SEATTLE -- With his team mired in a tough stretch, Oakland manager Bob Melvin was worried about missed opportunities -- especially when a pitch in the dirt with the bases loaded in the 10th inning didn't scoot far enough to get a runner home.
"I think the umpire blocked one pitch for us that might have been a run," Melvin said. "So now you're thinking, `My god, how many things can go wrong for us?"
It went right for the A's in the end, as Jed Lowrie drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th to force in the tiebreaking run and lift the Athletics to a 3-2 victory Saturday night.
The Athletics had lost three in a row and five out of six, but this win kept Oakland a half-game ahead of Kansas City for the American League's first wild card. The Mariners dropped a game behind the Royals for the league's second wild card.
Rodney (1-6) came on in the 10th and walked Coco Crisp to open the inning. 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 Lowrie on four pitches to force in the go-ahead run.
"I'm not going up there looking for a walk," Lowrie said. "I'm looking for a good pitch to hit, and I never got it."
"That was awesome," Doolittle said. "I haven't had an adrenaline rush like that in a really long time. Such an emotional game."
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.
Felix Hernandez gave up two runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings for Seattle. 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."
Oakland starter Sonny Gray allowed two runs and five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings.
"Sonny was terrific," Melvin said. "For me, the only pitch he maybe takes back is the changeup to Cano. Other than that, boy, he really went through a lineup. And you're dealing with Felix on top of it. You can't help but know you can't give up too many runs."
The game drew 43,913 for Seattle's first sellout since its home opener.
"It was a playoff-style atmosphere," Doolittle said. "Their fans were great. It was really loud all night long, and I think that's part of the reason why it was such a big win for us. On the road, in that atmosphere, Felix on the mound -- it's a huge, huge team win for us."
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.