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Paxton, Cruz help Mariners end home skid

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz launched his 300th career homer in a three-hit, five-RBI night and James Paxton made it stand up for the Mariners with a strong seven-inning outing as Seattle topped the A's, 7-2, to snap a four-game losing streak.

Paxton outdueled Oakland's Sean Manaea in a battle of quality left-handers, as the Mariners avoided a ninth straight setback at Safeco Field that would have been their second-longest home losing streak in franchise history.

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SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz launched his 300th career homer in a three-hit, five-RBI night and James Paxton made it stand up for the Mariners with a strong seven-inning outing as Seattle topped the A's, 7-2, to snap a four-game losing streak.

Paxton outdueled Oakland's Sean Manaea in a battle of quality left-handers, as the Mariners avoided a ninth straight setback at Safeco Field that would have been their second-longest home losing streak in franchise history.

View Full Game Coverage

"Paxton was really, really good tonight," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "We saw a different James Paxton in the last two innings. He just went and turned up the dial and that's what top of the rotation starting pitching does."

Video: OAK@SEA: Paxton fans nine over seven innings in win

Marcus Semien's two-run double in the third was the only damage done to Paxton, who allowed just two hits and two runs in improving to 7-3 with a 3.21 ERA. Paxton equaled his season high with nine strikeouts.

Semien finding his timing

Manaea (7-5, 3.76 ERA) countered with seven innings of three-run ball as he gave up eight hits, including Cruz's second RBI single of the game in the third, followed by the go-ahead sacrifice fly by Kyle Seager.

"I'll tell you what, all things considered, he gave us seven innings when it didn't look like he'd give us four, and he really only should have given up one run," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There are times that he looks like he doesn't have his good stuff and he ends up pitching like that. For a young kid, he's come a long way in how he's able to battle and get through tough stretches. He pitched well enough to win that game, for sure."

Video: OAK@SEA: Manaea induces inning-ending double play

Cruz broke the game open with a three-run blast off reliever Liam Hendriks in the eighth, with his five RBIs moving him past Yankees rookie Aaron Judge for the American League lead with 68.

With just their third win in the past 12 games, the Mariners are now 42-46, while the A's saw a three-game win streak end as they dropped to 38-49 with two games remaining before the All-Star break.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Some sizzle on those singles: Cruz has been dealing with a sore right knee for the last few days, but that hasn't kept Seattle's slugger from scorching the ball. The All-Star designated hitter ripped an RBI single in the first with an exit velocity of 116.2 mph, the hardest-hit ball for a hit by a Mariner this year. The previous best was 114 mph by Cruz and Danny Valencia. It was the second-hardest hit ball by Cruz since Statcast™ began measuring in 2015. He added a 108.7 mph RBI single in the third, which was the second-hardest hit ball of the game until his home run, which registered at a healthy 113.7 mph and carried 433 feet.

"It was only fitting that our four-hole hitter carried us tonight," said Servais. "Awesome night by him. He was locked in the whole night. The at-bats were good and the home run late was exactly what the doctor ordered." More >>

Video: OAK@SEA: Cruz notches five RBIs and 300th home run

Cano steals the go-ahead run: After the Mariners tied the game at 2 in the third on Cruz's second RBI single of the game, Robinson Cano scored the go-ahead tally on a bit of an odd sacrifice fly by Seager. With the bases loaded and one out against Manaea, Seager lofted a fly ball to Rajai Davis in center field. Cano faked going home, or at least appeared to be faking. But when Davis held the ball, Cano kept going and turned on the speed enough to slide home for a 3-2 lead before Davis reacted and fired the ball in to catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

"It wasn't a very deep fly ball," Servais said. "He came off the bag and kept his head up. We've talked about keeping your head up and take what's there. If it's not there, don't push the envelope. It was a nice play."

"[Rajai Davis] just thought there were two outs," Melvin said.

Video: OAK@SEA: Seager plates Cano with a sac fly

QUOTABLE

"[He looked] pretty good. He's got a big curveball to go along with a pretty hard four-seamer. He's pretty effective with the breaking ball. He's also got a cutter and a changeup, too. He did pretty well tonight." - Semien on Paxton

"Those last two innings, I just reached back and let it rip. I think it was real important to get this one tonight and hopefully get us on the right track for the next couple days so we can go into the break strong." -- Paxton

WHAT'S NEXT
A's: Chris Smith is making his first Major League start at 36 for the A's 7:10 p.m. PT start. Smith, who has pitched in the big leagues previously as a reliever, is the oldest pitcher to make their first Major League start in A's franchise history at 36 years, 90 days

Mariners: Andrew Moore (1-1, 3.60 ERA) makes his third Major League start in Saturday's 7:10 p.m. PT game against the A's. The 23-year-old right-hander has been impressive in his first two outings and went eight innings with five hits and three runs allowed in his last appearance, but took a 3-1 loss to the Royals.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the A's on Friday.

Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners