The Seattle Mariners have spent the last two weeks digging a hole. Sometimes digging reveals bits of history, be they a shard of a pot from hundreds of years past, or a bone your dog put there to hide from whatever dogs think will be taking their unhidden bones. Today the Mariners discovered that they had dug too deep, and found something perhaps they should not have. A portal to another realm, a land of rot and decay and inversion. Fortunately for them, as they slipped into this rotting vortex, the Rangers were strolling along, head in the clouds, and fell headlong into the hole alongside the M’s. Covered in muck and slime, the two teams, as enemies do, began to swing at one another. Both teams quickly discovered the many ways the rules were different in this fight than in those before.
Cole Hamels, he of the .199/.268/.287 slash allowed to lefties this year, started out the game by allowing a home run off the bat to Robinson Canó that evacuated the field of play at a pace suggesting it was being chased by a nightmare.
The first inning has been an explosive affair for the Mariners lately, and the inning continued with Kyle Seager reaching base, and then stealing second, since today was for the peculiar. Dae-Ho Lee, shielded from the strange effects of the unnatural surroundings by his recent Tacoma brining, smacked one of his two RBI singles on the day. Leonys Martín hopped on base, and then the beast appeared. With a newborn child he had emerged from the south to feast, and the horror was hungry.
His name was Jesus. Look upon his face, ye mighty, and despair.
Jesus “Diablo” Sucre stomped into the fray and raised his career average against Hamels to .666 (thank you @Isabelle for noting this) and went 3-3 for the day with two RBIs. Sucre’s three hits traveled a maximum of ~300 feet in the air, but that was enough in this twisted mirror world of a game. Nelson Cruz, the most powerful man on either team, tapped a ball 36 mph off the bat, yet came away with a base hit.
Texas would not die easily, however. While Hamels didn’t make it through the second inning, Félix was warped by his proximity to the void as well. The second inning nearly lay the King low too, with a low hanging home run from Nomar Mazara and several walks that quickly raised his pitch count worryingly. With the score at 7-5 after two frames, it seemed the distortions were destined to wobble back and forth, favoring the Mariners, and then the Rangers, and then chaos itself.
In the sixth inning, however, the Rangers very being seemed to unravel. Several of the Mariners nine walks were surrendered here, and, in a game where every Mariners’ starter reached base at least once, the Rangers became trapped in the mire. As Franklin Gutierrez drove a bases loaded double into the gap to bring himself a triple away from a cycle on the day, the Mariners saw the light of day shine on their faces for the first time in what felt like days. The whole stadium filled with warmth as the M’s easily glided to security. They felt safe, and they were safe.
At least for today.