SPORTS

Playoff contenders chase: Mariners stay alive

09/28/2014 02:40 EDT | Updated 11/27/2014 05:59 EST
Austin Jackson had a shot at redemption and made enough contact to keep the Seattle Mariners in the American League wild-card race.

The centre-fielder hit into a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the 11th inning Saturday night against Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano, beating a double-play relay that scored Brad Miller from third base with the decisive run in a 2-1 victory.

Seattle’s win, coupled with Oakland’s 5-4 loss to the Rangers in Texas, moved the Mariners to within one game of the Athletics for the second wild-card spot with one day left in the regular season.

Seattle would force a one-game playoff at home on Monday should it defeat the Angels and Oakland loses in Texas on Sunday.

The Mariners will have ace pitcher Felix Hernandez on the mound for the 4:10 p.m. ET start in Anaheim, Calif.

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The 14-game winner will be further motivated by the fact he has a chance to win the league’s earned-run average title after Major League Baseball made a scoring tweak from his previous start that has lowered his ERA from 2.34 to 2.18. Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox leads the AL with a 2.17 ERA.

- CLINCHED DIVISION: Orioles, Angels, Nationals, Dodgers

- IN PLAYOFFS: Tigers, Cardinals, Pirates, Giants, Royals

- WILD CARD HOLDERS: A’s

- STILL ALIVE: Seattle

Meanwhile, Jackson had a chance to end matters in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday but Angels reliever Jason Grilli got the former Detroit Tigers outfielder to line out to right field with the bases loaded.

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In Texas, Oakland starter Jeff Samardzija allowed five runs, including two homers, in his seven innings of work.

The A’s needed to win or have Seattle lose in order to clinch a playoff slot for the third straight year.

Samardzija, a trade deadline pickup from the Chicago Cubs, faced spot starter Scott Baker after Derek Holland was a late scratch with a migraine headache.

Neftali Felix, the Rangers’ eighth pitcher of the evening, recorded his 13th save of the season as Texas defeated Oakland for the fifth time in six games since last week.

Jake Smolinski and Robinson Chirinos went deep against Samardzija, who entered the game having gone 23 consecutive innings without surrendering an earned run.

Sonny Gray (13-10, 3.21 ERA) will take the mound for Oakland on Sunday against Texas rookie Nick Martinez (5-11, 4.61) at 3:05 p.m. ET.

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