Pitching duel, incredible defense, then Mariners walk off in 13th

August 10th, 2022

SEATTLE -- It will go down as one of the greatest games of the 2022 season. There were proverbial punches thrown back and forth all night between two All-Star workhorses. There was pure filth from both bullpens. There was a scoreless tie going all the way into the bottom of the 13th inning.

And there was a walk-off RBI single by that sent the Mariners to a 1-0 win in extras over the Yankees on Tuesday in front of a packed house at T-Mobile Park, with most of the crowd on their feet into the wee hours.

“We haven't been to the postseason in quite a while, but I'm assuming it would be like this -- and maybe a little bit better,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “And rightly so. Our fanbase is starved for this type of baseball. We have a team that can provide it. We’re fun to watch.”

How wild was this one? Torrens was pinch-hitting for the pitcher because the Mariners lost their DH with an earlier substitution. And that’s only the start for all of the insane context in this instant classic.

Here are three key moments that stood out:

1) The pure pitching filth

We haven’t even gotten into the epic duel between Luis Castillo and Gerrit Cole, who threw a combined 15 shutout innings, struck out a combined 15, allowed a combined nine baserunners and didn’t throw a fastball under 95 mph.

Yet the heat never cooled. Andrés Muñoz took over for Castillo with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Andrew Benintendi in order -- arguably his biggest sequence against one of the AL’s best trios. Matthew Festa and  followed with zeros, then  put up two hitless innings, including a bases-loaded escape that made Torrens’ heroics possible.

Per Alex Mayer from Mariners PR, the combination of Castillo, Muñoz, Sewald, Festa and Brash made the Mariners just the second team in AL/NL history to go 12 scoreless innings with three or fewer hits, and zero for extra bases, and 14-plus strikeouts, joining the 1976 Mets.

On the other side, after Cole, the Mariners were up against Aroldis Chapman (who had a 100.2 mph average fastball), All-Star Clay Holmes (97.2), Scott Effross (91.5), Wandy Peralta (94.8), Lou Trivino (96.2) and Jonathan Loáisiga (97.5).

“The velocity that we saw in this game tonight is the best pitching I've ever seen in a Major League game,” Servais said. “I've managed over 1,000. I've been around thousands of these games, and that's as good as it gets.”

2) The epic infield defense

Torrens’ heroics followed some incredible -- and bizarre -- double plays by Seattle’s gloves, none more notable than the 1-6-5-4 double play in the 12th that was ignited by a behind-the-back grab on a comebacker to Brash. The Mariners reliever caught automatic runner Jose Trevino in a rundown between second and third, then Eugenio Suárez quickly flipped to nab Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was out of the baseline heading to second.

If it looked instinctual, it was -- Brash said that he practiced that play regularly as a child growing up in Canada.

“I didn’t even know if I had it in my glove, but once I did, instinct just took over from there and I just kind of ran at the runner,” Brash said, laughing. “Once I had my glove I was just like, I just want to get rid of the ball just so these professional infielders can do what they do, so I got rid of it as soon as possible.”

A few other gems:

• In the 11th, Adam Frazier made a leaping grab on a line drive by Aaron Hicks and quickly doubled up automatic runner Miguel Andújar just as his feet hit the ground. In both the 11th and 12th, the Mariners recorded three outs when only facing two hitters.

• In the 10th, Sewald caught Benintendi in a rundown between second and third base.

• In the seventh,  became the first backstop to nab Judge for a caught stealing this season, with an 82.1 mph heave to Frazier that had a 2.01-second pop time, per Statcast.

“When the top-end pitchers get on the mound, it’s like everybody's a little bit on edge,” Servais said. “They know they got to make plays.”

3) Torrens’ big breakthrough

Torrens only got the opportunity because the Mariners lost their DH and were basically out of bench bats. He began taking swings in the cage in the eighth to stay loose.

“It's a big moment for me and for the team, too,” Torrens said. “I've just got to keep pushing and be ready for the opportunity when the opportunity comes.”

Torrens is likely playing on borrowed time, given that his prolonged struggles this season prompted the Mariners to acquire Curt Casali to be their backup catcher the rest of the way. Casali, recovering from a right oblique strain, is expected to return possibly as soon as their upcoming road trip.

If Tuesday’s at-bat was among his last with the Mariners, it was a special one.