Mariners pull into tie for wild card spot after gritty comeback

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 08: Ben Gamel
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 08: Ben Gamel /

In a fitting microcosm of the Seattle Mariners season, the starting pitching was really bad, but the offense was as good as ever, and the bullpen was lockdown. Somehow, the team snagged a win that came on the heels of losses by the Royals and Rays, and the Mariners are now tied with those two for a wild card spot.

The night started auspiciously as the bottom of the first inning had Khris Davis taking Ariel Miranda deep to put the A’s ahead 3-0. The Mariners struck back with a run in the third to cut the deficit to 2. Oakland wasn’t going to look the Ariel Miranda gift horse in the mouth though, and they went for two runs in the third, and after the Mariners got a run in the fourth, Oakland made it 6-2.

Now, on a night where the Rays and Royals had already concluded their games, the thought that the Mariners were going to squander a prime opportunity to make up the rest of the ground between them and their opponents was tough to stomach.

Seattle didn’t want to have to stomach that, so they casually put together one of the most energizing comebacks of the season. With two runs in the sixth, and a run in the seventh, the Mariners trailed by just a run.

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Then, the M’s did something so crazy every fan was likely pulling their hair out, then jumping up and down, then losing their mind trying to figure out what the heck happened.

To start the eighth, Ben Gamel hit a grounder that seemed like a sure out. Yet, an errant throw gave him not just first, but second. A productive out by Jarrod Dyson advanced him to third. Then the Mariners pinch-hit Danny Valencia for Zunino, and here’s where it really gets weird.

All Valencia needed to do was hit a fly ball to a deep part of the park and Gamel could stroll home to tie the game. Yet, Valencia decided to hit it to very shallow center instead. Rajai Davis came up on the ball, caught it on the run, but Manny Acta sent Gamel anyway. Davis fired the ball to the plate, but his throw was just off line enough that it pulled Dustin Garneau away from the plate, and Gamel snuck around his diving tag to tie it at 6. [VIDEO HERE]

The Mariners almost won it in regulation by loading the bases with two outs, but Gamel could not come through with his third hit of the game, and after a scoreless bottom of the ninth from Rzepczynski, the top of the tenth came and the M’s would send Dyson, Ruiz, and Leonys Martin to the plate.

Dyson fouled out to first base, then Ruiz grounded out to the shortstop. Two quick outs and it seemed all that was left was to hope for the best in the top of the eleventh. Yet Leonys Martin wasn’t having any of that. He and his .184 batting average and one season homer, decided he would send the Mariners home happy, and he crushed a pitch to right field to put Seattle up one.

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Diaz came in in the bottom of the inning, and while not as sharp as he typically is, he found a way to retire three batters without the A’s getting a run, and just like that the Mariners snuck into a tie for that second wild card spot. Tuesday’s win was just what the 2017 M’s needed, they showed their grit in the win, and finally cracked the one game back pattern. For now, the Mariners are where they need to be, and if they can continue this run, this season’s stretch could be a really fun one.