Facing the reigning National League Cy Young winner in Jake Arrieta, Seattle rallied to win 4-1 at Chicago against the Cubs. Wade Miley took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
CHICAGO — They have six walkoff victories — all via home runs — and they have a game in which they rallied from a 10-run deficit in the sixth inning to beat the Padres.
Yet, the Mariners’ 4-1 victory Saturday over the Chicago Cubs at a packed Wrigley Field might contend with all those other memorable triumphs of the season.
Facing reigning National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and countering with a pitcher who very much isn’t a Cy Young contender in Wade Miley, and then coming off a 12-1 drubbing Friday, the probability of a Mariners victory seemed only better than a winning lotto ticket or a Friday-evening commute without traffic.
Mariners @ Cubs, 5 p.m., ESPN
But Miley outpitched Arrieta, taking a no-hitter into the seventh, and the Mariners (52-50) rallied from a 1-0 deficit by beating flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman and his array of 100 mph fastballs.
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“That’s one of the better wins we’ve had all year,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve had some good ones — a few walks, a few come-from-behind wins, but in this environment, against that team, it says a lot about our guys. We keep fighting.”
It would have been easy to stop fighting after watching the Cubs take a 1-0 lead on an overturned call at home plate in the seventh, but the Mariners answered.
Mike Zunino and Shawn O’Malley drew leadoff walks off Arrieta to force him out of the game in the eighth. Two outs later, Cubs manager Joe Maddon called on the recently acquired Chapman to finish the eighth against left-handed-hitting Leonys Martin. After swinging wildly at a first-pitch 100 mph fastball, Martin watched a 101 mph fastball go by for a ball. Chapman threw another triple-digit fastball and Martin was ready, slashing it into the gap in left-center for a two-run double.
“We had the right guy up there,” Servais said. “We had the Cuban against the Cuban. Actually, Leonys has put good swings on velocity all year, and he knew that’s what he was going to get. I know it’s left on left. And we all know Chapman is the guy, and rightly so. But it’s Major League Baseball. Good hitters vs. good pitching, and we won that one.”
Martin hadn’t faced Chapman since their days growing up in Cuba, but he knew what to expect.
“I know a lot,” he joked. “I know he throws 105 and nobody throws that in this game today. I knew he’d throw fastballs to me. I was ready for fastballs. After the first swing, I told myself I was trying to do too much. I was trying to have a short swing and think middle of the field.”
Martin then manufactured another run. He took off for third early with Chapman ignoring him. Chapman stepped off the rubber and threw high to third base, allowing Martin to slide in safely. Martin later scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.
The rally allowed Miley to get credit for the victory. The veteran left-hander had one of his best outings as a Mariner, tossing six no-hit innings before giving up a hit and run in the seventh.
“I always talk about — you go as far as your staring pitching will take you, and Wade Miley was probably as good as he’s been all year today,” Servais said. “He brought a little different mentality, attitude to the mound today. He was aggressive from the get-go. I think he knew what he was up against.”
Miley carved up the vaunted Cubs lineup in the first six innings, striking out eight.
“I was just able to locate the fastball early on,” Miley said.
“I knew what was going on,” he said of his potential no-hitter. “I tried not to think about it. But guys in the dugout were getting farther and farther away from me, which I don’t like.”
Miley walked Dexter Fowler to start the seventh and then left a 2-2 changeup over the plate that Kris Bryant hammered into center to break up the no-hit bid.
“I was trying to expand with a changeup,” Miley said. “He’s one of the better hitters in the game. I wanted to expand away and try to get the double play. I just left it on the plate.”
After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, and with the Mariners playing the infield in, Javier Baez hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop and O’Malley threw home. Zunino appeared to tag Fowler and umpire Lance Barrett called Fowler out.
However, a review reversed the call and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
After getting a strikeout, Miley was making multiple pickoff attempts to first base. Bryant, who was on third, tried to time one and broke for home. First baseman Adam Lind fired the ball home quickly, but Barrett ruled that Bryant had slid under Zunino’s tag. Zunino immediately signaled for Servais to ask for a review and the call was overturned, so Barrett was wrong for a second consecutive play.
“They were all very close, and they could have gone either way,” Servais said.