I still haven't calmed down all the way from the Mariners game against the Rangers. A couple of people that I work with were actually lucky enough to get to go through a vendor hookup, and got to be there to witness the game. Through 8 innings, I felt bad for them. Yeah, they had great seats, but they had to sit there through a must win game while watching the Mariners struggle to score any runs. It truly looked like they were going to be there to see the Mariners season fall apart.
It was 2-1 through the first eight innings, and was a near replica of the last game that Logan Gilbert and Jordan Montgomery threw against eachother. Montgomery went six innings this time around, holding the Mariners to just five hits and two walks, with the Julio homer the only damage done to Texas.
On the other side, Logan Gilbert looked better than Montgomery. He gave up just three hits, walking none, and if nto for two mistakes, it would've been an amazing outing. Unfortunately, he gave up homers to both Leody Taveras and Adolis Garcia, and it was 2-1 Texas.
The bullpens did their jobs, with Campbell, Speier, and Munoz giving three strong hitless relief innings for the Mariners, allowing just one walk. It looked like the Rangers were going to do the same and shut the door, as Heaney and LeClerc each through a hitless inning. All of a sudden, it was the bottom of the ninth and the Rangers were putting midseason acquisition Aroldis Chapman on the mound.
With a 3.10 ERA since being acquired, Chapman looked like his old self and was a highly valuable acquisition by Texas. He's been striking hitters out at an incredible rate as well, 15.52 per 9. Thursday night... well, that was not prime Chapman and every Mariners fan appreciated it.
Cal Raleigh took a 1-0 fastball and hit it to Left Center for a single. Dylan Moore hit an 0-1 splitter for a single, and all of a sudden it looked like the Mariners might have a chance. That increased tenfold when Chapman uncorked a wild pitch, and all of a sudden the Mariners had the winning run on second with no outs. Ty France would take four straight pitches, and now the bases were loaded.
Chapman was pulled for Hernandez, and he got Mike Ford to fly out to shallow Center and Rojas to foul out to third. Two outs now, and it looked like the Mariners were once again going to be struck by the NOBLETIGER (No Outs, Bases Loaded, Ending with Team Incapable of Getting Easy Run.)
Except, the Mariners had a secret weapon. His name?
Crawford. John Paul Crawford.
Strike One. Ball One. Bases loaded, two outs. Crawford took the 1-1 sinker and ripped it into deep left field. Evan Carter, the Rangers LF, took off and it looked like it was going to be close.
I'm not going to lie, I am still nervous sitting here thinking about what could've happened if Carter had taken a better line at it. A part of me thinks that he had in his mind that Crawford didn't have that kind of pop to go over his head in left, especially on a pitch in the upper left corner of the strike zone. Instead, Crawford cleared Carter, shorthopping the wall. Here comes Dumper. Here comes Moore, and the Mariners won the game 3-2!
JP Crawford kept the Mariners season going, and made the race just a little bit tighter. Houston won, and so did Toronto, so it was definitely a must win game, and JP came through when it mattered most.