The Pirates and Mariners began their series with similar win-loss records: 25-24 for the Pirates and 26-24 for the Mariners. I anticipated a close matchup but, shiver me timbers, playing the Pirates was unpredictable!
Game One on Friday, May 26: Pirates 11, Mariners 6
Was it the wonderful T-Mobile Park atmosphere and weather? Was it a pact that the Pirates made among themselves on the plane? Some superpower enabled the Pittsburgh Pirates to negate the prediction that this would be a low-scoring game and score seven home runs instead. Pittsburgh players McCutchen, Santana, Hayes, Marcano, and Reynolds each homered and Suwinski hit two home runs. (Note that it was great to see Carlos Santana but was not as enjoyable to see him hit a home run against the Mariners.)
The Mariners caught the HR spirit, however, because Rodriguez and Crawford hit home runs too, As Ryan Rowland-Smith said, the game "was a head-scratcher."
Game Two: Saturday, May 27, Mariners 5, Pirates 0
I started watching Game Two with increased apprehension after the home run fest. I did not need to worry: the Pirates were not hitting. They were either striking out, grounding out, or flying out. Luis Castillo masterfully kept this up for the first six innings followed by Speier, Brash, Gott, and Topa.
The Mariners started scoring early. In the first inning, J.P. Crawford and Ty France both doubled, scoring the first run. Eugenio Suarez singled and France scored. A single from Cal Raleigh and a double from Teoscar Hernandez allowed Suarez to score so it was SEA 3, PIT 0, going into the second inning.
In the second inning, Crawford and France were on base from a single and a walk, Rodriguez doubled which sent Crawford home. In the bottom of the seventh, Rodriguez singled and then stole second base. When the Pirates overthrew the ball, he jogged over to third. Then Suarez hit a sacrifice fly. Julio raced home, had a collision with the catcher, and was ruled out. The Mariners challenged the out and the call was overturned. The score remained SEA 5, PIT 0 until the game ended.
On Friday, the Pirates tied their record for most home runs. On Saturday, they tied their record for strikeouts.
Game Three: Sunday, May 28, Mariners 6, Pirates 3
After the first two games of extremes from the Pirates, it was hard to predict what would come next. Julio Rodriguez hit a home run in his first at-bat of the game. SEA 1 PIT 0. Marco Gonzales and Luis Ortiz kept things quiet for a few innings.
Cal Raleigh homered in the bottom of the fourth inning: SEA 2 PIT 0. In the fifth inning, after two singles and a sacrifice fly, Ji Hwan Bae scored for the Pirates. In the bottom of the same inning, JP Crawford scored off of a Jarred Kelenic double: SEA 3 PIT 1.
The combination of a single and a Reynolds triple in the eighth inning sent McCutchen home: SEA 3, PIT 2. After Paul Sewald threw a wild pitch, Reynolds also scored. At the end of the inning, the score was SEA 3, PIT 3. Tie game!
The game remained tied through the ninth inning and into the tenth. With runners in scoring position, Tayler Saucedo struck out Ke’Bryan Hayes and kept the score tied at 3-3. In the bottom of the tenth, J.P. Crawford started on second and moved to third. The Pittsburgh pitcher walked Jarred Kelenic who then made it to second due to defensive indifference.
Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. Mariners win! The final score was SEA 6, PIT 3.
JP Crawford, Julio Rodriguez, and Eugenio Suarez stood out at bat over this series. Crawford had five hits, one of which was an HR, one walk, and two RBI. Julio had six hits, including two HRs, one walk, and four RBIs. Suarez had three hits, including a home run, one walk, and four RBIs.
George Kirby uncharacteristically struggled as the starting pitcher in the first game. Luis Castillo and Marco Gonzales pitched very well. A shout out to the bullpen, especially Saucedo and Flexen on Friday; Brash, Gott, and Topa on Saturday; and Brash, Speier, Sewald, Gott, and Saucedo on Sunday!