Maybe it was the afternoon start or maybe the presence of Dan The Man Wilson on the broadcast (paired with Dave Sims, which I’ve decided is my favorite pairing), but today was moderately...pleasant baseball? The Mariners hung tough, despite a rocky beginning that featured Fernando Tatis Jr. homering in a 3-2 count on a middle-middle slider in the first at-bat of the game. Yusei Kikuchi settled down after that, though, working relatively stress-free into the fourth inning, where his command started to slip. After getting two quick outs, Kikuchi walked the next two batters to load the bases, but was able to get Austin Hedges to pop out to end the threat. Again, Kikuchi had to work around some trouble in the fifth after giving up a leadoff single to Tatis Jr., and wild-pitching him over to second, but rebounded to strike out the side. Kikuchi finished his day with eight strikeouts, his second-highest mark on the season (trailing only his excellent start against Cleveland). It’s the first time he’s given up just one earned run since June 13.
Kikuchi also got some help from this excellent sliding grab by Keon Broxton:
#TrueToTheBlue x @KeonDDBroxton pic.twitter.com/i9NrpMhgAo— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 7, 2019
It was especially gratifying since the Padres attempted a couple of diving plays of their own to...less success. The first of those plays allowed Tom Tom “Bang the Drum” Murphy to get a triple, which was called generously called a triple, and eventually come in to score on a Kyle Seager RBI groundout, tying the game.
Me thinking I can accomplish something on deadline/me waving at the deadline as it whistles by pic.twitter.com/jBd1NM6ooD— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) August 7, 2019
Seager was also involved in the Mariners scoring their second run, which he decided to do on his own without any assists from teammates or opposing fielders:
The Padres would tie the game up on a Francisco Mejia home run off Brandon Brennan. It wasn’t a bad pitch and Brennan looked pretty sharp in his inning; Mejia just went down and got a 95.5 mph sinker that was located here:
Sometimes all you can do is tip your cap, alllllll the way down there.
With the bullpen on against a potent Padres lineup, it seemed like a fait accompli that the Mariners would let this one slip away late. But Sam Tuivailala and Matt Magill held down the seventh and eighth innings, with four strikeouts and no walks between them.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Mariners managed to scrape across what would be the go-ahead run, again aided by Will Myers trying to Do To Much when Mallex Smith “doubled” on a fly ball to left. J.P. Crawford bunted him over to third (Mallex was initially called out but the Mariners smartly challenged and won), and then, as he has done so often this season, Daniel Vogelbach provided the lift the Mariners needed, although not in the way you think. But first, a flashback to the first inning, when Vogelbach was steaming after a called strike three call that was, uh, not a strike:
Vogel-robbed on this called third strike. The big fella is not happy with home plate ump Jim Reynolds pic.twitter.com/O1SeK4vvMm— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 7, 2019
Vogey was really, really unhappy, as this comes on the heels of him being tossed last night for a similarly poor call:
OLD TOWN ROAD remix feat Daniel Vogelbach: Can't nobody tell me nothing (about the strike zone) pic.twitter.com/eeez9Z1rUm— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) August 7, 2019
But as frustrated as he was, he recognized it was the first inning and minded his Ps and Qs after this brief bit of belly-aching. And thank goodness he did, or we wouldn’t have gotten the run-scoring play here:
look at this VOGELHUSTLE pic.twitter.com/h6SGOZINSi— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) August 8, 2019
The Mariners get off the schneid against the Padres and go into their off-day with a win. Remember, if Tom Murphy can triple and Daniel Vogelbach can beat out a potential double play from started by one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops in the same game, you too can achieve your dreams.