To sugarcoat it, July was a rough month for the Mariners. With an abysmal 0-4 start to the month of August that lost ground to the sizzling hot Athletics, the Mariners desperately needed a win. They did just that and avoided the 4-game sweep in a 6-3 win over Toronto Sunday afternoon.
The offense has been the leading cause of Seattle’s struggles. Decent pitching has given the Seattle offense opportunities to win games, but the bats have been ice cold. The Mariners are 19-35 when they score 3 runs or less, but their six runs on Sunday doubled their next best offensive performance of the 2-5 homestand.
Mike Leake had an all-around solid performance on the mound for the Mariners. He went 6.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits. His ability to keep his pitch count down to let him throw deep into the game, giving Seattle opportunities to pounce on the Blue Jays.
Going 2-4 with 4 RBIs, Nelson Cruz was the MVP of Sunday’s game. He began Sunday’s scoring with a 2-run single in the third that plated Andrew Romine and Denard Span. The Jays answered in the fifth with an RBI single of their own, but Kyle Seager quickly responded with a solo home run that gave the Mariners a 3-1 lead through 6 innings.
When Toronto’s Aledmys Diaz tied the game with a 2-run shot in the seventh, Safeco Field erupted with excitement from an infestation of Blue Jay fans. The game had completely reset and Toronto wanted to sweep the Mariners in their own ballpark. Nelson Cruz had other plans.
Cruz hit a 404-foot broken bat home-run. Yes, you read that correctly. The 2-run blast that gave Seattle a 5-3 lead landed in the Patio at the ‘Pen and gave back Seattle’s momentum. For insurance purposes, Kyle Seager went back-to-back with Cruz and hit his second solo homer of the game.
From then on, both offenses were silent. Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz had strong appearances out of the Seattle bullpen, and Diaz earned his 41st save of the year. With the 6-3 win, the Mariners will remain 2.5 games behind Oakland for the second wild-card spot.
Seattle travels to Arlington to begin an important road trip where they will face the Rangers, Astros and Athletics. Wade Leblanc will take the mound Monday against the Rangers as the Mariners look to take back ground in the AL Wild Card Race. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PT.