By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — The Seattle Mariners are hoping Robinson Cano avoided a serious injury when he was pulled with tightness in his left hamstring.
If Cano misses one or more games, Taylor Motter made a case that he can keep the offense moving.
Motter replaced Cano and gave Seattle the lead with a two-run single in the eighth inning, lifting the Mariners over the Atlanta Braves 9-6 on Wednesday night.
Cano pulled up approaching second base in the third inning after his second double of the game. The Mariners also lost center fielder Guillermo Heredia, who left in the eighth after being hit on his right forearm by a pitch from Jason Motte in the seventh.
“The initial signs are they’re going to be all right,” said manager Scott Servais.
Servais said Cano had “pretty good strength” in the hamstring when tested. He said Heredia has been hit in the same spot “a couple times the last week or so.”
Motter had two hits, including a double.
“Hopefully Robbie is not out, honestly I hope he is not out too long, but if he is I feel ready,” Motter said. “I feel good in the box and I want to help this team win a wild card.”
Seattle began the day two games out of an AL wild card.
Kyle Seager added a three-run homer in the eighth inning off Dan Winkler.
After blowing a 4-3 lead in the seventh, the Mariners rallied against Jim Johnson (6-3) in the eighth. Motter’s single to center field drove in Jean Segura, who doubled, and Yonder Alonso, who walked.
David Phelps (4-5, 2-1 AL) recorded two outs in the seventh after coming off the disabled list. Edwin Diaz recorded the final four outs — including three strikeouts in the ninth — for his 29th save in 33 chances.
Johnson allowed four runs without recording an out. He was booed when leaving the game.
Johnson has allowed at least one run in four straight outings. Braves manager Brian Snitker said he tried to avoid using overworked relievers Jose Ramirez and Arodys Vizcaino.
“They’ve been working hard in the bullpen,” Snitker said, adding he was “hoping some of that might pay off today and it didn’t.”
Seattle’s Marc Rzepczynski gave up two runs to blow a 4-3 lead in the seventh.
The Mariners had at least one extra-base hit in each of the first five innings as R.A. Dickey gave up four runs and 11 hits in six innings.
Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez gave up three runs in six innings.
Ender Inciarte had four hits for Atlanta. Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with two hits, including a run-scoring single off Nick Vincent in the eighth.
Braves IF Johan Camargo (right knee bone bruise) and 3B Adonis Garcia (left ring finger) could be ready for rehabilitation assignments next week.
SEE THE BALL
Ramirez had two hits off Dickey, including a run-scoring single in the second for his first career hit. He added another single in the fifth to become only the fourth Seattle pitcher with two hits in a game. No Seattle pitcher has had three hits.
“I tried to remember the old times when I was a kid,” Ramirez said. “See it, hit it — and it worked.”
The Braves selected the contract of LHP A.J. Minter, a second-round pick in 2015, from Triple-A Gwinnett. Minter made his major league debut with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts.
Seattle OF Leonys Martin was designated for assignment to clear a spot for Phelps (right elbow impingement).
Mariners: Following an off day on Thursday, the team’s 12-game road trip continues Friday when LHP Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.78) makes his second start against the New York Yankees. He allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision in Mariners’ 6-5 win on July 22 in Seattle.
Braves: After Thursday’s day off, RHP Julio Teheran (7-11, 5.02) will face Colorado on Friday night. Teheran is 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA in eight career starts against the Rockies.
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