OAKLAND, Calif. — Some questions just need to be asked and hopefully answered in certain moments.
For Tyler Anderson, two pressing questions came after his outstanding outing in the Mariners’ 4-2 must-have victory Monday night over the Athletics at a sparsely populated Oakland Coliseum.
What color would he call the Mariners’ alternate jerseys — labeled Northwest green by the team — that he’s worn in every outing since joining the Mariners?
“I would say teal,” he said. “I know we call them, I think, green, but they sure look like they’re teal to me.”
And the second question: Have the Mariners approached you at all about a possible extension for the 2022 season and beyond?
“There hasn’t been talk about that,” Anderson said. “I think right now we’re all focused on trying to win as many games as we can. But I do like it here. I like it here a lot. The guys are awesome. The staff’s great. It’s been an easy transition and a good fit here. So I love that. I think right now we’re just focus on today.”
He should test the free agent market unless the Mariners were to blow him away with an offer.
That doesn’t seem likely.
The premise of trying to sign Anderson to a multiyear extension would have seemed crazy when he was acquired from the Pirates on July 28. A free agent after this season, he was a rental to fill out a rotation gutted by injuries.
But he’s been so solid and consistent in his 10 starts with the Mariners, posting a 3.38 ERA with only one start fewer than five innings, that there has been a growing clamor within the fan base to keep him around.
It grew louder with his performance at Oakland where only 4,068 spectators — many wearing the teal/Northwest green — showed up to watch two teams still alive for a postseason spot.
With his team unwilling to surrender the postseason dream, Anderson delivered one of his best outings since joining the Mariners. The lanky left-hander pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
The Mariners improved to 81-69 and sit three games back of the second wild-card spot, currently held by the Blue Jays (84-66), who lost to the Rays on Monday night. The A’s fell to 82-68 and dropped to two games back of the Blue Jays while the Yankees remain a half-game back of Toronto.
“I’m so impressed with what he’s been able to do, how he goes about his business and what he’s brought to our ballclub,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s just the stability that he brings, and he’s got some edge to him. He doesn’t like it when I pull him out of a game too early. Most of the really competitive pitchers, they’re all wired the same way.”
You can add Servais’ voice to those pushing to bring Anderson back.
“I certainly have a ton of interest in it,” Servais said. “He’s got a couple more big starts ahead of us this season, but then we’ll see where it goes from there. But I would love to have him back in our uniform.”
Using a steady mix of cutters, four-seam fastballs and change-ups, Anderson threw 91 pitches with 66 strikes, including 15 swings and misses.
After scoring just one run against A’s left-hander Sean Manaea in two starts and 16 innings this season, the Mariners broke through the third time facing him, scoring four runs, including three in the third inning.
A one-out single by Dylan Moore was followed by another single by J.P. Crawford and a run-scoring single from Ty France to make it 1-0. A walk to Mitch Haniger loaded the bases for Kyle Seager. After sitting out the victory Sunday in Kansas City with a sore right elbow, Seager looked rested and healthy, launching a deep fly ball to left-center that bounced just in front of the 388-foot sign. It scored two runs and pushed the lead to 3-0.
Anderson’s only run allowed came in the bottom of the inning. Chad Pinder led off with a double to left-center and Khris Davis followed with a double to right-center to score a run. But that was all the A’s would muster against Anderson. He allowed just three more base runners — none reaching second in the four innings that followed.
Seager picked up his second hit and third RBI on the night in the fifth. Haniger ripped his second double of the game — a blast off the wall in deep right-center — and Seager drove him in with a line drive to the gap to make it 4-1. Seager has tied his career high with 99 RBI this season.
“It’s my job to knock in runs,” he said. “One more would be a really nice number for me.”
The later innings didn’t lack for drama.
Diego Castillo gave up one-out singles to Elvis Andrus, Josh Harrison and Starling Marte — all to right field — to allow a run to score.
With runners on first and second and only one out, Servais wasn’t going to take any chances in letting Castillo squander any more of the lead. He turned to right-hander Paul Sewald, the team’s best reliever, to face Matt Olson (36 homers) and Matt Chapman (26 homers). Sewald struck out Olson looking on a pinpoint backdoor slider to the outside corner. He then struck out Chapman looking to end the inning, celebrating with a scream and a fist pump.
Servais rode Sewald into the ninth for three more outs to close out the game. It was Sewald’s ninth save of the season.