On a young team with scarcely a glint of playoff expectations or all of its present, much less future figured out, Kyle Seager delivered a spark of hope in the form of a go-ahead home run.
Hang on, that’s not the right clip, today’s was with the club trailing a Midwestern foe, attempting to drag a bunch of inexperienced teammates towards the promised land.
No, no, they WON this one. They were trailing all day, he’d had a slow start at the plate as he has many Aprils, and the team was looking absolutely listless until he crushed not one but TWO bombs to carry the M’s to a win.
Well this is embarrassing. Let’s take it from the top.
This afternoon’s 8-6 comeback win saw the Mariners in a 6-0 hole as late as the top of the sixth inning. At that point the M’s had three hits and had seen starter Chris Flexen fill up the zone, being rewarded with lasers off the Minnesota bats all across the park. The ineffectualness of the back end of the Twins lineup, whose 6-7-8-9 hitters went 0-for-15 with a walk, kept the M’s in the game despite a series of scalding knocks by Byron Buxton and Nelson Cruz. A lesser opponent than the Bomba Squad might’ve been more forgiving to Flexen’s flirtations with the heart of the plate, but his stuff is not so overpowering as to safely live there against most clubs. It was a disappointing follow-up to his promising first outing.
The sixth inning began with Seager’s first homer of the day and season, which almost became a back-to-back affair when José Marmolejos skied one off the top of the wall, sort of, caroming up off a cushioned section onto what was apparently the TRUE zenith of the barrier, resulting in a mere double. A Luis Torrens single set the stage for Taylor Trammell’s second career big fly, and set into motion a series of surprising events.
Twins starter Matt Shoemaker hung the same slider badly to Seager and Trammell, and both lefties obliteration of the same pitch understandably upset the veteran pitcher. With a four-letter word apparently loud enough for the umpires to hear and take issue with, Shoemaker was surprisingly and quietly ejected and left a 6-4 game in ignominy. However, between an earlier hit by pitch Shoemaker delivered to Ty France, a second hit by pitch on France with a fastball from reliever Cody Stashak (which the M’s used to cut the lead to 6-5 in the 7th on a single and a fielder’s choice), and an errant changeup by Will Vest to Byron Buxton, things were on edge. Vest’s low-80s accident led to a warning for both dugouts, riling up Scott Servais more than a first round Creighton loss in March Madness and getting the M’s skipper ejected.
Despite the hit by pitch, Vest worked two shutout innings, and Drew Steckenrider followed with another scoreless frame to keep the M’s close. Entering the ninth trailing just 6-5 felt miraculous enough given a win probability of 98.2% for the Twins at one point in the bottom of the fifth.
The Twins brought in their closer, old friend Alex Colomé, who didn’t have it in the slightest. He fell behind Mitch Haniger and gave up a line drive single. He threw a listless cutter over the middle of the plate to Ty France who appears allergic to hitting the ball somewhere besides the outfield grass. And despite some suspect strike calls, with two on, in a 2-2 count, he tried to jam Kyle Seager and watched in what was surely similar disbelief to Seager himself, the announcing crew, and the fans at home as this ozone-tickling three-run homer put Seattle on top, where Rafael Montero would effortlessly keep them in the bottom of the frame.
That’s the one I was looking for.