There’s this funny thing about scoring runs. A weird little side effect that many of us probably forgot about over the last
month year several years. See, the Seattle Mariners haven’t typically been a team to score a lot of runs. So when score twenty times in two days, we take notice. And, of course, the M’s win.
13-3 is quite the final score, and that it came in the heat of a playoff race and was against the detestable Chicago White Sox makes this one of the more satisfying wins of the season. It looked like the Mariners were on the verge of slipping off the playoff pace. They’ve loudly negated that, and are now looking like the liveliest team in a four-team hunt.
It started with Dustin Ackley‘s first inning solo homer. How high are you on Ackley this morning? How confident are you that he can continue to help a good team win games? It’s hard not to be super into the guy right now, and even though he’s had his hot streaks before, this feels like the real deal. Who cares if it is or isn’t right now, because right now Ackley’s a huge reason why the Mariners are kicking at the door to the postseason.
In the fourth inning Mike Zunino stood at first with Endy Chavez at the plate. Chavez, of all people, hit a home run to extend the Mariners’ lead. One frame later Ackley walked and was homered in by Robinson Cano. A two-run Dayan Viciedo homer in the top of the sixth continued the game’s dinger theme and put the White Sox back within shouting distance. Ultimately, however, they never threatened.
The Mariners took a break from hitting home runs in the sixth to score in different ways. Logan Morrison walked, Zunino was hit by a pitch, and starting pitcher Scott Carroll left the game with a bad case of sucking at baseball. A Chavez sac bunt moved everyone forward, an Austin Jackson walk loaded ‘em up again, and an Ackley single brought two runs in. Jackson then scored on a wild pitch. The Mariners are an offense machine.
More fun was still to come, as the seventh inning would show. Kyle Seager walked, LoMo doubled him home, and Chavez singled Lomo home. An error and a single put Chris Taylor and Jackson, respectively, on base, and it wasn’t long before Dustin Ackley’s groundout was sending yet another run home. Kendrys Morales was hit leading off the eighth, and scored on a Kyle Seager home run. It was a good night in Seattle.
Roenis Elias started and was perfectly effective, going 5.2 innings and allowing only two hits, though one was a two-run blast. He struck out five and walked two, then received a surprise demotion after the game. It’s not performance-related, of course – you’ve seen how good he’s been all season long – but rather was related to his rising number of innings. Remember, he entered the year as a AA guy you’d never heard of. He’ll sit around in the minors for a few weeks or something, then come back to help the Mariners surge into the playoffs. Lloyd and Jack have done such a good job of managing the staff this year that they’ll get the benefit of the doubt on this one. I’m sure there’s a plan in place to keep Elias fresh while also getting him some much-needed rest.
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Jose Quintana today at 7:10. Neither of these guys are likely to come to mind at the mention of the word “ace,” but they’re both at the very least something very ace-like. The good thing about this Chicago series is not having to face Chris Sale. The bad thing is having to face Quintana, who has been quietly excellent for a couple years now. Seattle, Toronto, and New York are all half a game back of Kansas City for the last playoff spot. This is the biggest game of the season, until tomorrow. It ought to be like that the rest of the way.