SEATTLE — Even after Seattle Mariners closer Fernando Rodney walked in the tiebreaking run in the 10th inning, his manager didn't seem upset with the outing.
"His command was a little off, but his stuff was great," manager Lloyd McClendon said after Rodney walked four batters in the 10th as the Mariners lost 3-2 to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
McClendon seemed to be downplaying Rodney's performance. Rodney (1-6) leads the majors with 45 saves, but 22 of his 32 pitches against the A's missed the strike zone.
He came on to start the inning and walked Coco Crisp. After Crisp advanced to second on a sacrifice, Rodney intentionally walked Josh Donaldson and then Alberto Callaspo drew another walk to load the bases.
"It was tough to find the strike zone," Rodney said.
Rodney struck out Brandon Moss looking before walking Jed Lowrie on four pitches to force in the go-ahead run.
"He missed a couple pitches, we got crossed on a few changing signs around, but I thought for the most part he threw the ball well," catcher Mike Zunino said. "It was tough luck he missed the strike zone a little bit."
Rodney's wild 10th disappointed the crowd of 43,913 — Seattle's first sellout since its home opener. The Mariners dropped a game behind the Kansas City for the American League's second wild card.
Oakland's Luke Gregerson (5-4) pitched a perfect ninth to earn the win, and Sean Doolittle, reinstated from the disabled list one day earlier, pitched the 10th for his 21st save as Oakland remained a half-game ahead of the Royals for the league's first wild card.
Seattle's Felix Hernandez gave up two runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. It marked the seventh time this season he's pitched at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer without a decision.
"It was a tough loss for us," Hernandez said. "We need that one. Real tough, that's all I can say."
Hernandez cruised through the first five innings before Donaldson hit his team-leading 27th home run in the sixth inning to tie the score at 1-1. Oakland took the lead in the seventh when Josh Reddick doubled with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Eric Sogard's two-out single.
Sogard, who had three hits, stole second and moved to third on another wild pitch, but Hernandez struck out Crisp to end the inning.
Seattle's Robinson Cano tied the score at 2-all with a solo home run, his 14th, in the bottom of the inning.
Oakland starter Sonny Gray allowed two runs and five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the third when James Jones tripled and scored on Chris Taylor's single up the middle.
"Every game from now on you lose is going to mean a lot," Cano said. "Every game counts. You want to stay in the race, you have to win games."
Athletics: C Geovany Soto, who left Friday's game with back spasms, will hopefully be able to return after Oakland's day off Monday, manager Bob Melvin said. ... OF Craig Gentry, who has not played since suffering a concussion on Tuesday, felt dizzy after riding a stationary bike on Friday but did not feel dizziness after riding on Saturday. "Hopefully we're on the right path with him," Melvin said.
Mariners: OF Dustin Ackley was out of the lineup again with soreness in his foot and ankle. Ackley played Friday after sitting out four games, and Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said he's day-to-day.
Athletics: Jon Lester (14-10) is 8-3 with a 1.79 in 16 starts since June 12, the second-best ERA in the American League in that time.
Mariners: Chris Young (12-7) will try to set a new career high for wins in the series finale with Oakland. He's 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA in six appearances against the A's this season.