SEATTLE – Daric Barton homered in his first two at-bats, including a grand slam just inside the right-field foul pole, and Trevor Cahill pitched seven sharp innings for his 18th victory to lead the Oakland Athletics over the Seattle Mariners 9-0 on Friday night.
Barton cracked a solo homer in the first, beginning a miserable outing for Seattle starter Luke French. An inning later, Barton jumped on French for his first career slam. Barton struck out in the fourth and doubled in the sixth before leaving the game.
Cahill (18-8) finished the season with career bests in wins, innings, ERA and strikeouts. His 18 victories are tied for fourth-most in the American League and he lowered his ERA to 2.97.
Seattle was handed its 99th loss and must win its final two games to avoid dropping 100 for the second time in three years. But with the defeat, the Mariners assured themselves of having the second overall pick in next June's amateur draft.
Barton made sure of that early.
With just eight homers entering Friday, Barton jumped on a 3-2 pitch from French in the first, driving it deep into the right-field seats. An inning later, French had already allowed two runs to score and received a visit from pitching coach Carl Willis when Barton hit a 1-2 fastball for just the second grand slam of the season by the A's.
Barton's slam came after an RBI infield single by Cliff Pennington and a bases-loaded walk to Rajai Davis.
Barton added an RBI double to left-center in the sixth off reliever Chris Seddon, adding to his career-best night. Barton was replaced on defense by Jeff Larish in the seventh and didn't get a chance to boost his totals.
The A's announced Barton left the game with a tight right quadriceps. Still, he finished with the most RBIs in a game by an Oakland player this year.
Mark Ellis added an RBI single in the fourth off French (5-7), but Pennington was the only Oakland player other than Barton to have more than one hit. French allowed eight hits and eight earned runs in four innings, the worst of his 13 starts for the Mariners.
Cahill threw 96 pitches through seven innings, mowing through Seattle's meager lineup that featured a number of regulars. He struck out the side looking in the second inning, part of his six strikeouts on the night.
Cahill made just one start in April, spending most of the first month with Triple-A Sacramento. He's the first American League pitcher 22 or younger to win 18 or more games since Bret Saberhagen won 20 games as a 21-year-old for the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
Cahill allowed just five hits — all singles — walked two and only once, in the seventh, did Seattle get a runner to third base. About the only positive offensively for the Mariners was first baseman Justin Smoak extending his hitting streak to eight games, the longest run of his young career.
NOTES: Seattle interim manager Daren Brown said RHP David Aardsma and 1B-DH Russell Branyan would not play in any of the final three games. Brown also said it's unlikely INF Jose Lopez would do anything more than pinch run. ... Ichiro Suzuki (player of the year), Felix Hernandez (pitcher of the year) and Jason Vargas (unsung player of the year) were honored by the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America before the game. ... Oakland needs wins in the final two games to avoid a fourth straight losing season.