Until today, the Seattle Mariners had never swept a three-game series at Fenway Park in Boston. Not against the Boston Red Sox, not against the Harlem Globetrotters, not against nobody. Today the Mariners wrapped up a three-game series at Fenway with a 8-6 win, their third straight. With the sweep, the Mariners added a nice little trivia answer to their history. More importantly, they kept pace in the playoff chase.
Those who tuned in this morning may have been unlucky enough to catch Hisashi Iwakuma‘s start in it’s entirety. The ace righty (let’s not forget that Kuma is an ace, no matter the stature of the man who stands in front of him in the rotation) was shelled for five runs in 2.1 innings, walking one while striking out… one. That’s the shortest outing of his major league career, and the second time in as many days that a Mariners starter couldn’t make it through four full frames. Bummer for Iwakuma, but hopefully he’s back in force next time around.
Boston starter Brandon Workman barely fared better, lasting 4.1 innings while giving up six runs. He and Iwakuma each allowed three in the first, though the Mariners had the opportunity to score even more.Austin Jackson and Dustin Ackley reached on a single and a double, respectively, to open the game. Robinson Cano hit a fielder’s choice, with Jackson out at home on the play. In hindsight, might have been better to stand tight to third. Kendrys Morales, Kyle Seager, and Logan Morrison each followed with back-to-back-to-back RBI singles, giving the M’s their early lead. Kuma would immediately cough it up, of course, but the main point is that the hits keep coming in clusters.
Cano gave us all a bit of a scare when he exited the game midway through the bottom of the third. There’s been a little sickness going around the clubhouse, and today it was Cano’s turn to feel all dizzy and crappy. He’s expected to be back in action tomorrow. Brad Miller filled in admirably at second, where’s he’s looked good defensively in limited action this year. He even did a little hitting in the late innings! Brad Miller should be so great. Maybe next year.
Chris Denorfia hit an RBI sac fly in the fourth to bring the Mariners within one, and Dustin Ackley tripled with Jackson on first an inning later to tie the game. Miller added a deep sac of his own to score Ackley, giving the M’s a 6-5 lead. Seager lined in an RBI for an insurance run in the eighth, but a Kelly Johnson double in the bottom of the inning made it a one-run game again. But Miller delivered a huge double off the green monster in the top of the ninth to once more give the M’s an important insurance run.
Fernando Rodney caught on to the dramatic nature of the game and flirted with the idea of giving it all back to Boston and then some. Two of the first three batters he faced struck out, sandwiching a Mookie Betts single. Back to back walks of Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia loaded the bases, but Rodney got Johnson to strike out to end the game. You can strike out the side, or you can strike out the side while looking completely wild and loading the bases in the process. Rodney knows how he likes to play this game.
So the Mariners have wrapped up another successful road trip and return home thirteen games over .500 for the first time in
franchise history a really long time. Next up is three at home against the Texas Rangers, who are slated to pick first overall in next year’s draft. What was supposed to be a dynasty turned into a couple years’ worth of late-season collapses and turned into this abomination of a roster, where injuries have left Colby Lewis and his 5.54 ERA as the de facto staff ace. Tomorrow it’s Roenis Elias vs. Miles Mikolas, which is a cool name that I may as well have made up just now. 7:10 start. The Mariners! The playoffs! It might really happen!