Mariners find late magic with 7-run 8th inning to beat Astros

May 7th, 2023

SEATTLE -- The Mariners recaptured their late-innings magic in a big way, and against an even bigger opponent, as they broke out for a seven-spot with two outs in the eighth inning as part of a 7-5 win over the division-rival Astros. 

A breakdown of the breakthrough, which all began with two outs and no runners on base:

• Eugenio Suárez walked on six pitches, without swinging.

• Cal Raleigh singled on a check swing that left his bat at 60.2 mph and had a .150 expected batting average.

• Teoscar Hernández hit a 99.4 mph infield single that Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña corralled, nearly nabbing Suárez for the forceout, but his throw was wide of third baseman Alex Bregman.

• J.P. Crawford drove them all in with a 105.9 mph, bases-clearing double to the right-center gap off former teammate Rafael Montero, sending the T-Mobile Park crowd into a frenzy.

• Pinch-hitter Taylor Trammell walked as the first batter against Ryne Stanek, who took over for Montero.

• Jose Caballero jumped on a 99.4 mph fastball from Stanek at the bottom of the zone and ripped it for a two-run double to the left-center gap, pushing Seattle ahead.

• Julio Rodríguez followed with an RBI single on a slider that was way off the plate, but it represented a much-needed knock for the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, who’s hitting just .215/.282/.392 (.674 OPS) in his sophomore season.

• Ty France moved Rodríguez to third base with a base hit as part of a 3-for-5 night, the type of game that can hopefully jumpstart him from the 4-for-42 funk he’d been in.

• Jarred Kelenic scorched a 108 mph RBI single over the second baseman’s head that punctuated the night and gave Paul Sewald plenty of cushion despite surrendering two runs in the ninth. 

“Definitely, I mean, that eighth inning is us,” Crawford said. “We take our walks, little hits and then some clutch ones. That's our baseball.”

For as long as it looked like the Mariners might be headed to their fourth shutout throughout most of the evening, they flipped the script so rapidly. Per Baseball Savant, the Mariners had a 96% chance of losing on Saturday after recording their second out in the eighth.

The Mariners had a 96% chance of losing Saturday's game when they had two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, per Baseball Savant.

“When you do an inning like that, you're going to need a few things to go your way, and we got them,” manager Scott Servais said. “We got a few breaks. We haven't had a lot on the offensive side lately.”

One night after an eighth-inning rally also tied the game in an eventual loss, the Mariners (16-17) evened the series and can climb back to .500 in Sunday’s finale. Making it all the more sweet is that Saturday’s efforts came against a Houston club that they’d lost to 16 of 23 times since the start of 2022.

“Big confidence boost for us to come back in that game tonight because, offensively, we had some chances early, but we kind of looked dead in the water,” Servais said. “I was concerned, I think is an understatement. But credit to our guys, they keep battling.”

Indeed, the Mariners had debuting Astros starter J.P. France on the ropes with a bases-loaded jam and one out in the first inning, but failed to cash in. Then from the second through seventh, they only put two runners in scoring position. It was shaping up to spoil six solid innings from Marco Gonzales, who held Houston hitless his first time through, then surrendered two runs after two walks in the fourth and another on an RBI double by Yordan Alvarez in the fifth.

However, Alvarez’s knock initially yielded two runs, when catcher Tom Murphy was called for obstructing the running lane of Mauricio Dubón, though a challenge from Servais overturned the play.

In many ways, that momentum-halting moment was critical to Saturday’s win. Crawford had a big hand there, too, with an 80.3 mph relay throw.

“Huge, huge throw,” Gonzales said. “Huge relay by Jarred and then [Crawford] and the play by Murph -- all around great defense.”

For all the Mariners' frustrations in this young season, they can get back in the black in the series finale.