Once seemingly unbeatable in one-run games, a major reason why they’d pushed themselves into wild card contention when it never seemed realistic, the Mariners recently hit a spate of luckless losses and deflating defeats in those games decided by the minimum margin.
But Wednesday night, facing a team they shouldn’t lose to but had lost their last three against, the Mariners finally returned to their one-run winning ways.
Luis Torrens, who might have been the Mariners least productive hitter over the past two weeks, needed only to get a fly ball into the outfield to allow Jarred Kelenic to score from third base.
Torrens did more than that, smoking a deep fly ball off the wall in dead center that allowed Kelenic to trot home and the celebration of a 2-1 walk-off win before the ball made contact with the wall.
Making his third start since being acquired at the trade deadline, Tyler Anderson pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts. His only run allowed came in the second inning when Nathaniel Lowe led off with a double and eventually came around to score on a D.J. Peters’ bases-loaded sac fly to very deep center. With two more runners still left on base, Anderson struck out Curtis Terry looking to end the inning.
The veteran lefty worked into the sixth inning, giving up a lead-off double to Adolis Garcia, balking him to third base, a call he didn’t agree with, and then striking out Nathaniel Lowe to end his outing.
Manager Scott Servais went to veteran right-hander Joe Smith to get the final two outs of the inning. On his way to the dugout, Anderson let home plate umpire Mark Ripperger know what he thought of the call in a back-and-forth featuring some anger and a few colorful words.
Smith did his job, striking out Andy Ibanez and then showing that he’s still quite spry at 37 of age, sprinting off the mound to make a running catch on Jonah Heim’s pop up in front of the Rangers dugout.
He has yet to allow a run in six appearances and five innings pitched since joining the Mariners along with Abraham Toro in that now somewhat infamous trade with the Astros that sent Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero to Houston on July 27.
Seattle tied the game in the sixth inning. Knowing his team was down a run and hadn’t scored, J.P. Crawford wore a 2-0 slider from lefty Taylor Hearn, letting it hit him on his elbow guard as he pulled his arm back. The heady play gave the Mariners a lead-off runner. With two outs, Ty France singled to move Crawford up a base and Toro worked a nine-pitch walk to the load the bases for rookie Jarred Kelenic.
As he’s done more in his second stint in the big leagues, the talented potential slugger showed patience in the key situation. He wouldn’t swing at a 1-0 fastball that was low and inside, just out of the strike zone. It changed the entire plate appearance. Hearn fired two more balls that weren’t close for a four-pitch walk and a run for the Mariners.
Seattle got solid relief work from Casey Sadler, who looked dominant with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Diego Castillo followed with a scoreless eighth inning aided by the strong arm of his catcher. Castillo hit Isiah Kiner-Falefa with a 1-2 fastball to start the inning and then sort of ignored him on first base, allowing a huge jump for a potential stolen base. But Raleigh used a high fastball to deliver a perfect throw to J.P. Crawford to get Kiner-Falefa and erase the go-ahead runner.
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