A shocker, a stunner, a stone-cold, category 5 mind-blower. The Seattle Mariners, against the wall and with every reason to have lost tonight’s game, pulled off one of their most immediately memorable victories of the season over the Los Angeles Angels. A 5-3 M’s victory wasn’t an unthinkable outcome, as Seattle has won games Shohei Ohtani has started before in Anaheim, including 2021’s September comeback in Anaheim’s final home Ohtani start, with the presumptive 2023 AL MVP ceding a solo shot to Jarred Kelenic to tie the game. But it’s rarely felt as though Seattle could make hay against Ohtani, and tonight was hardly different.
Before Ohtani was pulled from pitching at just 59 pitches after 4 IP, the Mariners had generated little offensively, and M’s starter Bryan Woo matched him most of the way, with the game scoreless heading into the sixth inning. Eugenio Suárez stayed hot, slugging his 16th home run, his eighth since the start of July, but Woo was touched up for two in the bottom of the frame to put a small coffee stain on an otherwise little-blemished tablecloth of an outing. 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K with 14 whiffs and a 31% Called Strikes plus Whiffs rate is a massive improvement over his awful recent start in the desert. A Shohei solo shot in the bottom of the 8th put the M’s down to their final three outs, having failed to score off Jose Soriano, Matt Moore, and new acquisition Reynaldo Lopez. All they had to do was score at least a pair of runs off Carlos Estévez, Anaheim’s All-Star closer who’d yet to blow a save in 23 opportunities all season.
A four-pitch walk to Cal Raleigh, followed by the monumental task of a five-pitch walk to Ty France. A pair of mound visits did not quell the murmur, nor did a laser single by Dominic Canzone, loading the bases with pinch-runner Jose Caballero representing the game-tying run on second. A strikeout for Hernández, as Estévez abandoned his errant upper-90s fastball for a flurry of sliders, bringing up 26-year-old rookie Cade Marlowe. Marlowe isn’t quite a Kevin Costner character level of unlikely big leaguer, but for a senior from D-II West Georgia, signed for just a $5k bonus, well, I just don’t think he’s seen 98-100 mph fastballs all that often.
Strike one, Estévez blows it by him at 98, above the zone.
Strike two, Estévez goes to the same spot, same speed, same result.
Marlowe steps in, then calls time, stepping out for a few moments. If there is a tempest in his mind, his face shows none of it. He’s matched up against the mighty Argonauts of West Florida and the Statesmen of Delta State. He has conquered Everett, then Modesto, then Everett again, Arkansas, Tacoma, he has been a Savannah Banana and most recently he has been an impressive hitter in his first 12 big league games.
Estévez hits his spot for one of the few times on the night.
Marlowe hits it harder.
Rye bread. Mustard. You know what time it is. pic.twitter.com/EWudj08trP— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 4, 2023
Andrés Muñoz slammed the door with authority, striking out the side of a shellshocked Angels 5-6-7. 2.5 back of the Wild Card, and advantage M’s the rest of the weekend on the mound.