Mariners 7, Athletics 2
(Oakland, CA) Fan bases of the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics each have something that they have to worry about in the final couple of weeks of the regular season. For the Mariners, they are worried about the playoff race. Whether they have to settle for a Wild Card or if they are able to steal the AL West title, Seattle is just looking to get into the playoffs for a second consecutive season. For the Oakland faithful, they are worried about the future of their team. Talks of relocation have been spreading like wildfire around the baseball world with Las Vegas looking like the future home of the A’s. As fans continue to hope that John Fisher sells the team to keep them in Oakland and that was evident on Tuesday night. As chants of “Sell the Team” continued to rain down from frustrated fans, the Mariners took care of their own business as Seattle rolled to another win over the Athletics, 7-2.
Luis Castillo pitched around a couple of baserunners in the 1st and that allowed Seattle to strike first. In the top of the 2nd, Eugenio Suarez laced a one-out double for his 25th two-bagger of the year. Jarred Kelenic had struggled a little bit since his return from the IL but Tuesday night seemed like it could be the turning point. Kelenic flipped a line drive the other way into left field. Geno got a great read on the soft line drive and was able to score from second to give JK the RBI single and give the Mariners the 1-0 lead.
It would be the Cal Raleigh show in the bottom of the 3rd for Seattle. The best base stealer in all of baseball led off the inning as Esteury Ruiz lifted a single just over the head of Josh Rojas and into left field. Ruiz had his sights set on his 62nd stolen base of the season, but Cal Raleigh continued his hot streak behind the plate. Raleigh threw out Ruiz at second on a play that wasn’t really close for the first out. A single by Tony Kemp singled to left to put another runner on for Oakland. Luis Castillo would strikeout Zack Gelof as Kemp broke for second. The throw from Cal Raleigh was a little off but Josh Rojas came up with one of the best defensive plays the Mariners have had this season. Not only would Rojas leap to snag the ball and keep it from going into center field, but Rojas would throw down a no-look tag between his legs while in the air and it found the backside of Tony Kemp. A strike him out, throw him out double play ended the inning as Raleigh and Rojas celebrated an incredible play to end the inning to keep it 1-0.
Momentum carried over for the Mariners into the top of the 4th. Teoscar Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and flashed his speed with his seventh stolen base to put a runner in scoring position with nobody out. After Suarez struck out swinging, Jarred Kelenic came up for the second time in the game and came through for the second time. Kelenic went the other way again for a base hit to left. Teo just beat the throw in as Kelenic moved to second on the throw. Thanks to Kelenic, Seattle led 2-0.
Great defense from both the M’s and the A’s kept the score 2-0 until Seattle broke things open in the top of the 7th. New pitcher Easton Lucas came into pitch with the bases empty and one out. Sam Haggerty welcomed him to the game with an infield single and then stole second for his seventh stolen base. An errant throw went into center and allowed Haggerty to moved up to third. Dylan Moore came into the game as a pinch hitter, but the contact play hurt the M’s again. Moore hit a hard grounder right at Aledmys Diaz and he would cutdown Haggerty at the plate for the second out. Once again, Seattle did their damage with two outs. J.P. Crawford sent a double deep to right center for his 34th two-bagger and scored Dylan Moore to make it 3-0. Oakland opted to intentionally walk Julio Rodriguez to put runners on first and second. Cal Raleigh then would continue the big inning with a base hit to left to score Crawford to make it 4-0. Teoscar Hernandez kept things going with a hard grounder past shortstop Nick Allen and into left center. Julio scored from second while Raleigh got the stop sign at third on Teo’s 29th double of the season. A wild pitch let Raleigh score and put a cap on Seattle’s four-run inning to extend the lead to 6-0.
One night after recording a franchise record 16th shutout of the season, Seattle could not get a 17th. Aldemys Diaz led off the bottom of the 7th with his 19th double of the season to put a runner in scoring position. Shea Langeliers then drove a fly ball deep to center that was misplayed by Julio a bit as he jumped for a ball he had no chance of catching. The ball ricocheted back towards center and allowed Langeliers to reach third with his fourth triple of the season to score Diaz and make it 6-1. Tyler Soderstrom then drove in the Oakland catcher with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 6-2. A groundout and a punch out for Luis Castillo ended outing but it was another quality outing. La Piedra went seven innings jus allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. The first strikeout of the game gave Luis Castillo his second career 200+ strikeout season and gave the Mariners their second straight year with a 200+ strikeout pitcher after Robbie Ray accomplished the feat last year.
The game went from a solid day for J.P. Crawford to perhaps a career highlight. Crawford led off the top of the 9th with his career-high 16th home run of the season to make it 7-2. If that wasn’t good enough, Crawford then got to meet a dog in the camera well where he spent the rest of the top of the 9th with his new friend who we can confirm according to J.P. was a very good boy.
Scott Servais avoided using Andrés Muñoz again and sent out Eduard Bazardo for the final three outs. It didn’t take long for Bazardo to put an end to this one as it just took 11 pitches for the final half inning. Bazardo got Shea Langeliers to pop out to Dylan Moore at second, Tyler Soderstrom to fly out to left, and Nick Allen to ground out to Eugenio Suarez. A quick 1-2-3 inning gave the Mariners another win over Oakland and a series win with a 7-2 victory.
Seattle (83-68) now moves to 11-1 against the Oakland Athletics (46-105) this season and those wins are really helping them in the postseason hunt. Texas and Toronto both earned wins on Tuesday but Houston dropped another game to Baltimore. The Mariners and Rangers are still tied for the third and final AL Wild Card just one game behind the Blue Jays. Meanwhile in the AL West, Seattle and Texas have moved to just half of a game behind Houston, setting up a wild week and a half for the race for the division. Another All-Star will take the mound in the finale for the Mariners as George Kirby (10-10, 3.57 ERA) looks to turn things around before the final week of the season. Kirby has really struggled in three September starts as the young righty has pitched 15 1/3 innings this month and allowed 12 runs on 16 hits with four walks and 16 strikeouts. The Mariners hope to snap a skid of four straight losses in games started by Kirby as the M’s take on a rookie. Oakland will see the debut of Joey Estes in the finale. Estes was one of four players acquired by Oakland in a trade that sent Matt Olson to the Atlanta Braves. First pitch is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:37pm.
- J.P. Crawford- 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
- Jarred Kelenic- 2-5, 2 RBI
- Luis Castillo (W, 14-7)- 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO
- Shea Langeliers- 1-3, 3B, RBI, R, BB
- Zack Gelof- 2-4, 2B
- Paul Blackburn (L, 4-6)- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO