Chris Bassitt shines, and Mark Canha hits a walk-off in A’s win

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Chris Bassitt has the look of a pitcher that’s ready to start the postseason.

And through nine innings Friday, Oakland A’s hitters looked like they could use some more time to get up to speed.

But trailing by one in the 10th inning, Ramon Laureano doubled to score Nate Orf from third base. Mark Canha then followed that with a home run to right to give the A’s a wild 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners at the Coliseum.

The A’s had Orf at second base to start the 10th, and advanced him to third with a Tommy La Stella deep fly ball. Then Laureano roped a double to left field to score Orf and tie the game.

In the top of the 10th, with Evan White at the plate, Jake Diekman’s fastball got past catcher Sean Murphy, allowing Dee Strange-Gordon to score from third base for the game’s first run.

But Canha’s homer gave the A’s their sixth extra inning victory this season, and it also marked the 200th all-time regular season walk-off home run in Athletics franchise history.

After eight innings, the A’s were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and had left nine runners on base. In the eighth, the A’s had runners on second and third with two outs but a Jonah Heim liner was tracked down by Tim Lopes near the wall in left field.

Even though he ended up with a no-decision, Bassitt’s effort Friday — needing just 81 pitches to get through a season-high seven innings — wrapped up a stellar regular season.

Bassitt (5-2) retired 14 straight batters from the first to the sixth inning. The Mariners then put runners on first and second with one out, but Bassitt got Kyle Lewis to strike out and Kyle Seager to pop out.

Bassitt has been performing at a high level all month.

Entering Friday, he had not allowed a run in two of his last three starts and was 3-0 in that time with a 0.46 ERA. It was the first time he had won three games in one month in his career, and now it would appear he has a chance to be the American League’s Pitcher of the Month for September.

In other words, the perfect way for him to enter the postseason.

Bassitt, in his fifth season with the A’s, has never pitched in a big league playoff game. But if he stays on normal rest, he’ll pitch in Game 2 of the A’s first round series in Oakland against a to-be-determined opponents.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said earlier Friday that he has finalized who his starters for the playoffs, adding that who starts for Oakland would depend somewhat on who the A’s face in the first round.

The A’s entered Friday with the third best record in the American League. If they stayed as the No.3 seed, they would likely face the Houston Astros in the best-of-three first round.

However, there’s also a chance the A’s could finish first or second in the AL and face either the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox or the Minnesota Twins. All one of those teams would figure to more formidable than the Astros, who lost to the Texas Rangers on Friday to fall to 29-29.

Regardless of who the A’s face, their bats need to wake up.

Before Friday, the A’s were hitting ,218 in 22 games this month, After hitting 42 home runs with 133 RBIs in 27 games in August, Oakland came into its series with the Mariners with 20 homers and 95 RBI this month.

“A lot of indecision,” A’s hitting coach Darren Bush said Friday afternoon of the struggles at the plate. “Guys want to have success and are being a little indecisive and passive, which makes you miss pitches. Then you try to get a little aggressive by expanding the zone and miss pitches you should hit. Just a little indecision going on.

“The guys are up there fighting and battling and will continue to.”

Coming into the series, the A’s had been held to six hits or fewer in 10 of their last 11 games and were batting .194 (66-for-341) in that span. As a team, Oakland was hitting .222 for the season — fifth lowest in the majors. As a franchise, the A’s have hit under .232 just once (.223 in 1908).

Against the Mariners, the A’s also didn’t do themselves any favors on the basepaths. Marcus Semien was tagged out trying to advance to third base with one out in the third, and Robbie Grossman was picked off at first base for the second out of the seventh inning.

“We just talk about picking a zone and staying in that zone to look for the pitch you want to hit instead of going up there trying to find the baseball,” Bush said. “Get up there, have a plan and stick to your plan. Fight to get that pitch.”


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