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Gray solid as Athletics blank Mariners in playoff tuneup

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The Canadian Press
9/29/2013 7:43:43 PM
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SEATTLE -- Sonny Gray's tuneup for his first stint in the post-season went as Oakland manager Bob Melvin hoped.

But it came with no guarantees that Gray will be in the Athletics' rotation for the AL Division Series against Detroit, at least until it's officially announced.

"You can make your own assumptions," Melvin said. "I really don't want to say anything right now until we have it all decided and that probably happens at some point in time tomorrow."

Grey threw five shutout innings, Oakland had a pair of four-run innings and the Athletics closed out the regular season with a 9-0 win over Seattle in Eric Wedge's final game as Mariners manager.

The A's now turn their attention to the ALDS against Detroit that will begin Friday in Oakland, while Seattle enters the off-season with another managerial search on the docket.

Oakland is likely to start 18-game winner Bartolo Colon in Game 1 and from there they have a multitude of options.

There's Jarrod Parker (12-8), Gray (5-3), Tommy Milone (12-9), Dan Straily (10-8) and A.J. Griffin (14-10) all serving as options that Melvin can use to fill out his rotation for the remainder of the series.

"It would be nice. Hopefully I'm fortunate enough to be able to do that," Gray said. "If my name gets called I'll definitely be ready."

Oakland gave a few of its starters the finale off, while some others made cameos before getting a rest before beginning the post-season. Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes all sat Sunday, while Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Chris Young were lifted early.

"We have a bigger goal right now and that is to go deep in the playoffs and probably didn't want anything freak to happen on a day like today," Donaldson said.

It didn't matter who was hitting against the Mariners. The A's scored four times in the second inning, all charged to Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez, and four more times in the fifth.

Young got Oakland started with a two-run single in the second, followed by RBI doubles by Seth Smith and Moss. Alberto Callaspo had an RBI single in the fifth, followed by an RBI double from Josh Reddick and a two-run single by Daric Barton.

Gray (5-3) gave up a pair of singles in the first inning and walked a pair of batters in the third, but otherwise got through his final regular-season outing without any trouble. Gray struck out eight and gave up three hits. It was the 16th time in the final 19 games of the regular season that Oakland's starter allowed two earned runs of less.

Oakland finished with 96 wins, the most since reaching that total in 2003.

"He doesn't like to give up runs," Melvin said of Gray. "That's a good attribute in a pitcher. He goes out there and he's grinding on it whether it's 8-0 or 1-0. That kind of attitude really plays anywhere and to be able to continually motivate yourself for perfection and you're not always going to get it."

Seattle finished 71-91 and went a 12th straight season without the making the playoffs. More important, they'll now be seeking another manager with Wedge's decision to walk away from the Mariners' messy situation. Wedge announced on Friday he would not return to the club in 2014.

With Ramirez (5-3) and the Mariners' bullpen struggling, most of the attention for Seattle turned to Raul Ibanez and his attempt to become the first player 40 or older to hit 30 homers in a season. Ibanez had been stuck on 29 since homering on Sept. 21, tied with Ted Williams. He grounded out to end the first inning and struck out with the bases loaded in the third -- the only time Seattle threatened against Gray.

Ibanez struck out looking in the sixth inning off reliever Jesse Chavez and popped out to left in the eighth. Ibanez was replaced after going out to the field for the top of the ninth and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

"It was a really special moment and one that I will always remember," Ibanez said. "I'm always going to appreciate the fans here in Seattle for that and obviously for all the years I was here and I'm always going to appreciate Eric Wedge for letting that moment happen."

NOTES: Cespedes didn't play the final two games of the regular season to give his right shoulder extra rest. Oakland believes he'll be ready for the ALDS. ... Wedge said he and his family intend on staying in the Seattle area for now, but that he would like to manage again. ... Jemile Weeks got his first hit of the season with a single in the fifth inning. ... Seattle drew 17,081 for the finale. The Mariners had one sellout in 81 home games.

Sonny Gray (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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