Cano had two doubles before leaving with tightness in his left hamstring in the third inning. Also, Guillermo Heredia was hit by a pitch.
ATLANTA — It was a comeback victory and a series win that came with a cost. Like an impulsive credit card shopping spree, the overall extent of the damage might not be felt for a few days.
The Mariners used a five-run eighth inning to rally for a 9-6 triumph over the Braves on Wednesday night in a game they seemed intent on letting slip away. But the celebration was tampered with the possibility of two key players not being available to play in the big three-game series vs. the Yankees, starting on Friday in the Bronx.
Second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Guillermo Heredia weren’t part of the late-inning fun. Both players were forced out due to injuries.
Mariners @ N.Y. Yankees, 4:05 p.m., ROOT Sports
It would have made losing the game and the series that much worse. Having just seen their one-run lead turn into a one-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, the Mariners showed their explosive offensive capability against Atlanta’s beleaguered former closer Jim Johnson. Jean Segura doubled to start the inning and Yonder Alonso worked a walk. A wild pitch moved them to second and third and Taylor Motter, playing in place of the injured Cano, ripped a single into center to score both runs.
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“I was just looking for a 2-0 fastball and trying not to look like an idiot,” Motter said. “Really trying to do what the team needed, get a guy in and move a guy over and I got both of them in.”
Kyle Seager provided the big insurance runs two batters later against right-hander Dan Winkler, hitting a shot to deep left center that bounced off the top of the wall and into the stands for a three-run homer. His 19th homer of the season made it 9-5.
It was the ninth time this season the Mariners have scored five runs or more in an inning.
After Nick Vincent allowed a run in the eighth, Edwin Diaz got the final out of the inning and worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 29th save. It was the Mariners’ second series win of the road trip and ninth series win since the All-Star break.
Still, the uncertain status of Cano and Heredia will linger on Seattle’s off day. Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are day-to-day, trying to remain optimistic.
“We’ll take it a day at a time,” Servais said. “My initial report that I got when I got in was better than I was anticipating. I have my fingers crossed they will be OK.”
Cano left the game in the third inning after doubling down the left-field line and noticeably limping into second base. After a brief conversation with athletic trainer Rob Nodine, Cano left the field with him. The Mariners later announced it was due to left hamstring tightness.
“I hurt it coming out of the box,” Cano said. “I felt it right away.”
He dealt with some minor hamstring tightness during the previous series in Tampa.
“I was getting it worked on, stretching it, getting massaged and getting loose, but I just felt like something stretched, not popped,” he said. “Hopefully I will be back soon and nothing bad tomorrow when I do the MRI.”
Asked about his chances to play at Yankee Stadium against his old team, Cano replied: “Maybe not good. Maybe not playing. I don’t know. No matter how I feel, if the MRI shows something, there’s nothing I can do.”
In the seventh inning, Heredia was hit on the right wrist by a 92 mph fastball from Jason Motte. In obvious pain as he met with trainer Rick Griffin, Heredia remained in the game to run the bases, but was removed after the inning came to an end. He will undergo X-rays in New York on Thursday as well.
“He’s got hit on that forearm a couple times in the last week or so,” Servais said. “He’s real tender.”
With an active roster that features eight relievers, it seems that the Mariners may have to make at least one roster move even after an off day in New York. They can’t play with two players having limited availability with an already short bench. They could avoid a disabled list stint for either Cano or Heredia by optioning a pitcher back to Tacoma for a position player.
Here’s where it gets tricky for the Mariners — they don’t have much to choose from on their 40-man roster. Earlier in the day they designated Leonys Martin for assignment to make room for reliever David Phelps, who was being activated from the DL. By Major League Baseball rules, Martin must go through the waivers process that takes 48 hours. If he clears waivers, he could be outrighted to the minors and then have his contract re-selected.
Jarrod Dyson, who is on the disabled list with a groin strain, isn’t eligible to return until Sunday.
Utility man Shawn O’Malley, who would also be a nice fit because of his positional versatility, suffered a concussion two days ago while playing for Tacoma when he tripped on the pitchers’ mound while trying to catch a pop up.
Seattle does have two open 40-man rosters spots. So either an outfielder like Andrew Aplin or veteran infielder Gordon Beckham, who aren’t on the 40-man, could be added in the interim.
Erasmo Ramirez did about as much as he could to help the Mariners win. After two shaky innings where he allowed a total of three runs, the little right-hander settled in, pitching the next four innings scoreless.
Perhaps he was spurred on by his success at the plate. Wait, what? Yes, Ramirez became the fourth Mariners pitcher to notch a mulit-hit game. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat and another single in his third at-bat.
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