10/8/22

 

Mariners 10, Blue Jays 9

(Toronto, ON) Every World Series champion has that one game or one moment in the postseason that makes fans and players look around and know that they can go on a run and win it all. Whether it be defeating the top team in the playoffs or an extra innings victory, something happens that opens up all the eyes. While it might be a bit premature, the Mariners 7-run comeback on Saturday in game two of the American League Wild Card series might be the moment for this young team. They couldn’t rely on one guy to be the hero. It was all hands-on deck and that is exactly what happened. After an epic game that lasted over four hours, the Mariners were celebrating a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays as the M’s punched their ticket to a date with the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

It was a rough start for Seattle. Robbie Ray retired his former team in order in the bottom of the 1st, but the 2nd inning would not be as kind. A double by Alejandro Kirk started the inning and it would pale in comparison to what Teoscar Hernandez would do next. The Blue Jays’ right fielder launched a two-run shot to left center to give Toronto their first lead of the series 2-0.

While the Mariners offense continued to struggle against Kevin Gausman, the Toronto offense played add on. In the bottom of the 3rd, Santiago Espinal led off with a double. Robbie Ray did a nice job on the next two batters as he struck out George Springer and got Bo Bichette to fly out to center. The star of the Toronto Blue Jays would come through as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smacked a groundball to center field for a base hit. Espinal scored easily and the M’s now faced a 3-0 deficit.

Kevin Gausman continued to dominate the Mariners into the 4th. Gausman still hadn’t allowed a hit when he got Mitch Haniger to fly out to end the inning. Teoscar Hernandez would keep the Toronto offense in a groove. Leading off the bottom of the 4th, Hernandez cranked a solo shot to center field for his second home run of the game. The M’s were quickly fading trailing 4-0.

As the Mariners had to go to their bullpen in the bottom of the 4th, Toronto starter Kevin Gausman was cutting right through the Seattle lineup going into the 5th. Adam Frazier, who was robbed of a base hit his first time up, recorded the first hit in game two for Seattle with a hit the other way to left to lead off the inning. Carlos Santana then hit a fly ball deep to right center field that hit off the top of the wall. After a review, the umpires correctly determined it was not a home run and Santana settled for a double. With runners on second and third with no outs, Jarred Kelenic got Seattle on the board with a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Frazier to make it 4-1. A couple of groundouts induced by Gausman made sure that would be the only run in the 5th for the Mariners.

Paul Sewald would surprisingly come in to pitch the bottom of the 5th but it was not the same Paul Sewald that Mariner fans had watched so much this season. With Espinal on first with one out, Bo Bichette doubled to right and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. A fastball would get by Cal Raleigh for a passed ball to score a run making it 5-1 Blue Jays. Alejandro Kirk walked to reload the bases and Sewald then hit Teoscar Hernandez to score another run making it 6-1. Matt Chapman kept the train rolling for the Jays with a sacrifice fly to score Guerrero and extending the lead to 7-1. Danny Jansen then knocked Sewald out of the game with a double down the right field line to score Kirk and all of a sudden the M’s were in an 8-1 hole.

Tempers flared later in the inning when Diego Castillo took over for Sewald. The first pitch Castillo threw hit Whit Merrifield in the helmet which drew the ire of Toronto manager John Schneider. Some jawing led to nothing and Castillo left the bases loaded by getting Santiago Espinal to ground out to J.P. Crawford at short to end a long bottom of the 5th.

It was not going to happen all at once. For the Mariners to get back into the game, it would take time and patience and execution. That started in the top of the 6th. Back-to-back singles by Ty France and Eugenio Suarez started the inning against Gausman. Cal Raleigh then singled to load the bases and the Mariners were in business. The business then looked bleak when Mitch Haniger struck out and Adam Frazier popped out to first. Then the Blue Jays made what turned out to be a mistake. John Schneider pulled Kevin Gausman and brought in Tim Mayza to try to finish an incredible escape job for Toronto. Mayza would be unsuccessful. A wild pitch scored one run and made it 8-2. Carlos Santana missed a home run in his first at bat my mere inches. This time he would not miss. Santana hit a three-run home run to get the M’s right back in it at 8-5.

Things would calm down for a little bit but the action picked back up in the bottom of the 7th. Teoscar Hernandez was on first with one out after hitting into a fielder’s choice. Penn Murfee took over on the mound and Hernandez would take second with a stolen base. Matt Chapman then singled but Hernandez was held up at third. If the Mariners could get a double play, they would avoid letting Toronto widen that lead again. Murfee could not do that. Danny Jansen singled to left to score Hernandez making it 9-5. That would be it for Toronto in the 7th and Seattle was down to their final six outs.

The top of the 8th was to be handled by Anthony Bass for Toronto. He was chased quickly. Eugenio Suarez continued his strong series with a double into the left field corner. Cal Raleigh followed with a single to right to score Suarez and cut the deficit back to three at 9-6. Mitch Haniger continued the inning with a single and the Mariners had runners on first and second with no outs and the tying run at the plate.

Toronto closer Jordan Romano was summoned out of the Toronto bullpen in a very tough spot. It got tougher when Adam Frazier singled to left to load the bases with still nobody out. Romano would change that with back-to-back strikeouts of Carlos Santana and Dylan Moore. The Mariners now needed a hit to keep the inning alive. J.P. Crawford stepped in and stepped up. A weak fly ball to shallow center looked like it would be handled but it would fall in the perfect spot. A scary collision between George Springer and Bo Bichette occurred as the ball bounced off the turf for a base hit. With the runners on the move on contact with two outs, Raleigh, Haniger, and Frazier all scored. Somehow, someway the Mariners had stormed back and tied the game at 9-9.

Andrés Muñoz would pitch the 8th for a second consecutive day and after a strikeout of Jackie Bradley Jr., he would get in some hot water. Bo Bichette drew a walk and stole second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with the meat of the Toronto order up. Vlad Jr. hit a soft grounder to Crawford at short to move Bichette to third but with two outs. Muñoz would battle with Alejandro Kirk but it would be a winning battle as the All-Star catcher grounded out to Frazier at second to end the inning and send this game to the 9th tied 9-9.

Cal Raleigh doubled off Romano with one out to give the Mariners a chance to get that go-ahead run. With two outs, Adam Frazier came up to the plate looking for his third hit of the game. On the 27th anniversary of the famous double by Edgar Martinez, the Mariners created a new legendary moment in Seattle history with a hit of the same variety. Adam Frazier lined a base hit towards the right field corner for a base hit. Raleigh scored easily on the Frazier double and Seattle was all of a sudden three outs away from a trip to the ALDS with a 10-9 lead.

All photos by @Mariners Twitter

With the bullpen heavily used, it would be rookie George Kirby brought in for his first postseason action looking to finish off a historic win. He got Teoscar Hernandez to ground out to Crawford at short for the first out but had a tough battle with Matt Chapman that resulted in a walk. Danny Jansen also turned into a tough battle by fouling off three straight 2-2 pitches. He would not foul off a fourth as he checked his swing but the Mariners would get a call as home plate umpire Todd Tichenor punched Jansen out looking for the second out. Raimel Tapia was all that stood between the Mariners and the ALDS. Tapia hit a fly ball to center field and Julio Rodriguez would make the catch to complete the historic comeback. The Mariners gutsy performance ended with a 10-9 win and a sweep of the Blue Jays to advance to the American League Divisional Series.

This win gave the Mariners their first postseason series victory since the 2001 ALDS against Cleveland. This was also only the third time in MLB history that a team overcame a seven-run deficit to win a playoff game and the first time that a team ever did it to win a series. It became an instant classic and iconic moment for the Mariners.

Seattle will now advance to the ALDS and a best of five series with the Houston Astros. It will be the first time the Mariners have ever taken on a divisional rival in the postseason. In other Wild Card series around the league, the Cleveland Guardians swept the Tampa Bay Rays thanks to a 15th-inning walk-off home run. The Philadelphia Phillies swept the St. Louis Cardinals, ending the legendary careers of both Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. In the only series that went to a winner-take-all third game, the San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets 6-0 to end the Mets season on a very sour note that saw them collapse in September.

The opening games of the Divisional Round are all Tuesday and the times are listed below.

Philadelphia Phillies @ Atlanta Braves- Game 1, 10:07am
Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros- Game 1, 12:37pm
Cleveland Guardians @ New York Yankees- Game 1, 4:37pm
San Diego Padres @ Los Angeles Dodgers- Game 1, 6:37pm

Notable Performences

Mariners

  • Adam Frazier- 3-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R
  • Carlos Santana- 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R, BB
  • Cal Raleigh- 3-4, 2B, RBI, 3 R, BB
  • Robbie Ray (ND)- 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO

Blue Jays

  • Teoscar Hernandez- 2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R
  • Danny Jansen- 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Kevin Gausman (ND)- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

Matt’s Takeaway

This game was unbelievable. From the lowest of lows, to the highest of highs and everything in between we felt it all. Again it was everyone needed and everyone stepping up to get this one done. The heart and the fight of all of the guys on this team can not be overlooked at all. That is what won them this game. There is one reason the Mariners won this game. Belief. These guys believe in one another and believe they can win every single game. Whether it was the rally shoe or the Blue Jays trying to go on cruise control, the Mariners fought. Everyone on this team fought.

Adam Frazier is putting together his best at bats as a Mariner right now which is exactly what Seattle wanted when they brought him in. Cal Raleigh is turning from a cult hero to a national superstar. The pitching struggled in game two but the offense picking them up makes me feel more confident in this team than I ever have. If Julio, France, and Haniger can catch fire, this team will be nearly unstoppable.

Now a series with Houston is going to be incredibly difficult. We do know we will get playoff baseball in Seattle this week. T-Mobile Park will be rocking and right now this team is rolling. If they can steal one in Houston, the momentum will be fully on the side of the Seattle Mariners. Like J.P. Crawford said, if they could win that game, they can win any game. They are still just getting started.

 

 

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