SEATTLE (AP) — George Kottaras and Brett Anderson are making the most of their second chances, keeping the surprising Oakland Athletics in the playoff chase.
Kottaras homered for the second straight game and Anderson won his fourth straight start since recovering from Tommy John surgery as they helped the A's beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1 Saturday night.
Anderson (4-0), who had surgery on his left elbow 14 months ago, allowed one unearned run and six hits while striking out four in six innings. He lowered his ERA to 0.69. He has 19 strikeouts in his four starts.
"I think it's been more than we could ever expect," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Anderson's recovery. "To sit here and say he's 4-0 at this point coming off that is pretty terrific."
Kottaras, acquired July 29 in a trade with Milwaukee, has had an offensive revival with the A's. He has had 16 RBI in his 13 games with Oakland — 13 in the last five games. With the Brewers, he drove in just 12 runs in 58 games.
With the score tied 1-1, Yoenis Cespedes opened Oakland's fourth with a double into the left-field corner. With one out, he stole third on a 1-0 pitch to Stephen Drew, who followed with a RBI single against the drawn-in infield. The ball just tipped off the glove of second baseman Dustin Ackley.
Kottaras then hit a 1-1 slider from Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4) for a two-run, line shot into the right-field seats to make it 4-1. It was his fifth home run of the season, and came one day after he had a three-run shot in the same inning Friday during the A's 6-1 victory. It was the first time he hit a home run in back-to-back games.
"He's been pretty amazing," Melvin said. "You look at his average (.222) then you look at his home run numbers and RBIs. It seems like every home run he has hit for us has been a big home run. And tonight's home run really had the same affect as last night's home run."
Both home runs gave the needed room for the A's starters to work. He hit his three-run home run Friday off Felix Hernandez. He hit his two-run shot off Iwakuma, who was 5-1 with a 1.57 ERA in his last seven starts. He was 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in five August starts.
"Iwakuma has been pitching lights out," Melvin said. "He's been giving up two runs or less just about every game so he's been on a roll. For us to score some runs early again off of him was pretty impressive as it was off Felix."
Iwakuma, who worked 3 2-3 innings, allowing four earned runs and six hits, said through an interpreter that the slider Kottaras hit "was kind of a cookie, kind of easy to get a home run. I need to concentrate on that pitch."
Coco Crisp had a run-scoring double after Kottaras' homer that gave Oakland a 5-1 lead.
The A's kept pace in the AL West with the Texas Rangers, who beat Tampa Bay 4-2. Oakland trails the Rangers by 4½ games and are in a virtual tie with the Yankees and Orioles atop the wild-card race.