Mariners Game Recap: M’s win duel against Cubs
The odds seemed to be stacked against the Mariners going into Saturday afternoon, but they still found a way to get the win.
After yesterday’s 12-1 loss, the second game of the series against the Chicago Cubs was a matchup that didn’t look good on paper for the Mariners. For starters, they were sending out Wade Miley (6-8, 5.23 ERA) to face off against defending NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.76 ERA). Not to mention the game would be played in a playoff atmosphere within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field against one of the better teams in the Majors.
From the get-go, things seemed to be different though. Juxtaposed to Arrieta dealing as always, Miley was creating a special outing of his own. He was giving absolutely nothing to the Cubs, and he didn’t even allow a baserunner until Kris Bryant reached on an error by Kyle Seager in the fourth. Miley continued to roll though, and he kept a no-hitter intact at the time.
On the other side, the Mariners were having almost just as much trouble hitting the ball with Arrieta on the mound. They found other ways to get runners on base, but they couldn’t quite find a way to bring the runs across. Through seven innings, Arrieta had only allowed one hit — a base hit by Nelson Cruz in the fourth.
Miley finally ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. Dexter Fowler was able to draw a leadoff walk, and Bryant was able to follow with a single up the middle to break up the no-hitter and give the Cubs two men on with no outs. Ben Zobrist bunted Fowler and Bryant over, and just like that, the Cubs had two runners in scoring position with one out in a 0-0 ballgame. This brought up Javier Baez with a chance to bring in the first runs of the game. He sent a groundball to Shawn O’Malley, who threw home, and Mike Zunino was able to apply the tag and initially earn the second out of the inning. The play was challenged by Joe Maddon though, and it was overturned to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
From here, Miley was able to strike out Addison Russell for the second out, but on a pickoff attempt to first with Jason Heyward at the plate, Bryant broke for home and was called safe. Scott Servais then challenged this play at the plate, and this too was overturned to finally end the inning.
Although they went down a run, the Mariners continued to fight. In the top of the eighth, they were able to finally get to the Cubs bullpen by getting Zunino and O’Malley on base to start the inning. Hector Rondon replaced Arrieta, Luis Sardinas came in to pinch-hit for Miley. Sardinas laid down a bunt to move up the runners and give the M’s a second and third opportunity with one out. This brought up Nori Aoki, who sent a weak grounder down the third base line. Pinch runner Guillermo Heredia was tagged out at home to make it two outs.
Making only his second appearance for Chicago, Aroldis Chapman came in to replace Rondon and face Leonys Martin. This came back to bite the Cubs, though. Martin roped a double into the left-center gap to bring in two runs and give the Mariners the lead. Martin was able to steal third on Chapman, who made a wild throw to third. Immediately following, Chapman threw a wild pitch to the backstop, allowing Martin to score and extend the Mariner lead to 3-1. Chapman was finally able to retire Robinson Cano for the third out, but the damage was done.
In relief for Miley, Edwin Diaz entered the game. Despite lacking his usual control, he was able to get through the bottom of the eighth without any blemish to the line score and only allowing runners on first and second.
The Mariners were able to steal another run in the top of the ninth, when Russell made a wild throw to first on a Chris Iannetta groundball, allowing Franklin Gutierrez to score. This gave Steve Cishek another insurance run for a 4-1 lead.
Cishek entered to get the save in the bottom half of the inning, and he had no trouble setting down the Cubs. Despite allowing a single to Zobrist, he struck out the side to give the Mariners one of their more improbable wins of the season.
With the win, Seattle moves to 52-50 and the Cubs drop to 62-41. Tomorrow night, the Mariners will look to win the series in a rubber match that will be televised on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Felix Hernandez will be on the hill for their first appearance on the nationally-televised program since 2004.