Saturday evening’s game in Queens between the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners and the New York Mets brought everything a baseball fan desires – and deserves – in the final month of the regular season: long balls, a tight game, and one team fighting for a pennant while the other scraps to play spoiler. But don’t let your heart rate trick you, the Mariners never once trailed in the game and despite multiple game-tying moments, Seattle was able to hustle and muscle their way to an 8-7 nail-biting win.
The team’s 77th win on the season didn’t just line them up for a series win tomorrow, it also provided some insurance for the Northwest squad as they created a bit of separation between them and Houston and Texas in the AL West Pennant Race. As a treat.
After an improbable month of gutsy performances and Herculean feats, the Mariners opened the series against the New York on Friday with a disappointing 2-1 loss, a gift presumably from former teammate and current Mets heartthrob, Daniel Vogelbach.
Saturday’s contest, however, looked to be promising for the Mariners as they were sending three-time All Star Luis Castillo to the mound against a Mets team lead by their 2017 First Round draft pick, David Peterson. Peterson entered the contest with sub-Luis Castillo stats, namely a 3-7 record on the year and a 5.40 ERA.
While he’s had better seasons, Castillo has certainly been holding his own on the mound throughout the 2023 campaign. Tonight marked his 9th start since his last loss on July 19th and he wasn’t looking to end that streak any time soon.
Castillo, who has affectionally been nicknamed “La Piedra” for his stone cold resilience, didn’t show quite the amount of dominance tonight that he’s brought to the table over the past several years. Over the course of 5 innings of work, Castillo was tagged for 5 earned runs, two on the long ball, and only managed 2 strikeouts across his performance.
Luckily, as M’s fans have come to learn, this is a team that can deliver more support than a Nike sports bra. Since May, the Mariners have won every game where Castillo has given up 3 earned runs or more. Nothing like helping a pal out, am I right?
Seattle wasted little time in Game 2 getting the scoring started. Teoscar Hernández – who is considered to be the 2nd hottest man on the team by not only baseball analysts but also my roommate who knows nothing about baseball – came to the plate in the 2nd inning and promptly delivered a solo shot care package over Brandon Nimmo’s head in center field for his 24th home run of the year.
The scoring-at-Brandon-Nimmo’s-expense party continued in the 3rd inning when Julio Rodríguez scorched the ball 107.1 mph past the Mets’ centerfielder and plated J.P. Crawford on his way to a triple and an eventual run courtesy of one (1) Hernández single to right field.
New York caught wind of how fun scoring is and D.J. Stewart launched his 10th home run of the year over Julio’s head in center field and drove home Vogelbach and Pete Alonso to even the score up at 3-3.
Fast forward to the top of the 6th inning. Hernández has scored again, life is good.
That is, life was good.
To begin the new frame, Ty France did what Ty France excels at: getting hit by pitches. This pitch, however, was thrown up and inside by Mets bullpen arm Grant Hartwig and connected with France’s exposed right elbow.
Let’s go to Ryan Divish for his take:
Ty France is hit by a pitch in his back elbow and he's in a lot of pain.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) September 3, 2023
Luckily, this moment brought to you by Pain™ was followed up with a career moment for former Diamondback and current Mariners -er, Dominic Canzone.
it's canzone, not can'tzone pic.twitter.com/5d2MnjFesN— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 3, 2023
Along with Mike Ford-for-Ty France, Dom Canzone entered the game for Dylan Moore and almost immediately hit his first career pinch hit home run to extend Seattle’s lead to 6-3. Later in the inning the Mariners would score again when Julio reached on an error and brought Sam Haggerty home from 3rd base making it a 7-3 ball game.
The Mets made things interesting in their half of the 6th inning when Mark Vientos took Castillo deep for a solo shot, followed by Francisco Lindor adding 2 runs on a shot to left field to bring the home team within one run.
Come the bottom of the 8th inning, reigning NL batting champion Jeff McNeil toyed with the idea of taking the lead when he sent a shot to right field. Canzone tried his best to make a SportsCenter-worthy catch, but the ball hit the wall a few inches too high and he missed. Luckily, it missed being a home run by a few inches too low and McNeil was only able to get one across home plate.
Now, you know the Mariners had some New York bagels waiting for them in their hotel rooms and didn’t want to make this game any longer than it needed to be (*laughs in 3 hours and 10 minutes of game time*).
We’re not entirely sure who supplemented J.P. Crawford’s diet with spinach but we’re totally here for adding power to the lineup.
Crawford quickly broke the tie in the top of the 9th when he launched his 2nd home run of the series over the right field wall and gave the Mariners their 8th run and final lead of the night.
The @Mariners have 6 go-ahead HR (Cal Raleigh, Eugenio Suárez 2, Kolten Wong, Cade Marlowe & J.P. Crawford) in the 9th inning or later this season, most in the American League.— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) September 3, 2023
We’d be entirely remiss, however, to end the recap there.
Remember last night’s hero, Daniel Vogelbach? Tonight he made his best attempt at being the newest Queens vigilante in an attempt to stretch out a double to open the bottom of the 9th inning....with, uh, different results from Friday.
Daniel Vogelbach trying to stretch a Single and getting thrown out at 2nd pic.twitter.com/6sxpdiNkIt— Cam (@Camd3n_10) September 3, 2023
Give that man a Heart and Hustle Award and while you’re at it, give the Mariners some more bagels to celebrate their 77th win on the season.
Tonight’s game had it all: long balls, a tight game, and one team fighting for a pennant while the other scraps to play spoiler.
Much to my dismay, though, one key element of New York was missing from this game:
A herd of rats, 250-strong, running across the field at full speed.
Sigh. There’s always tomorrow.