In another year, this might have been a loss.
With the Mariners up 4-3 and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, a wild pitch from Steve Cishek sent Stephen Vogt to first. Tyler Ladendorf came in to pinch run and stole second. Chris Coghlan walked. With Jed Lowrie up to bat, the stage seemed set for a same-old-Mariners late-inning collapse.
But then, Steve Cishek, master of scaring me and then getting the final out, threw this...
...and the Mariners were able to get the win despite nearly squandering their strong start.
I don't have eloquent philosophy or funny jokes to sum up the game; all I know is what I saw: The Mariners looked good tonight. They managed four runs on 12 hits, none of which were the result of a dinger. Nathan Karns spent six innings doing his damndest to prove that Dipoto won the Rays trade, fanning five and walking none. Stumbles (and some atrocious baserunning) aside, this was a fun game to watch, and an encouraging sign for the season.
Oakland opened up scoring in the second when Khris Davis blasted a solo home run off of a 76 MPH knuckle curve. He'd prove to be the thorn in the Mariners' side when he came up to bat with one on in the seventh inning, took one look at the exact same pitch, and decided it was time to put the team on his back.
Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) May 3, 2016
Davis' two homers were all the runs the Athletics could manage, and the Mariners defense played no small part. Ketel Marte resumed his role as Baseball Magnet, making two sweet grabs to end the second and fifth innings. Unfortunately MLB decided only one was video-worthy, and it's not even embeddable. Here's a super low-quality GIF courtesy of good old MLBAM:
On the other side of the plate, the M's pulled together some competent at-bats, stringing together hits to score runs. Is that the basic premise of baseball? Yes. Is it still exciting to see actually play out in an honest-to-god Mariners baseball game? Yes.
In the fourth, Cano doubled, Cruz singled, Lind singled to score Caro. Kyle Seager flied out. Cruz then showcased the art of the TOOTBLAN, getting thrown out at coming into the third on an Ianetta flyout to prove that these are still the Seattle Mariners.
In the sixth, Kyle Seager—he of the abysmal BABIP—smacked a sharp double down the third baseline to score Cano, and a single from Iannetta sent Seager home three pitches later.
The deciding run scored in a rather unconventional fashion. Nori Aoki doubled, and as he slid to steal third, Vogt's throw went wide, and Aoki had enough time to get up, dust himself off, and cross home plate. 4-1 Mariners in the top of the seventh.
Karns exited in the bottom of the frame after surrendering a single, a home run, and a double, and the bullpen held down the fort, keeping runners off the basepaths through the end of the eighth.
You already know what happened in the ninth.
Last season, this game would very likely have been a loss—hell, I could even see the A's tying it up, and the Mariners losing it in extras. But that's not this season, and that's not this team. The Mariners won tonight, and it felt good. I'll be at tomorrow's game, and I'm ready to see a win in person.
So for today and tomorrow and the next day, Go M's.