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Mariners comeback attempt falls short in 4-3 loss

Mariners comeback attempt falls short in 4-3 loss
Mariners starting pitcher Brandon Maurer, right, gets a pat from pitching coach Carl Willis as they talk after Maurer gave up a home run to the Athletics on Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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SEATTLE (AP) — Mariners manager Eric Wedge was pleased with the way his team kept pushing for a comeback Saturday night.

He was less happy with the result.

Seattle stranded runners in scoring position in each of the final three innings while trailing by a run.

The Mariners' final rally attempt in the ninth inning ended when Kyle Seager grounded out to second with runners on first and second, and the Oakland Athletics held on for a 4-3 win Saturday night.

"So many opportunities there at the end," Wedge said. "A few guys stepped up, a few guys didn't, but I loved the fight."

Josh Donaldson, Daric Barton and Brandon Moss hit solo home runs and Jarrod Parker (2-5) pitched into the seventh as Oakland snapped a five-game losing streak.

Parker didn't give up a hit until Kelly Shoppach's two-out, two-run homer in the fifth inning.

The Mariners were hoping starter Brandon Maurer (2-5) would benefit from 10 days rest — his spot in the rotation was skipped after he gave up four runs in four innings against Baltimore on April 30 — but the rookie had another tough outing, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings.

He said the long layoff might have caused him to rush things.

"I think the adrenaline gets me working a little quick," Maurer said. "I think I felt that, not throwing for a while then coming out tonight being a little revved up."

Maurer gave up Donaldson's homer, his fifth, in the second.

Maurer walked Derek Norris and Eric Sogard — the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters — on eight straight pitches. Second baseman Dustin Ackley ranged to his left and made a diving stop of John Jaso's grounder in the hole to end the inning.

Barton added his first homer of the year in the fourth inning to make it 2-0, and the Athletics added another in the fifth as Seth Smith doubled and scored on Jed Lowrie's RBI single.

"He made it hard for himself," Wedge said. "He did bend, but he didn't break."

Maurer left after five innings, and reliever Charlie Furbush gave up a homer to Moss in the sixth to push Oakland's lead to 4-2.

The Mariners' offense could only muster a few walks until Shoppach's homer to right field with two outs and a man on in the fifth. Seattle's offense did better in the late innings, but couldn't break through.

Justin Smoak and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back one-out singles off Parker in the seventh, who was relieved by Sean Doolittle. Ackley then followed with another single to score Smoak.

"I took off on contact and before I got to third I saw him waving me in," Smoak said of his third base coach. "I hit third and looked up and I was already past stopping, there was no way I was slowing down."

Shoppach struck out and pinch-hitter Jason Bay grounded out to end the inning.

In the eighth, the Mariners loaded the bases with two outs on singles by Michael Saunders and Kendrys Morales, and a walk by Smoak. Endy Chavez, who had come on as a pinch runner for Ibanez in the seventh, struck out to end the rally.

Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

"If we keep having good at-bats, getting guys on base, things can change with one swing of the bat," Smoak said. "We all know that."

NOTES: Oakland OF Chris Young (strained left quadriceps) will start a rehab assignment Monday at extended spring training in Arizona, and manager Bob Melvin said he hopes Young will be activated from the DL on Wednesday. ... Ibanez started in LF for Seattle for the second straight game. Manager Eric Wedge said he's trying to help the veteran get comfortable at the plate, although Jason Bay will likely start Sunday. Ibanez was 1 for 3. ... The Mariners are 1-12 when their starting pitcher doesn't complete the sixth inning and 0-17 when trailing after seven innings.
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