I spent the entirety of Labor Day Weekend camping in the Cascades. Completely out of cell range, I spent approximately 0.0001% of my time thinking about baseball (the only exception of course being Lookout Landing Night, I’m sorry I missed y’all) which was a decidedly welcome reprieve.
However, as Sir Isaac Newton pointed out some 300 years ago with his Third Law of Motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
After the bullpen succeeded in blowing quality starts from both Erasmo Ramírez and Ariel Miranda Monday and last night respectively, the Mariners found themselves facing the wrong end of a series sweep.
And tonight, again, the Mariners were given a chance to win thanks to yet another quality start, this time from the most unlikely of sources—Andrew Moore.
In his first start in the bigs since July 26th, Moore needed only 80 pitches to make it through 6 innings, surrendering just a pair of runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.
He attacked hitters with a fastball that topped out at 94 mph, punctuated by a changeup that looked as good as it’s been at any point this year. Here he is ringing up Marwin Gonzalez on a high fastball for one of his three strikeouts:
Moore only had two truly grievous mistakes: a hanging slider (Andrew, buddy, pal, when are you going to retire that pitch) launched into the gap by Alex Bregman in the 1st, and a borderline eephus curveball smoked by Gonzalez for a 2-run double in the 4th.
But because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the Mariners struggled to capitalize on this performance early on.
It took until the 5th inning for the M’s to record their first hit off of Houston starter Lance McCullers. Thankfully it was a Kyle Seager homer—his third in as many days.
The M’s then managed to chase McCullers in the 6th; following a Jean Segura hustle triple to start the inning, Robinson Canó sent him home with an opposite field single. Nelson Cruz followed with another single, and after Francisco Liriano picked up the second out of the inning on a Seager fielder’s choice, Mitch Haniger singled up the middle to score Cruz from second, who I’m fairly certain caused a minor seismic event on his way home:
But every action, yadda yadda, and the Astros added another run in the 7th to tie the game at 3-3, as George Springer wrestled a Nick Vincent fastball into center field, scoring Gonzalez.
Even then it felt like the Mariners had a decent shot at winning this game; Emilio Pagan pitched a solid 8th, and passing the reins to a fresh Edwin Díaz in the 9th, things seemed primed for a walk-off.
Carlos Beltrán socked a leadoff double, an inauspicious start to the inning, but Díaz was able to bounce back, retiring catcher Juan Centeno on a groundout. Then Cameron Maybin stepped to the plate.
The same Cameron Maybin who was claimed off waivers by the Astros a week ago. The same Cameron Maybin who’s batting .234 on the season. The same Cameron Maybin who had already struck out once tonight.
The same Cameron Maybin who hit the game-winning home run last night.
The same Cameron Maybin who somehow, against all odds, did the same damn thing again tonight.
In this eternal pendulum of a season, here’s to hoping momentum swings back toward the Seattle Mariners for their crucial series against the Angels this weekend. Newton at least would agree it’s physically possible.