I started typing up this recap in the bottom of the eighth.
The Mariners were leading 7-4, thanks in large part to newly-acquired Yonder Alonso, who bashed out three hits–including his first home run in a Mariners uniform–and drove in three runs.
It was a pleasant game. Starter Marco Gonzales struggled to put hitters away, surrendering 9 hits and 4 runs over 4.1 innings, but the offense was so good against poor ol’ Ubaldo Jimenez that it didn’t matter. In addition to Alonso, the Mariners received multi-hit efforts from Jean Segura (3-for-5), Danny Valencia (2-for-4), and Mike Zunino (2-for-3). Every single starter recorded a hit. They all combined for just three strikeouts. It was that kind of day–a fun, easy-going experience full of dingers and sweet, sweet victory.
And then, of course, because baseball is baseball and the Mariners are the Mariners and the 2017 season is the gift that keeps on giving, the ninth inning happened. We’ll paint a picture:
It is the top of the ninth inning. The Baltimore Orioles have their 8-9-1 hitters coming up. Seth ‘the Professional’ Smith is on-deck. Edwin Diaz is on the hill spitting fire. The crowd is alive and ready for a win.
Leadoff hitter Caleb Joseph fouls off several pitches–one of which is nearly caught by Leonys Martin on a sliding attempt–and works a walk. Not ideal, but it’s okay!
The next hitter, Smith, walks on four pitches. Only one of them (the first) is particularly close.
The next hitter, Tim Beckham, lays off a few two-strike sliders and works a walk of his own. Manny Machado is up. The bases are loaded and no one is out. At this point I have accepted the fact that I’m going to have to delete the entire recap and start over, only now with the saddest possible narrative instead of the joyful, “Mariners are back to .500!” narrative I’m working with in this very moment. I am prepared. Others are prepared. Diaz’s front shoulder and right arm are prepared.
Diaz misses badly with his first two pitches and leaves a 2-0 fastball over the plate for Machado, who swings accordingly.
He doesn’t totally square it up and, as a result, the ball heads for the gap rather than for the parking lot. This, of course, is where Leonys Martin would engage Hero Mode:
A run scores, but the first out is achieved. Diaz settles and easily puts away the next hitter, Jonathan Schoop, on four pitches. The Mariners have this. It’s all fine. Everything is totally fi–
Servais would get ejected arguing the hit-by-pitch ruling and Diaz would remain in the game, now approaching 40 pitches. Old friend Mark Trumbo is now batting.
Diaz rocks and fires.
At this point in time the whole LL Slack is having a meltdown, and by whole LL Slack I mean the three or four of us who are present. The loss is coming, it’s just a matter of how.
The Mariners finally go to the bullpen, bringing in Marc Rzepczynski to face Chris Davis. Rzepczynski has struggled with walks all year long. He’s been better lately, but this still largely feels like a dice roll. This could end well and this could end not well and I’m barely able to look.
Rzepczynski throws a pair of sinkers to get ahead, 0-2. The second offering was down the middle, but Davis was unable to connect–a thunderous swing achieving no more than a thunderous miss. It’s now probably time for the slider away. If he chases, great! If he doesn’t chase, it’s okay! You’ll still have some pitches to play with.
Rzepczynski is feeling it today, however. Today, Rzepczynski is untouchable. Today, Rzepczynski is gonna throw an 0-2 sinker right down the middle and dare Chris Davis to do anything with it.
He hurls it.
The Mariners win!
The Mariners win!
I swear, by the moon and the stars in the sky, the Mariners win!