In the finale of the short two-game set against the Oakland Athletics, the Mariners finished them off in a very odd fashion. Well, it’s odd for the Mariners, I mean.
There was no drama. Even though Cole Irvin was pitching. I gave him enough heat on Twitter, and have written enough about him in the past. I’ll leave him, his 8.49 ERA and 2.22 WHIP against the Mariners this season alone. He’s suffered enough… but that’s mostly at the hands of Mariners hitters.
The Mariners won a game, with no drama, late-inning heroics, or blown leads.
It was so odd listening to the game today and having no crazy shenanigans going on. The opener to the series was intense from the moment Haniger hit the tying two-run shot in the 6th inning. You knew something else was going to happen, from the Olson answer in the 6th to France and crew blowing it up in the 9th on the way to the win.
This time around though, it must be what normal teams feel like during a win. Other than a Mitch Moreland RBI single in the bottom of the first, Oakland’s offense never really did anything all game. There was the occasional potential scare here or there, but nothing that truly felt like they were going to put something together. Truth be told, I am deathly afraid of Matt Olson whenever he comes to the plate, and know that he could turn the series in one swing.
However, Kelenic would answer with an RBI single of his own in the second to tie it up. It helped settle Flexen down, as he would once again go 6+ innings, marking the 10th time he had gone that far in a game while giving up one run or fewer. If that seems like a lot… well, you’d be right. Just check out the AL Leaderboard for that exact stat.
Yeah, he actually is tied for the AL lead with the most such starts. He would go 6.2 today, giving up just that one run on six hits and one walk, while striking out five. Steckenrider would get the long save, throwing the remaining 2.1 innings, needing just 23 pitches to shut down Oakland for the win.
Back to the offense though, Torrens wanted in to the hit party in the third. With two outs, Seager would single and be followed by a Toro double. Torrens would rip a single, plating both of them to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead.
It would be a while before the Mariners would be able to do anything else, as Deolis Guerra would shut them down over the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings. He gave up zero hits, walked one, and struck out five.
AJ Puk would follow, and it seemed to be more of the same through his first 1.2 innings. He struck out four of the batters he got out, although he gave up a single to France in the 7th. The Mariners finally got to him with two outs in the 8th, though. Murphy singled, Kelenic would hit a double to drive him in, and then Moore would single to bring Kelenic home, and improve the lead to 5-1.
The Mariners would cruise to the finish line in this game, with Steckenrider picking up the save. After winning, the Mariners are now 69-58, 11 games above 500 for the first time since starting 13-2 back in 2019. The only picked up ground on Oakland, as Tampa, New York, Boston, and Houston all won tonight. Currently, they’re one back of Oakland, three back of Boston, five back of New York, and 5.5 back of Houston.
None of those are insurmountable, and there is plenty of baseball left. New York and Oakland are about to play a four-game set, so the Mariners have a prime opportunity to advance in the standings depending on the next week. Boston finishes up a series with Minnesota before playing Cleveland, and Houston finishes up with the Royals before playing the Rangers.
The Mariners will actually have today off before playing the Royals in a four-game series in Seattle. If you’re looking to go to a game as the playoff race heats up, any of the Royals ones would be a fantastic choice. Seattle just keeps winning, and are seriously in the hunt with just 35 games left. #SeaUsRise