This week on Mariners Mondays, ROOT Sports treated us to walk off or go ahead wins in close contests. The 2015 Mariners were 10-13 in extra innings games, and 28-29 in one run games. That sucked. Mercifully, ROOT declined to show us any of that heartbreak, instead reminding us of eleven contests that came down to the wire from which the Mariners emerged victorious and covered in trash. No really.
Win the First
Mariners 2, Rays 3, Top of the 8th.
Jake McGee gives up back to back singles to Rickie Weeks and Robinson Cano. That brings up Nelson Cruz, who the broadcast helpfully notes is hitting .533 with 6 home runs against left handed pitching. Hey Jake! Jake! I might suggest just pitching around him? Maybe just pitch around him, buddy. No? You're good? Well. Nelson hits the ball hard right to Franklin, who forgets how gloves work, and commits an error. Ok, Jake that wasn't your fault. Nick should have caught that. You should have an out on the board. But you don't so... oh buddy. This is going to sting. KYLE SEAGER GRAND SLAM. Poor Jake McGee. Kyle then sends a game winning solo shot over the wall in the 10th (insert Rodney swears), Joe Beimel gets the save, and we all feel a little self conscious that Mariners Monday is showing this Rays game. Again.
Win the Second
Mariners 0, Rays 0, Top of the 9th.
Nelson Cruz launches a three run home run into the stingray tank to give Felix the win on a beauty of a pitching performance. This home run was pretty great. Chris Archer might disagree. The sting rays, meanwhile, can't help but raise their wings (?) in awed salute.
Win the Third
Mariners 4, A's 4, Top of the 11th.
Fernando Abad pitching. The Mariners were 1-3. Opening Week is still painted on the field. The whole world was ahead of us. Dustin Ackley bunts Logan Morrison over the 2nd. We bunted with one on and no outs in the 11th. Lloyd. Brad Miller knocks in an RBI double. Fernando did Abad pitching.
After backing up the ball boy, Fernando Rodney sees his first action of the season. "First pitch, way outside." Feelings: normal, a thing you should have, not a malady, potentially indigestion when Rodney is involved. But Rodney gets the save and shoots the arrow, we all dream hopeful dreams. Tyler Olson gets the win. Ackley and Morrison and Miller all did good things, and were still Seattle Mariners. What a world.
Win the Fourth
Mariners 7, A's 7, Top of the 10th.
Rickie Weeks (!!) is up. Then Rickie is out. Robinson Cano is up. Then Robbie is out. And then? Nelson Cruz hits his second home run in as many days. He didn't even get all of it. He didn't have to. Like so many very strong baseball men before him, he was just very strong.
Tyler Clippard's punishment for blowing this game? This uniform, probably.
Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) February 8, 2016
The dugout is so happy. We had so much hope. Now I'm a little sad. But not as sad as Tyler Clippard is in that uniform. Are they trying to make him look as much like a literal snake as possible? Yoervis Medina (!!!) gets the save because sure, he's a human who baseballed for this team.
Win the Fifth
Mariners 2, Tigers 2, Top of the 12th.
Chris Taylor on. Mike Zunino is facing Ian Krol, and shows bunt early. His next few attempts dribble foul. I had hoped that faced with the seeming impossibility of bunting, he would look directly at the broadcast camera and yell, "Eff it!" and do this:
But Mike is a respectful young man, and settled for a gentlemen's double. The ball hits the stands and juts away from Yoenis Cespedes, and Taylor turns on his hamster jets and scores. This was in the middle of Mike's Joyful Period. It was not to last, but it was a fun two weeks.
Win the Sixth
Mariners 6, Tigers 6, Bottom of the 11th.
Austin Jackson faces Ian Krol, having hit his first career grand slam earlier in the evening. Ajax bunts the ball foul directly behind home plate. In the future, somewhere on the Kitsap Peninsula, Nathan experiences a shooting pain just above his heart and knows not why. After a long battle, Guti gets one through the hole on the left side. And then Robbie. Broken and bruised Robbie. Pilloried Robbie. Robbie doubles to right and wins it.
After the game, Robbie will tell Jen Mueller that he doesn't feel that well, but he's the kind of guy who just loves baseball. In that moment, we did, too.
Win the Seventh
Mariners 1, Red Sox 1, Bottom of the 9th.
Goodness Safeco looks full. Goodness this Red Sox fans are obnoxious. Don't worry guys, the Patriots will win the Super Bowl in February! Just kidding, no.
Nelson sends a double deep into left center, scoring Brad Miller, and Logan Morrison carries him here, there, and everywhere.
Then LoMo covers him trash because that's... that's how they do things in Florida?
Win the Eighth
Mariners 5, Orioles 5, Bottom of the 10th.
The fourteen other home teams had already won, leaving the Mariners the only home team with remaining to do on the baseball historical group project. LoMo and Brad Miller are on the corners. Mike Zunino works a walk (!). Then Austin Jackson singles. All fifteen home teams win on the same day for the first time in baseball history. The Mariners avoid side eye from the junta of overachieving students leading the group and go back to eating paste and goofing around on Twitter.
Win the Ninth
Mariners 3, A's 3 Bottom of the 11th.
LoMo vs. Dan Otero. Earlier in this game, LoMo forgot how many outs there were, slowed up on his way to second and got doubled off at first. LOMO GETS INTO ONE ON THE FIRST PITCH AND WALKS THE MARINERS OFF. AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE A LOMO WALK OFF PARTY BECAUSE A LOMO WALK OFF PARTY DOESN'T NEED TO COUNT. HE TATTOOS IT. A FACE TATTOO. WAIT NO, THOSE ARE BAD.
And then, Nelson Cruz covered him in trash. Because Florida?
Win the Tenth
Mariners 5, Canadian Invasion 5, Bottom of the 10th.
Franklin Gutierrez. You know what, I won't try to put this into words. Matt already did it perfectly.
And then, a split second before touching the bag, he sees the baseball land past the left field fence. And at that moment, Franklin Gutierrez takes flight, his arms as wings finding a pocket of air, lifting him higher than he had ever been during any single damned moment of any of these goddamned nightmare years filled with doctor appointments and phone calls back home and meetings with the training staff--those kind folks who could really learn to do some work as soon as they find out how to funnel the power of sympathy into effective restorative medicine.
As Guti rounds the corner, you can see his eyes close, and then his head bobs up and down a few times and he is flying, flying, the clouds are the ground. Something died right there, after touching first base. Something died, and something was born again.
Win the Eleventh
Mariners 9, Rangers 10, Bottom of the 9th.
Brad Miller hits one off the top of
Roughned Rougned Odor for a single. Seth Smith walks. Austin Jackson works a hell of an at-bat and hits a line drive into right field as Miller scores. Goodness me, Safeco was so loud and full of hope. Tie games will do that I suppose. Rickie Weeks flys out and we dare not test the arm of future Mariners Leonys Martin. The Rangers walk Cano because no one knew he was hurt yet. Which brings up Cruz. Professional hit man Nelson Cruz. Come for you and your feelings and loved ones in the dead of night Nelson Cruz. Game winning base hit Nelson Cruz. 5 RBI Nelson Cruz. Crazed Danny Farquhar and Charlie Furbush dump the gatorade, and Cano pies him. Welcome to Seattle, Nelson. Stay awhile, won't you?