Outside of the Cal Raleigh walk-off that broke the playoff drought for Seattle baseball, there was another notable historical moment near the end of the 2022 season. In Game 2 of the American League Wild Card series against the Toronto Blue Jays, in the fifth inning, the Jays had a 99% chance of winning. Winning did not happen for the Jays.
Mariners Key Moments: The 1% Comeback
After five innings of play, the Mariners were down 8-1 and had already gone through four pitchers. Starter Robbie Ray lasted just three innings, giving up two home runs and four runs total. Coming off a game one loss, the Jays looked hungry to even the series and push it to a win-or-go-home game three.
Playing at home and with a dominant seven-run lead, that looked like a lock, especially with how Kevin Gausman was pitching against the Seattle lineup. It would take a lot to pull it off if the Mariners wanted to make a comeback.
That comeback started right as needed, in the top of the sixth inning.
Mariners Comeback: The Sixth Inning
Taking a step back from this inning, it does not look like it impacted the game much. At the end of the day, it only brought the chances of the team winning from 1% to a peak of 9%. But, it also showed that the team that showed throughout the season that they had fight, still had that fight until the end.
The inning started with three straight singles from the Mariners. Ty France, Eugenio Suarez, and Raleigh consecutively got on to load the bases.
The first man up to try to do some serious damage was Mitch Haniger. Sadly for the team, he went down swinging for the first out of the inning. Then Adam Frazier popped up to the first basemen and the team was in danger of leaving three men on without scoring a single run in the inning.
After a wild pitch and run scored, Carlos Santana cemented himself as a fan favorite with a huge three-run home run to left-center field to cut the lead down to 8-5 in favor the Jays. That swing alone had a 6% win percentage swing, not even the biggest jump of the game, but a big jump in the context of lighting a spark for the team.
How the Mariners cameback the rest of the way
Cutting the lead down did not win the game for Seattle, there were still three runs to be made up and they had to limit an offense that had already put up eight runs on them. After not scoring in the top of the seventh inning, the bullpen let one more run in. That made the score 9-5 in favor of Toronto, bringing their win probability back up to 98%.
With just a 2% chance and six outs remaining, it was time to make history. After a Raleigh RBI single, the Mariners loaded up the bases once again. Frazier was up against the Blue Jays’ Jordan Romano, a 2022 All-Star and holder of a 185 ERA+. It does not get much tougher than that for a matchup.
However, it was destiny. Frazier cleared the bases with a double that tied up the game. The swing increased the winning probability by 36.9%, making it the single most impactful moment of the comeback. Then, in the top of the ninth, another Frazier double brought in what would become the winning run for the team, proving that the former All-Star had a lot of clutch in his bat.
After taking the 10-9 lead in the top of the ninth, Scott Servais turned to rookie George Kirby to get the save. It was the first time that Kirby came into a game in relief of his MLB career, but the moment was not too big for the young righty, getting the three outs and notching his first career MLB save to send the Mariners to the next round.
Despite the hero of the comeback no longer representing the Mariners, as Frazier signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles in the off-season, he will be remembered fondly by the Seattle faithful and the comeback that he was a part of will become another memorable moment in a magical 2022 season for the club.