Mariners 8, Mets 7
(New York, NY) With the bats in hibernation in the opening game of the three-game series with the New York Mets, the Seattle Mariners were looking to get momentum back on their side on Saturday evening. Ace Luis Castillo took the mound and the Mariners had won the last five games started by Castillo and were looking to make it six in a row in Queens. It wouldn’t be a typical start for La Piedra as he really struggled and the Mets consistently hit the ball hard in the game. However, the bats would wake up in a big way for Seattle and bailed out Luis Castillo and a tough day for the bullpen as well. An offensively driven win for the Mariners got things back on track as they knocked off the Mets 8-7.
Both teams missed opportunities in the 1st as the Mariners hit into a double play and the Mets couldn’t capitalize on Sam Haggerty losing a fly ball in the lights. The top of the 2nd was a different story. Teoscar Hernandez dug into the batter’s box and he didn’t need anyone in scoring position to do damage. Hernandez went down and got a slider below the zone and sent it 405 feet out to center field. The solo blast would be Teo’s 24th home run of the season and the M’s were out in front 1-0.
That lead grew a bit in the top of the 3rd. After Jose Caballero was robbed of a base hit by third baseman Mark Vientos, J.P. Crawford sent a grounder into right field for a single. Julio Rodriguez then continued to do what he’s done in the last couple of months and that is cause some serious damage. J-Rod sent a fly ball to deep center. Brandon Nimmo jumped but couldn’t haul it in as the ball bounced away from him. J.P. was flying around the bases and scored from first on Julio’s second triple of the season to make it 2-0. Two batters later, with Julio still on third and two outs, Teoscar Hernandez came through again. Teo sent a sinker down and away in the zone into right field for a two-out RBI single. Thanks to Teo’s clutch AB, the Seattle lead was 3-0.
After getting out of trouble in the bottom of the 3rd, Luis Castillo wouldn’t be so fortunate in the 4th. A single by Pete Alonso was followed by a hit by pitch for Daniel Vogelbach to put runners at first and second with nobody out. DJ Stewart would cash in and not only got the Mets on the board, but also tied the game. Stewart sent his 10th home run of the season out to center to tie the game at 3-3.
Castillo would tightrope out of danger to keep the game tied heading into the 5th. After J.P. Crawford was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, Mets manager Buck Showalter went to his bullpen and brought in Grant Hartwig. Hartwig would get Julio to groundout while Crawford move to second with one away. Eugenio Suarez sent a hard grounder off of Hartwig and it turned into an infield single. Hartwig remained in the game but was in trouble with runners on the corners and one out. The Mariners had their guy at the plate in Teoscar Hernandez and he would get the job done again. A fly ball to right field was caught by DJ Stewart but it would be deep enough to score Crawford from third. Teo’s third RBI of the game made it 4-3 Mariners.
New York put another threat together in the bottom of the 5th. A leadoff double for Jeff McNeil put the tying run in scoring position to start the inning. Pete Alonso moved him over to third with a sacrifice fly to right field for the first out. With the tying run 90-feet away, Daniel Vogelbach hit a rocket on the right side of the infield. Jose Caballero would rob Vogey of a game tying knock with a diving catch for the second out, keeping McNeil at third. Castillo would then get DJ Stewart to groundout to Ty France at first to end the inning and preserve the 4-3 lead.
Unfortunately, that would be the last play France made on defense. Leading off the top of the 6th, France was hit on his right elbow by a pitch and had to leave the game with an injury. Mike Ford would enter the game and run for France but it didn’t matter who was on first base. Dominic Canzone entered the game as a pinch hitter for Dylan Moore and he made his mark immediately. Canzone went upper deck in right field for his fourth home run of the year. The two-run blast made it 6-3 but Seattle wasn’t done yet. Sam Haggerty drew a walk and showcased his speed, stealing second and third for his fifth and sixth stolen bases of the year. Haggerty remained on third after J.P. Crawford struck out looking for the second out. Julio Rodriguez would step in and put some pressure on the defense. A chopper to third was fielded by Mark Vientos, but he had to rush the throw and it would pull Pete Alonso off of first base. The error allowed Haggerty to score and made it 7-3 M’s.
For as good as the top of the 6th was for the Mariners, the bottom half of the inning was as bad. Mark Vientos began the inning with his fourth home run of the season to make it 7-4. After walking Omar Narváez, Luis Castillo’s night was done. Scott Servais brought in lefty Gabe Speier and the southpaw looked real good out of the pen. He would strike out Ronny Mauricio and Brandon Nimmo for the first two outs. It looked like it would be smooth sailings for Speier when he got ahead of Francisco Lindor 1-2. A slider would not get low enough however and Lindor would smash it down the left field line. The ball just stayed fair as it cleared the fence for a two-run shot and his 25th long ball of 2023. The two-out home run made things interesting again as the Mariner lead was trimmed down to 7-6.
With that lead still intact, the other lefty in the Mariner bullpen in Tayler Saucedo came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th. After retiring Ronny Mauricio and Brandon Nimmo to start the inning, Saucedo would walk Francisco Lindor to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Jeff McNeil would then continue to haunt the Mariners. It looked like McNeil had given the Mets the lead as Dominic Canzone drifted back to the right field wall. A leaping effort would not yield the result the Mariners were hoping for as the ball went off the top of the fence. Lindor scored easily with two outs as McNeil reached third with his third triple of the season to tie the game at 7-7. Justin Topa came in to get Pete Alonso to ground out which sent the game to the 9th all tied up.
It only took two pitches from Adam Ottavino for the Mariners to take back the lead. J.P. Crawford got a changeup in the middle of the plate and he didn’t miss it. J.P. sent his 14th home run of the season out to right field to put the M’s back in the lead at 8-7. Topa would stay in the game in the bottom of the 9th in front of his friends and family in his home state of New York. It looked like the Mets would have traffic early when Daniel Vogelbach sent a line drive to left center. Sam Haggerty cut it off and got the ball into Crawford. J.P. was as surprised as everyone else when he turned to see Vogey heading for second. After a delay, J.P. got the ball to Josh Rojas who tagged out Vogelbach for the first out. A single for DJ Stewart put the tying run on with one out and the winning run at the plate. Tim Locastro ran for Stewart but remained on first after Brett Baty popped out to Eugenio Suarez at third. An eight-pitch battle with Francisco Álvarez finally ended in favor of Topa and the Mariners. A comebacker was handled by the reliever and a toss to first ended a dramatic showdown with the Mariners earning the 8-7 victory.
Not only did the Seattle Mariners (77-58) earn a dramatic win over the New York Mets (62-74), but both the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers suffered losses on Saturday. That means that once again the Mariners are in sole possession of first place in the AL West, one game ahead of the Houston Astros and two games ahead of the Texas Rangers. The Toronto Blue Jays also lost which could help the Mariners if they fall into a Wild Card spot. Seattle will look to earn their sixth consecutive series win on Sunday in the rubber game of the three-game series with the Mets. George Kirby (10-8, 3.28 ERA) will make the start just south of his hometown of Rye, NY. Kirby was scratched late on Tuesday against Oakland do to an illness but he will be fired up to make his third start in the state of New York. In the previous three, Kirby has allowed six runs in 11 innings but will look to record a highlight in his career if he can dominate on Sunday. His counterpart will be Tylor Megill (7-7, 5.29 ERA) who will start for the Mets. Megill is coming off his first quality start since June 16th as he went six innings and only gave up one run on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts against the Rangers.
- Teoscar Hernandez- 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, R
- J.P. Crawford- 3-4, HR, RBI, 3 R
- Luis Castillo (ND)- 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
- DJ Stewart- 2-5, HR, 3 RBI, R
- Francisco Lindor- 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB
- David Peterson (ND)- 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO