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Mariners fire on all cylinders, speed past Rays to notch series sweep in walk-off fashion

This game had it all

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners
Poof there it is
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, I’ll say it. Best series of the season, and maybe one of the best games of the year. It had everything: High-stakes pitching match-ups, glorious defensive plays, adventurous baserunning and a walk-off grand slam. What a gift.

And hey, speaking of gifts, Happy Father’s Day! Despite spending many, many afternoons and evenings scarfing Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium, my dad is not what anyone would classify as a baseball fan. But he tries, as he does with any number of things that the women in his life love (opera, poodles, fashion, etc.) to understand and engage. Not only that, but he was remarkably understanding of my need to disrupt his day with this recap. So, in salute to him, and hopefully to aid in his upcoming voyage to T-Mobile, here is today’s lineup as cars that have spent time in our garage over the years.

[Notes on today’s game and performances in brackets, because I know this is still a baseball blog and not an adequate substitute for a real gift.]

J.P. Crawford - 1970 Dodge Supercharger

[It was a slightly off day for the offensively scorching hot J.P., but he did maintain his hitting streak with a single in the third and, of course, turned two double plays.]

Cool as all get out, and the flashiest in any lineup.

Mitch Haniger - 1964 Studebaker Avanti

[Three Ks and a groundout did not make for a great DH performance today. Fortunately the bottom half of the lineup carried him.]

Acquired as a daily driver at first, but aging into a classic treasure. You name it, he can do it.

Kyle Seager - 1979 Pegaso

[It continues to be tough to watch Kyle at the plate. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and I’m just hoping he can shake himself out of whatever funk this has been. His kids remain extremely cute though.]

A self-made gem that has weathered a great many moves. Still as remarkable as ever, but could use a few small tweaks to boost performance (like seatbelts, Dad).

Ty France - 1967 Ghia 450SS

[France hit a gorgeous, game-tying solo homer in the first and made a nice play on a tough hop to start a double play, but he also may have injured his wrist/arm on his backswing in the ninth. Please, please be okay.]

A not-so-surprise MVP, the M’s are likely weighing the odds now of keeping and building around him or trading him to fill one of their many holes.

Dylan Moore - 1972 Lancia Fulvia

[Maybe clawing his way out of the offensive pit in which he’d been languishing?]

Compact ‘n cute with just enough spunk to make things interesting.

Jake Bauers - 1949 Chrysler

[He didn’t look nightmarish in right field, so that’s something. Positional flexibility with speed and some offensive upside isn’t a bad profile to have on your bench.]

A completely unexpected discovery who has proven to be a real treat in his short stint thus far. Will he stick around? TBD.

Luis Torrens - 1972 Ford LTD convertible

[Torrens continued his tear since returning from Tacoma, crushing his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the third. Also didn’t allow any stolen bases today!]

A sneaky steal with a surprisingly ardent fanbase, he may not have star power but has the potential to pack a memorable punch.

Jake Fraley - Von Dutch Belly Tank Rocket Car

[Others in the lineup had more disastrous offensive performances, but Fraley’s spot in the lineup today made his failings at the plate feel worse due to leaving four men stranded on the day. A leaping moment of defensive brilliance, and also a pretty brutal sun-obscured play at the fence.]

Nonsense. Total nonsense. But also sneakily valuable?

Shed Long Jr. - 1953 Giaur Champion Roadster

[Walk. Off. Grand. Slam.]

Might be small, but a game-ending showstopper.

Marco Gonzales - 1969 Barracuda

[Marco went 6.1 innings with six Ks and two earned runs. Personally, even though he was at 80-some pitches, I wouldn’t have brought him out for the seventh. He was strong to start but looked like he was laboring towards the end of the sixth, and it would have been nice to see him go out on a high after striking out Austin Meadows to end the threat.]

Okay, this one is a bit of a lazy comp but Mom loves Marco and Mom loved this ‘Cuda - and all the subsequent ‘Cudas over the years. Not the fanciest, and not a ton of horsepower relatively speaking, but a pretty guaranteed good time no matter the road.

Note: Marco has no connection to Marissa Tomei that I know of.

The Bullpen - Nana’s 1998 Toyota Camry

[I’ve talked a lot of crap about the 2021 Mariners bullpen and you know what? I was wrong. I still stand by my assertions that they’re not particularly pleasant to watch, but they collectively had another scoreless day with hitless performances from Anthony Misiewicz, Drew Steckenrider, Paul Sewald and Rafael Montero.]

Despite all odds, and some minor sabotage by family members desperate for a new car, this ‘ol sedan is still performing admirably. Utterly unremarkable aesthetically - some might even say it’s ugly to see on the road - this is the workhorse of the family fleet. At least five people have learned to drive in it, it’s clunked out and been subsequently resuscitated on two highway interstates, and no one wants to know what’s under the seats. But it’ll still get you where you need to go.