The five craziest one-run wins from the Mariners' storybook start
At the start of the season, the Astros were the prohibitive favorite in the AL West. Entering play on Monday, however, Houston found itself looking up at the Mariners, who sit in first place at 37-22.
Seattle has played its way into contention in just about the most heart-stopping, jaw-dropping way imaginable: The Mariners' 2-1 win over the Rays on Sunday marked the team's 27th one-run game already this year -- including 16 of their last 24 (!) -- and the team has gone 18-9 in those contests. Choosing just five to celebrate here wasn't easy, but we did it anyway. (A quick note: some antacids may come in handy.)
March 29: Mariners 2, Indians 1
It didn't take long for Seattle to get the party started. Opening Day pitted Felix Hernandez against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, and at least for one night, King Felix turned back the clock. The veteran allowed just four baserunners over 5 1/3 shutout innings, and with Nelson Cruz providing the offense, the Mariners took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning.
Cleveland rallied in the final frame: Edwin Diaz plunked two batters, and Rajai Davis stole third to put the tying run 90 feet away with just one out. But then, in what would become something of a running theme, the flamethrowing righty nailed it down:
This game had more twists and turns than a full season of television, so please try to follow along: First, Seattle stormed back with two in the sixth and four in the eighth, capped by a go-ahead two-run homer from Mike Zunino that nearly took the roof off of Safeco Field.
The Mariners took a 6-4 lead into the ninth, and things looked relatively settled ... until Justin Upton tied the game again with a dinger of his own. The Angels added another run in the top of the 10th, only for the Mariners to respond in the bottom half. The Angels then scored again in the 11th, only for the Mariners to tie it back up again. Finally, Ryon Healy sent everyone home:
May 15: Mariners 9, Rangers 8 (11 inn.)
If you thought that game was back and forth, wait until you get a load of this win probability chart:
This time it was Seattle that blew the lead, going from 6-3 up to 7-6 down after a Ronald Guzman single in the eighth capped a four-run Texas rally. Jean Segura's RBI single in the bottom half put the Mariners back in front, only for Jurickson Profar to somehow score the tying run from second on a grounder back to the pitcher:
Of course, the other team can't rally if you come up with a walk-off, and Guillermo Heredia was happy to oblige in the 11th:
May 18: Mariners 5, Tigers 4
For a while, this game seemed pretty ordinary: Michael Fulmer was on cruise control, and Detroit took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Did it stay that way for long? Of course not:
In every inning but the seventh, the Mariners managed two hits and no walks. In the seventh, they put up three hits, two walks and five runs.
May 20: Mariners 3, Tigers 2 (11 inn.)
Just two days later, they did it to the poor Tigers again. This time it was particularly cruel: Detroit entered the bottom of the ninth with a two-run lead, until Mitch Haniger stepped to the plate.
From there, it was only a matter of time before Jean Segura sent everybody home.