a stretch, but he just kept performing well to the point where he deserved to go back out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Olson missed a home run by a few feet and settled on a one-out double off the right-field wall against Mariners lefty Zach Duke with one out in the 10th. That's when Seattle turned to right-hander Nick Vincent, who struck out Stephen Piscotty and issued an intentional walk to Marcus Semien, bringing Ramon Laureano to the plate. The rookie whiffed, and the A's would strand two more in the 11th when Khris Davis went down swinging.
Matt Chapman extended his on-base streak to 29 games with a fourth-inning walk, then lengthened his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games with a double in the sixth.
HE SAID IT
"We knew Seattle was coming, and we know Houston is coming after, but we take each game individually. If you're looking at the schedule, you know this is an important time. Every game we go out and play, they're ready to play. They're confident, and they play hard. We play at the same pace every game, and it wears on the other team. There's never really any letdown from our club." -- Melvin
The A's will enjoy an off-day Thursday before embarking on 20 games in 20 days, beginning with a crucial three-game set against the visiting Astros. Right-hander Edwin Jackson (4-2, 2.48 ERA) will be on the mound for Friday's 7:05 p.m. PT opener at the Coliseum, while Houston counters with righty Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.88 ERA).