Let me just start off by saying, this win was not easy. It was a rollercoaster of baseball’s many emotions. Felix Hernandez, who is usually pretty stellar in Oakland, did not have his stuff today. He allowed the first run of the game via solo home run by Marcus Semien. In the fourth, Felix opened up the inning giving up two consecutive singles to Josh Reddick and Khris Davis. Stephen Vogt grounded out to advance the runners and a Billy Butler fielder’s choice ground out later, the Athletics had their second run.
Mariners were down 2-0 going into the top of the fifth inning. It was not a lot of runs to overcome. Two runs is usually not a particularly intimidating deficit, but Mariners teams of the past have had trouble rallying from any type of deficit. Not this team. This team has fun, this team had confidence in each other. This would only be the first of two times the Mariners would come from behind and take the lead from Oakland.
With two outs in the 5th (6 of the 9 Mariners runs would come with two outs), we have a Norichika single and Partay double gave the Mariners their first run. Marte and his speedy little legs were sent home when Robinson Cano snared a single to center. When Nelson Cruz came to the plate, we were all thinking “when was the last time Nellie hit a home run?”. Apparently, Twitter telepath is alive and well. Nelson Cruz crushed a ball to the upper plaza seating area of the vast wasteland that is the Oakland Coliseum. Below actuality describes the reaction of Athletics fans everywhere (especially after this series).
After Nelson’s moon shot, it was the Athletics’ turn in the bottom of the 5th. This is when the wheels starting falling off for Felix’s start. Eleven men to the plate, two Mariners errors and six runs later, the Athletics were winning 8-4.
Dae-Ho Lee was up in the sixth inning and he promptly started chipping away at Oakland’s lead. With a home run to right field, Dae-Ho makes the score 5-8 Mariners. Leonys Martin singles, steals second and advanced to third on a wild pitch by catcher Stephen Vogt. Norichika scores him with a sacrifice fly to center field. 6-8 Mariners. In the top of the 7th, Nelson Cruz adds on to his already productive day, C’s the Z and draws a lead off walk. Franklin Gutierrez reaches 1st on a fielders choice, and Nelson is out with a force at second. With Kyle Seager at plate, A’s closer Sean Dootlittle throws a wild pitch and Guti advances to second. Then,
At this point, the sweep of the Oakland Athletics is tantalizingly close. It would have been the first sweep of the season. The players believed, the fans believed. The game was so close to being ours. After a pop out by Chris Iannetta, the Mariners had 2-outs and a runner on base. In this situation, manager Scott Servais usually would have pitch hit Dae-Ho Lee, but he made the decision to leave him in. A decision that everyone in Mariners land would later thank him for. On a 3-1 count, Dae-Ho Lee hit his second home run of the day to left field. Mariners 9, Oakland 8. The general consensus after that home run went a little something like this:
Most things that occurred after that were moot compared to the amount of joy that came with that Dae-Ho home run. Two innings later, Steve Cishek closed out the 9th inning. The Texas Rangers would later lose to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Mariners remained atop the AL West.
I find myself repeating “it’s only May” over and over again, but for some reason, I do not seem to care one bit. Baseball is weird. Baseball is improbable. Baseball won’t always go in favor of the Mariners , but I’m going to enjoy every minute while it lasts. Next up, the Houston Astros.
Felix believes, why shouldn’t you?