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Action star Mariners stumble into Oakland horror movie, but outlast the A’s 7-2

Agency is a privilege.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The liminal space between horror, action, and farce is delineated by little more than the angle of the camera and the perspective of the viewer. A sentient slime creature wreaks havoc on an unsuspecting scientist and those around them: The Thing (1982) and Flubber (1997). A British man’s quest for revenge leads him to cut a bloody path through rich and poor alike: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), half the D&D campaigns in the world, and most of Jason Statham’s filmography. It is a matter of perspective as to how one story can be presented, and whether the participants in that story have any agency over its outcome that can vastly impact how we feel as we observe it.

Tonight, as it seems may be their permanent state as they drift listlessly forward, the Oakland Athletics awoke in another horror movie, powerless to alter their course or their fate. The Seattle Mariners, covered in over-the-top prop guts and gore, hacked their way free, quaffing cigars and quipping amiably at the extra innings death knell at last, with no Orpheus-like urge to glance back at their quivering, broken opponent that remains buried under the carnage, gasping for breaths that grow ever harder to draw fully.

It wasn’t all body horror and brutalism, of course. The A’s took the first lead of the game, snapping off two runs on a pair of doubles from Esteury Ruiz and man-Seattle-should-trade-for-before-the-game-tomorrow-if-for-no-other-reason-than-to-ensure-he-can’t-suit-up-against-them-anymore Tony Kemp. That pockmarked what was an otherwise excellent outing for Logan Gilbert, who nonetheless looked, like Bryce Miller a night ago, in line for a hard-luck loss. Fortunately, the bullpen was once again airtight, as four innings went without incident as Seattle would need them all to claw back a victory.

The comeback began in the top of the 7th, as Jose Caballero, who was 3-5 on the night with strong contact at every opportunity, lashed a line drive single to knock in AJ Pollock on a well-placed slider. Pollock played the hero last night, and he decided he deserved an encore, joining Caballero and J.P. Crawford (whose defensive play saved multiple runs) to reach base a collective 8 times as the 7-8-9 hitters, something the club has desperately needed. Specifically, in the top of the 9th, Pollock touched all four bases, rescuing Seattle from what would have been an infuriating loss.

Kate gave Pollock a designation akin to Seth Smith on this evening’s performance, and while I’d like to see the piscine veteran perform a bit more evenly before giving him the patriarchal designation, it’s easy to appreciate the exceptional punctuality of Pollock’s last couple big flies. If not Smith, at least Pollock is on an Adam Lind-like trajectory for big hits when the team seems sure to lose, if rarely elsewise.

That 2-2 knotting meant extra innings, because Matt Brash was adamant that the only thing that goes bump in the Oakland night was A’s bats as they thud impotently back on the bat rack after waving at air. To the top of the 10th, the tension, a good plate appearance to walk by Julio, who was patient but unrewarded most of the evening, followed by two brutal strikeouts from Ty France and Sam Haggerty, the latter in to face a lefty pitcher for Taylor Trammell from earlier, who in turn was in after Jarred Kelenic got ejected for, well, something he said after striking out. To the slumping, shambling, shuddering Suárez it went, and then...

Good Vibes have not been the only kind present for Eugenio, whose poor start to 2023 has yawned open wider and threatened to undercut a lineup that cannot afford more missed opportunities. But this is why he’s here, like the frightened would-be victim who suddenly is behind the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle, the boot is on the other foot, and that foot is pressing down the gas pedal, bearing down on the killer with the cleaver. Suárez gave the Mariners the agency they needed to bring the action, J.P. Crawford’s subsequent bases-loaded RBI single made it a laugher. 7-2, and tomorrow when the sun rises they’ll play again. Seattle will be standing in the light. For the A’s, the shade seems hungry to devour them for good.