OAKLAND – If there’s one thing about these 2021 Mariners, it’s that there will rarely be a time when they go quietly into the night.
Behind Ty France’s second tying homerun in the ninth inning in as many days and the green light from Jake Bauers, a two-run single, the Mariners scored three runs in the ninth to knock down the A’s, 5-3, Monday in Oakland Coliseum. It was Seattle’s second late-game comeback in as many days, a pair of spectacular wins that have defined this season.
“It’s crazy how many late-inning wins we’ve had here throughout the year, but certainly on this trip,” said manager Scott Servais, whose club are now three games behind. on the second Wild Card. place.
Monday’s electric ninth inning comeback came a day after Seattle returned to Houston to defeat the Astros, largely behind the exploits of France. The first baseman, who now has four homers in his last five games, hit the tying home run against closest all-star Ryan Pressly to push the game to extra innings. In the 11th, France again played the hero with a simple green light, propelling the Mariners to victory from behind.
This propensity for late batting heroism also has Seattle in quite an exclusive company.
According to Stats by STATS, the Mariners took the lead in their last at-bat to win a game in 19.8% of their games (25 of 126 games this season). Only the 1918 Washington Senators (20%) peaked in American League history.
That’s what the Mariners do: pass when it matters most.
“Since I’ve been here he’s been as stable as they come,” Bauers said of France. “It’s impressive to watch, really, especially the way he comes back from bat to bat. He is never downcast. He never worries about a strikeout or anything like that. He’s always ready for the next one. He’s still locked up. It’s quite impressive to watch.
France, Bauers and company only compounded the collective agony of A’s relief pen, who gave up home runs in the eighth inning or later to give up three straight games. But heading into the ninth inning, the Mariners were themselves poised for a disappointing loss.
Southpaw Marco Gonzales hasn’t been as sharp as he has been in recent weeks, but got off to a solid start, allowing three runs (two homers) in six innings without a walk. The bullpen held firm after Gonzales left as Erik Swanson and Anthony Misiewicz completed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth innings.
But heading into the ninth inning, the Mariners’ offense was pretty much quiet, the only real damage being Mitch Haniger’s two-run homerun in the sixth inning which, at that point, tied the game two-handed.
Enter France. On a 1-1 count, he got a fastball down the middle that he didn’t miss, breaking through the fence of the center-right pitch with a solo shot to stun home fans and turn the game around.
“Enough people aren’t talking about him,” Gonzales said. “I think he should be the AL player of the month. Our MVP lately. The guy comes back again and again.
Abraham Toro and Jake Fraley immediately followed with a single and a double, respectively, putting the runners in second and third place with no outs, but it looked like the Mariners were going to pass up the opportunity. With the infield on the line, Jarred Kelenic hit, as did Cal Raleigh.
This left the burden on Bauers, who would not leave the ducks on the pond. In a two-stroke count, Bauers went the other way on a change out of the zone, slapping him in left field and allowing Toro and Fraley to score easily. Paul Sewald then sealed the win with a scoreless ninth goal to cap a wild two-game streak for Seattle.
The shot has been very soft for Bauers, given his declining playing time in recent weeks. Bauers started out hot when he arrived in Seattle via trade, but began to crumble in late June and was relegated to the bench in mid-July. Since August 4, Bauers has only started five times.
Bauers said something clicked on the team’s recent road trip to Houston, feeling his swing was back in the right place.
“It’s tough when you don’t play every day and don’t feel like you’re contributing,” Servais said. “He had a huge hit tonight and a big smile on his face. Great to see. ”