Reliever Gearrin may join A’s for meeting with Mariners

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics are making room for even more bullpen reinforcements Saturday night when right-hander Cory Gearrin is expected to join the team in time for its third of four games against the Seattle Mariners.

The A’s exhausted almost all of their most powerful bullpen weapons in a 7-5 win over the Mariners on Friday night that allowed Oakland (81-55) to increase its lead over Seattle (75-60) to 5 1/2 games in the battle for second place in the American League West and second AL wild-card spot.

Oakland’s win also allowed it to move within 1 1/2 games of first-place Houston (82-53), which lost a second straight to the Los Angeles Angels.

After a poor start from Mike Fiers, the A’s used 5 1/3 innings of shutout relief from Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino, Fernando Rodney, Jeurys Familia and Blake Treinen to close out the Mariners in Friday’s win.

Rodney and Familia were added to the Oakland bullpen via in-season trades.

Fiers’ outing was the fifth in the last six games in which the Oakland starter has failed to go five innings. That’s put a heavy burden on the bullpen, and prompted the club to make yet another move for a reliever, picking up Gearrin from the Texas Rangers.

The 32-year-old, who entered 56 games for the San Francisco Giants and Rangers this season, has demonstrated a relief versatility this year, having pitched everywhere from the fourth to 11th innings.

The A’s figure to need all bullpen hands on deck again when right-hander Daniel Mengden (6-6, 4.28) makes his first start since going two innings on June 23.

Mengden will be filling in for left-hander Brett Anderson, who suffered a shoulder injury in his last start.

The 25-year-old has not seen the Mariners this season and has never beaten them, going 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in two career starts.

The Mariners will get back their top pitcher, left-hander James Paxton (10-5, 3.68), for the critical game.

Paxton had to go on the disabled list after getting hit on the left forearm by a line drive off the bat of Oakland’s Jed Lowrie in the clubs’ Aug. 14 meeting in Oakland. The 29-year-old had to leave that game after facing just three hitters.

Paxton was eligible to be reinstated from the disabled list last weekend, but has only now been deemed ready to return for one of just five remaining games the Mariners have against the A’s.

“We certainly need him in the worst way,” Mariners manager Scott Servais assured. “Bullpens and everything have been really good. He should be 100 percent ready to go.”

Paxton’s start earlier this month in Oakland was his second against the A’s this season. He shut out the A’s for seven innings, striking out 16, in what turned into a 3-2 loss in Seattle on May 2.

Mark Canha’s homer off Mariners closer Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning decided that game.

Paxton has never lost to the A’s, going 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA in eight career starts.

He’s 1-0 with a 4.94 ERA in five career starts in Oakland.