A nasty slider in the dirt from Blake Treinen slipped under the legs of catcher Bruce Maxwell and rolled to the backstop. Jean Segura, who was on third, sprinted home and the Mariners had a 7-6 victory.
A win on a walkoff wild pitch?
Yep, triumph can come in all shapes and forms. The Mariners’ latest was not a work of art, but more like abstract finger painting. Seattle’s 7-6 victory over the A’s on Saturday night ended in a fashion befitting the ugly 3-hour, 37-minute affair that won’t be used to promote pace of play or clean baseball.
With two outs and the bases loaded, the Mariners looking very much like they were going to squander a bases-loaded, no-outs situation they had put themselves in. Nelson Cruz had struck out against Blake Treinen and Kyle Seager popped up to shallow left, not anywhere deep enough for Jean Segura to tag up at third.
Treinen possesses nasty movement on his upper-90s fastball and low-90s slider but only minimal command of both. After his first-pitch slider to Mitch Haniger hit in the dirt and almost bounced away from catcher Bruce Maxwell, Treinen went to it again. This time, the pitch slipped under the legs of Maxwell as he tried to smother it. Segura didn’t hesitate and sprinted home to score the winning run.
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“I was heads-up to one in the dirt,” Segura said. “He threw the first in the dirt, but it was too close. But the second got between his legs and it was easy to score. The ball went far away.”
It was the Mariners’ seventh walkoff win of the season and the fifth time in franchise history they won a game on a walkoff wild pitch. The most recent was July 11, 1996, when Paul Sorrento raced home in the 12th inning against the Angels.
Seattle got back to .500 at 68-68 but remains 3½ games behind in the American League wild-card race. The Mariners have also secured a series win over Oakland and will try for a sweep Sunday.
“Nice win, but it wasn’t pretty,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s never easy to win a game in the big leagues. I don’t care who you are playing or how you are playing, and we found a way to get it done.”
It didn’t seem likely after they got down 6-2 following a four-run fourth inning from the A’s. The Mariners chipped away, getting back-to-back homers from Segura and Yonder Alonso in the fifth inning, an RBI double from Segura in the sixth and the game-tying solo homer from Mike Zunino in the eighth.
“We really hung in there and didn’t panic when we did get down,” Servais said. “We kept grinding it out and got some big hits.”
They had to grind after a less-than-stellar beginning to the game.
A move to avoid having starter Yovani Gallardo give up a big inning led to a big inning from his replacement.
Gallardo wasn’t sharp or efficient. It was apparent early as he loaded the bases after the first three batters. But somehow he managed to get through the ordeal without allowing a run, getting some help when third baseman Seager made a brilliant stab of Ryon Healy’s line-drive rocket for the second out.
But Gallardo could not capitalize on the good fortune. He allowed a solo homer in the second and another in the third inning to put the Mariners down 2-0.
With Gallardo’s pitch count at 80 after three innings and no hint of improvement coming, Servais went to his bullpen after Robinson Cano cracked a two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the third. It was Cano’s first homer in 147 plate appearances, with his previous one coming July 22 vs. the Yankees.
“It’s been a long time,” he said. “To be honest, I wasn’t trying to hit one.”
With the scored tied 2-2, Servais turned to long reliever Casey Lawrence in hopes of finding some efficiency and outs. He gave up runs instead.
Lawrence struggled, recording just one out while being charged with four runs on three hits with two walks, including a three-run homer to Matt Joyce. Making his Mariners debut, right-hander Ryan Garton got the final two outs of the inning.
Down 6-2 after four innings, a comeback wasn’t impossible. But the Mariners also needed to stop the A’s from scoring. Servais turned to left-hander Marco Gonzales, who was just bumped out of the rotation after the team acquired Mike Leake. Gonzales was brilliant in relief. He pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out five.
“Marco Gonzales really saved the day and he deserved the win in that game,” Servais said. “It was an outstanding job. He used his pitches on both sides of the plate and was aggressive and attacking. It was a really positive outing for him. We believe in him and he’s going to have a bright future with us.”