Mitch Haniger laced a double with two outs to go as visiting Miami was trying for a combined-effort no-hitter at Safeco Field on Tuesday night.
It was possibly the loudest cheer you’ll hear for a one-out double in the ninth inning of a blowout.
At 9:41 on Tuesday night, with the Mariners down five runs, Seattle right fielder Mitch Haniger drilled a one-out double into the right-center field gap, thus giving the Mariners a hit — their first (and only) hit of the night.
Until that point, three Marlins pitchers had combined to hold the Mariners hitless through 81/3 innings of an eventual 5-0 Mariners loss. More and more, it looked like the Mariners were about to be no-hit for the first time since Philip Humber’s perfect game in 2012.
Miami @ Mariners, 12:40 p.m., ROOT Sports
But with one swing, Haniger broke up the no-hitter, sending the crowd into an extended applause for the first time.
Little about Tuesday’s game between the Mariners and Marlins hinted at any impending drama. But that’s the way baseball works — that’s the charm of all sports really, and so it was that in the late innings each at bat, each pitch, held intrigue even beyond the score.
That’s because Marlins pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Brad Ziegler and Kyle Barraclough collectively came within two outs of no-hitting the Mariners for the fourth time in team history.
Chen, the Marlins’ 31-year-old starting pitcher, dazzled, puzzled and ultimately constricted the Mariners. In seven innings, he did not allow a hit. (He walked two and hit a batter).
But Marlins manager Don Mattingly had a decision to make, with Chen at 100 pitches after squirming out of a jam in the seventh (a walk and hit batter). Mattingly decided to pull Chen, meaning the no-hit effort would become a collective affair.
In the eighth inning, Marlins reliever Ziegler retired the side, although he had a groan-inducing close call. Jarrod Dyson, the fastest player on the Mariners and one of the fastest players in baseball, dribbled a swinging bunt that he nearly beat out.
In the ninth inning, Barraclough struck out pinch-hitter Mike Freeman to start the inning, but he couldn’t get past Haniger, who laced the double into the gap.
In his first two starts this season, Chen allowed seven hits in each start. In his most recent start, those seven hits led to seven runs, which was a big reason why he started the game with a 7.00 ERA.
But Chen was in control right away. He retired the first 11 hitters he faced, walked the 12th, then retired the next seven.
He actually ran into a little bit of trouble in the seventh inning. He walked Haniger after a lengthy battle, which inched his pinch count higher. He then got Robinson Cano to ground into a fielder’s choice but hit Nelson Cruz with a pitch.
Chen responded by striking out Kyle Seager and getting Taylor Motter to fly out. That put him at exactly 100 pitches for the night, which was enough for Mattingly to end his night.
Chen received congratulatory hugs from teammates.
The Marlins jumped all over Mariners starter Yovani Gallardo (0-2), who allowed nine hits and four runs in six innings. He allowed all four runs in the first three innings, including one on a wild pitch.
In three starts, Gallardo has allowed 24 hits and walked six.
But the story wasn’t the hits the Mariners gave up. It was the hits the Mariners didn’t get, until they got the one from Haniger.
|No-hitters vs. Mariners|
|The Marlins nearly threw the fourth all-time no-hitter against the Mariners.|
|April 11, 1990||@ Angels, 1-0||Langston (7 IP), Witt (2)|
|May 14, 1996||@ Yankees, 2-0||Dwight Gooden|
|April 21, 2012||White Sox, 4-0||Philip Humber*|
|* Perfect game|