Brad Miller, who threw out the potential winning run in the 10th inning, drives in Logan Morrison with the go-ahead run with a top of the 11th to help snap a three-game losing streak.

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OAKLAND, Calif. — The idea of a must-win situation in the fifth game of the season is laughable, considering so much can and will happen in the remaining 157 games.

But having lost three straight and being pasted and shut out on Friday night, 12-0, and letting Saturday’s game slip away would have been a kick to the stomach for the Mariners.

Seattle got a solid start from J.A. Happ and rallied from a one-run deficit to take a 4-2 lead on Nelson Cruz’s first homer — a majestic three-run blast to left. And still the team was looking at a possible fourth straight loss.


Mariners @ Oakland, 1:05 p.m., ROOT Sports

Brad Miller made sure that didn’t happen.

He helped the Mariners stave off certain defeat with a brilliant defensive play in the bottom of the 10th inning and then drove in the winning run in the top of the 11th in Seattle’s 5-4 win at Coliseum.

“He gets the star today,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He performed extremely well for us on all fronts.”

Logan Morrison bounced a sharp ground ball up the middle to start the inning off lefty reliever Fernando Abad. Dustin Ackley advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Miller scored him with a double into the left-field corner.

“He’s tough,” Miller said of Abad. “He left a slider out the other way, and I just tried to stay on it.”

But that was his second-most impressive play of the game. Because without his defensive play in the 10th, he has no chance to get that hit.

Ben Zobrist led off the bottom of the 10th with a single through the right side off reliever Tyler Olson. Two batters later, Ike Davis ripped a one-out double off the wall in deep left-center. Austin Jackson fielded the ball with his bare hand and fired quickly to Miller in mid-outfield. Miller fielded the short hop and showed off his above-average arm, firing to home.

“I knew we had a chance,” catcher Mike Zunino said. “I knew Miller would put a good throw on it. The biggest thing is just giving me a hop I can handle.”

The throw hit the dirt about five feet in front of the plate, and Zunino fielded the ball off the hop by his hip and then quickly tagged Zobrist out at the plate.

“God knows we worked on that relay stuff enough in spring training,” McClendon said. “It was a great throw and great pick by Zunino.”

The A’s loaded the bases with two outs against Olson, but the rookie got Marcus Semien to bounce into a force play to end the inning and set up Miller’s heroics in the 11th.

Olson got the win in relief — the first of his career. Fernando Rodney picked up his second save with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 11th.

After an up and down spring training, Happ silenced some of his doubters, pitching 61/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with no walks and a strikeout. Happ shut out the A’s for the first six innings and was given a 1-0 lead on Ackley’s third-inning solo homer off A’s starter Sonny Gray

Four singles split up by one sacrifice bunt allowed the A’s to score two runs and take a 2-1 lead in bottom of the seventh.

But the Mariners, who have yet to really muster much offensively in the first four games, answered with a show of power and some help from instant replay.

Jackson singled with one out in the eighth and pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano appeared to hit into a force play at second base for the second out of the inning. But McClendon asked for the umpires to review the play at second. The ruling was overturned when it was shown that Jackson had beaten shortstop Semien to the bag. The new life proved critical. Robinson Cano grounded to first to move the runners into scoring position with two outs and bring cleanup hitter Cruz to the plate.

Cruz had a similar opportunity on Wednesday against the Angels. With the bases loaded and a chance to put the Mariners ahead, Cruz struck out, swinging at pitches that were far from strikes.

This time, Cruz crushed a 1-1 sinker from Dan Otero deep into the left-field seats for a three-run homer to give the Mariners a 4-2 lead.

“You always want to be in (the) situation and when you do that, it feels pretty good,” said Cruz, who also had a pair of singles. “I feel like I’m getting on top of the ball better.”

The Mariners’ bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Danny Farquhar gave up a single to Mark Canha and an RBI double to Zobrist to start the inning. Eric Sogard bunted Zobrist — the tying run ­— to third.

McClendon called on right-hander Carson Smith to extinguish the rally. But he couldn’t. He struck out Davis, but Brett Lawrie doubled over the head of Ackley in left field to tie the score at 4-4.

“Last night we got punched in the face, and we got hit in the mouth today as well,” McClendon said. “But our guys rebounded and did a little punching of their own. This shows the type of fortitude this club has, because that was a gut-wrenching type of game and they really battled and continued to fight and came out on top in the end.”