It started with the shelling of Lance McCullers. The Mariners chased him for four runs in 4.2 innings. The thing is, the Mariners have never done anything like that against McCullers, but they found some spark Monday and that propelled them to a fifth straight win.
In McCullers’s career against the M’s, he has pitched 7 times, and over 38.2 innings has posted an ERA of 2.09. Those are dominating numbers, and the Mariners haven’t found a way to crack him. 2017 has been a microcosm of that same trend. Two starts, two losses, with McCullers posting an ERA of 1.64.
The Mariners sent him away early, and then added to their lead to make it 5-2 after the fifth inning.
The Astros and their AL-best record would not give up that easy though, and teed off on Mariners pitcher Ariel Miranda, and at the end of the sixth inning, the M’s were sitting on the short end of the 6-5 score.
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The M’s have gotten kind of used to this winning thing, though, after the sweep of Chicago, and they wouldn’t take a little adversity without a fight.
A Nelson Cruz homer, his 6th in 9 games, knotted the game at 6. Then one inning later, Mike Zunino, bringer of rain extraordinaire, belted one off the train to put the Mariners up 7-6.
So then, it was time for Nick Vincent. If you’ve been following any Seattle sports media anywhere, you probably know Nick Vincent is playing out of his mind right now, but three, going on four, nights of pitching in a row will wear you down, and just like that the Astros rattled off three singles, loading the bases.
Servais left Vincent in, though, and he retired Jake Marisnick before the skipper brought James Pazos in to try and salvage what Vincent wrecked.
Pazos gave up the game-tying sacrifice fly, but retired Altuve directly after to keep the game at 7.
The Mariners saw nothing happen in their half of the ninth, but the Astros got to work right away against Mariners
bullpen project Yovani Gallardo getting a double, then advancing the runner to third on a ground out.
They intentionally walked Yuli Gurriel in an attempt to set up the inning-ending double play. He didn’t help the M’s at all by stealing second.
Then Jean Segura saved the Mariners yet again, by throwing out Josh Reddick at the plate on a Nori Aoki grounder.
Just like that, it was Alex Bregman, and Gallardo induced a grounder to send the game to extras.
Surely they couldn’t have yet another tenth-inning go-ahead homer. It just can’t happen three times in the same week. Yet, it did. Kyle Seager hit his third homer in as many days, and then Danny Valencia padded the lead with a solo shot of his own.
And Edwin Diaz, for the fourth day in a row, picked up the save, this time going toe-to-toe with Marisnick, Springer, and Altuve; picking up a pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a Springer flyout.
Just like that Seattle is back to .500, for the first time since June 25th, when they faced, ironically, the Astros. Five straight wins, four after the All-Star break, and this team isn’t ready to call it a season just yet.