From the moment the lineups dropped, today had all the makings of a “caring about baseball is stupid” day. Rather than going outside and soaking up a picturesque Northwest day, or using this Sunday that is more like a Saturday to take part in society, I sat alone and willingly watched the Mariners. Even better, they were trotting out an offense without injured Jean Segura and Dee Gordon, injured/suspended Robinson Canó, and resting Mike Zunino. It was also announced before the game that Edwin Díaz would be nothing more than a spectator.
Minnesota wasted little time ganging up on Mike Leake, giving the impression that they would continue to do so as the afternoon progressed. While Eddie Rosario excuse me’d a check swing single into left field to start the second inning, Eduardo Escobar squared up a sinker for a solid RBI double into the gap. LoMo lined a ball to Ben Gamel in the Twins’ next plate appearance, before Ehire “Hold Me Closer” Adrianza narrowly missed another RBI double down the right field line. His foul ball landed on the Mariners’ preferred side of the line, and he was later retired on a harmless fly ball to center. Leake wriggled his way out of the inning with just one run against him despite a barrage of hard contact.
In the fourth inning we saw a fascinating social dynamic unfold. Saddling into the batter’s box, his team trailing by a run, was the newly-goateed Kyle Seager.
His adversary: an also-goateed José Berríos. As societal rules state, there can only be one goateed alpha male in a building at any given time. In this instance, it was Kyle Seager.
Kyle’s homer seemed to calm things down for Leake, as he silenced the Twins with efficient fifth and sixth innings consisting of nothing but weak contact (Leake contact?). Rosario opened the seventh with a hit, but Leake cut and sank LoMo into a double play to erase that scoring threat. The crafty Sun Devil went one more inning, eliciting three more ground balls on #LeakeContact to retire the Twins. That turned things over to the Mariners 2-3-4 hitters in the bottom of the frame, needing just one run of any sort to take the lead.
In what seems like a metaphor for his entire season to this point, Ben Gamel got things going with his third single off Berríos, then immediately deleted it by getting caught stealing second. I don’t mind him running there, especially with how well Berríos was thumbing the ball, but getting thrown out made it a lot easier to be mad at Ben Gamel again. When Haniger drew a walk, mercifully laying off the down-and-outside stuff that plagued him all afternoon, Berríos was finally chased from the game after getting into the eighth inning in his third consecutive outing. Three (3) pitching changes, a strikeout, and a single later, Ryon Healy donned the cape and admirably assumed the role of hero. Addison Reed grooved a fastball right into Ryon’s happy zone, and Seattle’s best bro delivered the game-winning double, topped off by some more incredible content.
Oh look, another GIF of Ryon being equal parts lovable and powerful. I hope he continues GIFing his way into my heart for the next several years. As soon as Healy’s laser reached the wall – shout out to Eddie Rosario and his atrocious angle – it was curtains for the Twins. A two-run lead feels like an enormous chasm for a team that has earned its money in one-run wins all season. Even with Edwin Díaz stapled to the bench, Healy’s rocket past Rosario had cooked Minnesota’s goose. The energy he fused into the stadium was too great to go to waste, and probably helped Álex Colomé ride the wave to his first Mariner save.
Leake throwing eight frames just hours removed from a 12-inning affair was a massive benefit. Colomé was the only reliever needed, and he clocked out after just nine pitches. The Mariners swept the Twins for technically their second time this month, and moved to 12 games above .500 for the first time since 2016.
This team, despite playing nowhere near its best baseball, looked hungry and determined all day. Leake took down the Twins in workman-like fashion, pitching as if he were on deadline, relenting only when his team no longer needed him. Seager stepped up and capitalized on one of Berríos’ only mistakes, and Healy did the exact same when Reed tried to sneak a bad pitch past him.
Through all the pleasant surprises, breakouts for players like Mitch, Edwin, Pax, and Guillermo, and the weirdly high amount of awesome Mariner moments this season, one of the few things missing was a sweep. As we starved for a sweep, dreading the thought of what looked to be an inevitable extra-inning slog, one man who shared our hunger drove us to fullness.
Satisfaction, thy name is Ryon Healy.