The help that they’ve needed came before Tyler Anderson fired his first pitch Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park.

And the knowledge of what a win would mean to their postseason hopes didn’t overwhelm the Mariners with pressure or nerves. It didn’t provide some boost of adrenaline or focus to them as they took the field with understanding that an opportunity had been presented to them.

Why do anything different?

They’ve reached this unexpected position, a place few thought they’d ever be this late in the season, by preparing and playing the same way. It’s how they win. It’s why they win. It’s made the playoffs a real possibility with four games left to play in the season.

Using a gutty outing from Anderson on short rest, getting their typical stingy work from their oft-used bullpen and finding just enough run support for a lead, the Mariners rewarded the raucous 12,635 bundled up fans in attendance a reason to celebrate with a 4-2 win over the Oakland A’s.

It was Seattle’s 11th straight over Oakland this season — a new club record.

With the fans standing and screaming for nearly every one of his pitches, Drew Steckenrider worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless ninth and his 12th save.


And as fans exited the stadium, chants of “Let’s go Mariners!” echoed through the concourse.

“First of all, to the people that were in the ballpark tonight, our fans that were there: Thank you,” manager Scott Servais said to open his postgame media session. “Unbelievable. I know it wasn’t 40,000, but it certainly felt like it and we appreciate it. This team has played its tail off all year long and it means a lot to these guys. So thank you and hopefully you’ll be there again tomorrow night because we need you.”

And that help?

The Red Sox, who came into the day holding the second wild-card spot and with Chris Sale starting for them, somehow lost to the lowly Orioles, 4-2, at Camden Yards. Meanwhile at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Giancarlo Stanton homered for the fourth consecutive game to lead the Yankees to a 7-2 win over the Blue Jays.  

With a 90-67 record, New York has a two-game lead over Boston (88-69) for the first wild-card spot. The Red Sox, who have lost four straight games, now hold a tenuous half-game lead over Seattle (88-70) for the second wild-card spot. Toronto (87-70) fell a half-game behind the Mariners.

And the A’s? Well, they can now start perusing the real estate market in Las Vegas for future property and housing in the team’s expected move out of Oakland in the coming years.

There were scattered cheers pregame when fans watching on in-house TV feeds saw the Red Sox game end. But a loud cheer went up in the first inning when the score was shown on the video board.


“The energy they brought right from the get go,” Servais said. “We could feel it in the ballpark. We knew when the game started that Boston had lost and we had a chance to pick up a game tonight. And they were right there with us every step of the way. It’s much appreciated.”

In a gutty performance, Anderson gave Seattle all it could have wanted from pitcher starting on just two days of rest. After allowing nine runs on nine hits in just two innings pitched in Saturday’s loss against the Angels, Anderson embraced the plan to have him come back and start with a reduced pitch count what would normally be his bullpen throwing day between starts.

“I was really excited about the opportunity because obviously the last one didn’t go the way I wanted to it to go,” he said. “I felt like I let the guys down. And so instead of having to wait six days for it, I had a chance to get back out there earlier.”

When the ultra-dangerous Matt Olson popped up to shortstop to end the first inning, Anderson had worked a 1-2-3 frame on just eight total pitches.

“I was doing back flips,” Servais said with a laugh. “Really, I didn’t know what to expect. I was really excited with how crisp he was right out of the chute. I knew at that point we had a chance to possibly get three. And then we ended up with four innings out of him and that was awesome.”

He would give Seattle four complete innings, allowing just one run on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Of his 46 pitches thrown, 40 were strikes.


The one run allowed came in the fourth inning when Chad Pinder took advantage of a misplaced changeup up in the zone, launching a solo homer to center on an 0-2 count.

Before the game Servais made it clear how much he wants the organization to bring back Anderson, who is a free agent after this season, on some sort of multi-year contract. After this outing, Servais might camp out in front John Stanton’s doorstep until it happens.

“I believe he wants to come back,” Servais said. “I know we want him back. But at the end of the day, it’s a business and he’s going to do what’s best for him. But, we love him. The fact that he stood up and took the assignment after we talked about it yesterday says a lot. It’s one thing to do to say, ‘OK, yeah, I’ll do it.’ It’s another thing to go and perform the way he did. And I think the world of the effort he gave us tonight, you can’t ask for anything more than 40 strikes in 46 pitches. Remarkable.”

The Mariners answered the A’s in the bottom half of the fourth. Jarred Kelenic worked a one-out walk off Oakland starter Chris Bassitt, who was making just his second start since taking a line drive to his face and was on a limited pitch count. A’s manager Bob Melvin went to veteran right-hander Yusmeiro Petit.

He gave up a single to Luis Torrens and then left a fastball over the middle that Jake Fraley yanked into the right-field corner for a two-run double.

Seattle picked up a highly important insurance run in the sixth inning. Abraham Toro led off with an infield single and eventually came around to score when Matt Olson couldn’t dig a throw in the dirt from shortstop Josh Harrison on Murphy’s infield single.

Oakland trimmed the lead back down one run in the seventh when Diego Castillo had an adventurous outing, failing to field an easy ground ball back to the mound for an error, hitting Sean Murphy with a pitch and giving up an RBI single to Tony Kemp. Servais didn’t waste any time. He immediately went to right-hander Paul Sewald, who got the final out of the inning.

The Mariners got that run back immediately when Mitch Haniger, who blasted two homers on Monday, crushed the 100th homer of his career in the bottom of the inning. Haniger jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Jake Diekman to give Seattle a two-run lead.