Until he gets a World Series ring to replace it, the trophy for being named the “YouTube Player of the Game” in the Mariners’ 9-7 extra-innings victory over the Toronto Blue Jays will have to suffice for Dylan Moore.
Yes, Moore won a trophy for his efforts Wednesday night at Sahlen Stadium in Buffalo, New York. In a game that couldn’t be decided in 3 hours and 49 minutes and nine innings and wasn’t televised by either team’s local regional network (only streamed on YouTube), there was a postgame trophy given to the player of the game, which was voted on by fans watching on their mobile devices and computers.
Moore was the easy choice, giving the Mariners a lead the Blue Jays couldn’t overcome with only three outs remaining.
With one out and runners on first and third in the top of the 10th, Moore worked a 3-1 count against right-hander Patrick Murphy and started looking for a fastball to at least get it in the air to break a 6-6 tie with a sacrifice fly at minimum. He got a little more, crushing a 96-mph sinker over the wall in left field for a three-run homer.
“I was able to sit on some balls that were down,” Moore said. “And I knew I just kind of had to get him up (in the zone). I took a chance on 3-1 and I was able to get it out in front and hit it well.”
Seattle reliever Drew Steckenrider benefited from the cushion, allowing only one run in the bottom of the 10th before securing the final out and his second save of the season.
With the victory, the Mariners improve to 9-1 in extra-inning games this season.
Seattle improved to 42-39 overall and have a chance to win the three-game series with the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon.
“That was a marathon,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said of the 4-hour, 12-minute victory. “That’s a good team win as we grind through this road trip.”
Moore seemed surprised when he was handed the YouTube trophy during a postgame interview.
“Oh wow,” he said, holding it up slightly.
Asked if he’d ever received a trophy for being player of the game from a streaming service, Moore chuckled.
“First time,” he said. “It’s quite heavy.”
Moore didn’t actually get to keep the trophy handed to him.
“I don’t have it,” he said. “They said they had to put my name on it.”
The homer was a product of a minor change Moore made before the game with the leg kick that starts his swing.
“I felt like maybe it was getting a little out of control,” he said. “So I kind of just trimmed it down. And I was able to see the ball up better tonight and make adjustments easier.”
The Mariners got another uneven start from left-hander Justus Sheffield in a season with far too many of them.
Sheffield needed 95 pitches to get through four largely inefficient innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. It was the fourth consecutive start in which he failed to pitch past the fifth inning.
And really, it was still an improvement compared to his past few outings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 21 batters he faced and allowed multiple base runners in each of his four innings, which speaks to how much he had struggled coming into the game.
In a sign of things to come, Sheffield walked the first batter he faced – Marcus Semien – on his first four pitches and then gave up a first-pitch single to Bo Bichette. But a three-pitch strikeout of Vlad Guerrero Jr. and a double play ended the inning.
Sheffield gave up his first run in the second when he loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk but limited the damage to just one run on a sacrifce fly.
Down 1-0, the Mariners scored four runs in the third against Toronto starter Stephen Matz. Taylor Trammell scored Moore from first base with a double off the wall in left field. J.P. Crawford then dropped a single down the third-base line and the throw to first base from Cavan Biggio wasn’t catchable, allowing Trammell to score.
With two outs, Kyle Seager ended a 14-game home run drought by launching a rare opposite-field blast over the wall in left. The two-run shot was his 77th career homer against a left-handed pitcher.
Given a three-run lead, Sheffield gave it back over the next two innings. He allowed the first two hitters to reach base in the third. And with two outs, Randall Grichuk yanked a two-run double down the left-field line.
Sheffield allowed back-to-back doubles in the fourth to Riley Adams and Semien that tied the game at 4-4. The Blue Jays seemed poised to add more, but Sheffield got Bichette to ground out and then struck out Guerrero swinging despite falling behind 3-0.
Over his past four outings, he’s pitched 17 1/3 innings, allowing 18 earned runs on 22 hits for a 9.35 ERA with nine walks and 15 strikeouts.
Servais did find positives in the outing.
“I actually thought in the third and fourth innings, he threw the ball better,” Servais said. “I thought the command of his stuff started to come around. He struggled early in the game. They took a lot of close pitches just to drive the pitch count up, but it could have been a lot worse.”
Said Sheffield: “When I was getting the ball out and getting on top of it, I could tell that it was just coming out way better and going where I wanted it to go. I was just missing slightly in those innings, especially when I was going inside.”
J.P. Crawford led off the top of the fifth with a double and then celebrated on second as Mitch Haniger crushed his 18th homer of the season.
The Mariners bullpen couldn’t hold the 6-4 lead. JT Chargois gave up a run in the bottom of the fifth and Lourdes Gurriel tied the game in the eighth with a towering blast to left off left-hander Anthony Misiewicz.