Mariners 8, Rangers 0
(Seattle, WA) Over 45,000 fans made their way into T-Mobile Park last night as the Seattle Mariners wore their City Connect uniforms for the final time this season as they took on the Texas Rangers. With just three days to make up one game on the Houston Astros to try to get into the postseason, the M’s know that they have to take care of their own business first. After being down to their final out in game one of the four-game series, Seattle walked off Texas in a massive momentum boost. That momentum carried into Friday night’s game where late game heroics were not needed. Seattle escaped some jams early and the offense broke it open as the Mariners rolled to an 8-0 win over the Rangers.
Bryan Woo took on his nemesis in Texas and ran into some trouble a few times early. A couple of walks in the top of the 1st weren’t too big of an issue as the second one came with two outs. A strikeout of Nathaniel Lowe helped the rookie escape his first jam, but his second time through the lineup was where Woo found himself in a lot of trouble. Facing the leadoff man in Marcus Semien to leadoff the top of the 3rd, Woo gave up a single on the first pitch of the inning. He then walked Corey Seager to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Mitch Garver sent a flyball to deep right field, but Teoscar Hernandez was able to track it down for the first out. Semien tagged up and moved to third to put runners on the corners. Woo then got a massive strikeout of Adolis Garcia for out number two. On a 2-2 pitch to Nathaniel Lowe, Woo lost control and hit the Ranger first baseman to load the bases for fellow rookie Josh Jung. While Jung was the All-Star, Woo won this battle by getting him to fly out to Jarred Kelenic in left. Woo’s pitch count was very high, but he continued to hang zeros on the board while the Mariner bats waited for their opportunity.
Opportunity came knocking in the bottom of the 3rd and the Mariners answered. Leading off the inning, Ty France smashed a cutter right down the middle over the scoreboard in left for a laser beam home run. It was Ty’s 12th home run of the season and was his second this week after not hitting any coming into this homestand in September. Two batters later, Josh Rojas got in on the fun as well as he started his strong day. The second baseman got a fastball up and in in the zone and his hands were quick enough to get to the heater. Rojas gave the fans in right field a souvenir with his fourth home run of the year, all coming with the Mariners, and making it 2-0 Seattle. They still weren’t done in the inning. With J.P. Crawford on first after drawing a walk, Eugenio Suarez came to the plate with two outs. Geno hit a hard line drive into center and it looked like Leody Taveras had a play on hit. Seattle caught a break as Taveras misplayed it and the ball sailed past him. Crawford scored easily while Suarez took some help for his 29th double of the season. Quick strikes all of a sudden began to add up as the Mariners led 3-0.
Bryan Woo was not able to complete the 4th inning due to a high pitch count, but he and Tayler Saucedo combined for an easy 1-2-3 inning. Seattle’s offense got right back to work in the bottom of the 4th. A single for Teoscar Hernandez and a walk for Mike Ford quickly had the M’s in business once again. Ty France loaded the bases with nobody out after he was hit by a pitch. It was like déjà vu from last night as the opportunity to add on began to slip through the Mariners fingers. Jarred Kelenic struck out, but Josh Rojas wasn’t going to put the pressure on J.P. again. Rojas sent a hard grounder right back up the middle for a base hit. Runners went station to station as Hernandez scored to make it 4-0 with the bases still loaded. That brought J.P. Crawford to the plate and he added to the case that he should be wearing a captain’s ‘C’ on his uniform. With not nearly as much pressure as the night before, Crawford got ahead of reliever Brock Burke 3-1. The lefty tried to steal a strike with a fastball right down the middle. J.P. was having none of hit. A 107-mph missile was high enough to clear the wall in right as pandemonium broke loose in Seattle. Crawford had his second grand slam of the season and 19th home run of the season as Seattle began to believe again as the M’s broke it open with an 8-0 lead.
From that point on, both bullpens took over. Texas waved the white flag in the bottom of the 6th as they pulled Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia, Jonah Heim, and Leody Taveras. Marcus Semien was pulled shortly after and then the Mariners began to pull some players as J.P. Crawford, Teoscar Hernandez, and Julio Rodriguez got some extra rest before the final two games this weekend. Dominic Leone pitched the 9th and gave up a couple of walks but that was it. Mitch Garver sent the final fly ball to Sam Haggerty in center and he put it away for the final out. The game was then officially over as Seattle took care of business with an impressive 8-0 win over the Rangers.
Everyone in the American League playoff race outside of the Texas Rangers also won on Friday as Houston beat Arizona and Toronto knocked off Tampa Bay. That means the Seattle Mariners (87-73) are still one game back of Houston and two back of Toronto in the Wild Card chase. The M’s still have a chance at the AL West title as they sit just two games behind the Rangers. It will be prime time baseball on Saturday at 4:15pm as the Mariners and Rangers meet in game three of the series on FOX. Both teams announced their starting pitchers after Friday’s game and for the Mariners, it will be Luis Castillo (14-8, 3.20 ERA) making his final start of the regular season. Castillo was shaky on Monday night against Houston, giving up five runs over six innings. La Piedra will be looking to defeat the Rangers for the first time in his career despite having a 3.00 ERA against Texas. Lefty, Andrew Heaney (10-6, 4.28 ERA) will take the mound for the Rangers in game three. The southpaw has spent a bulk of this month pitching out of the bullpen. This will be Heaney’s 20th career appearance against the Mariners, posting a 4.37 ERA in his first 19 times facing the M’s.
- Marcus Semien- 2-3
- Nathan Eovaldi (L, 12-5)- 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
- J.P. Crawford- 1-3, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB
- Josh Rojas- 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
- Bryan Woo (ND)- 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO