Mariners Mondays — Comebacks and Walk-offs Part 2
Tonight on Mariners Mondays on ROOT SPORTS – a look at four times the Mariners came back to win with late inning heroics.
On April 11, the Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Pitchers Kevin Millwood and Colby Lewis were well matched until the Rangers hit back-to-back home runs off Steve Delebar in the 7th.
The Rangers tacked on another and it looked like they would cruise to the win. That was until the 8th inning when John Jaso tripled and then scored on a Dustin Ackley single, snapping a 23 inning scoreless streak.
In the 9th, Justin Smoak led off with a single, followed by Kyle Seager’s double. Jesus Montero advanced the runners with a sacrifice fly and Michael Saunders scored two with an RBI double. Jaso again came through with a solid single that scored Saunders for the third run of the inning, capping a rally off Rangers closer Joe Nathan for the 4-3 win.
Rookie left-hander Lucas Luetge had two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings for his first Major League victory.
Jaso’s late inning heroics were on display again on May 7, when the Tigers came to town.
Starter Blake Beavan struggled early in the game and left the mound after getting hit on the elbow by a line drive in the 3rd inning. Tigers starter Doug Fister, the former Mariner pitcher, who was making his second start of the season, allowed just four hits, walked none, had three strike outs and looked to be on the way to his first win of the season.
That is until manager Jim Leyland lifted Fister for reliever Octavio Dotel, who lacked control from the beginning. He walked Brendan Ryan and Ichiro, advanced the runners on a wild pitch, then surrendered a two run double to Jesus Montero to tie the game. Jaso sacrificed Munenori Kawasaki in the bottom of the 9th, who scored the game winning run in the three-run comeback.
Another exciting walk-off came on August 14 against the Tampa Bay Rays (just one day before Felix would throw his perfect game), ending the Rays seven-game win streak.
Starter Kevin Millwood looked like he was off to a rocky start but regained his footing and gave up just two runs in seven innings and struck out a season-high eight. He was matched by Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore, who allowed one run on six hits and struck out nine.
Kyle Seager started the rally with a single off reliever Fernando Rodney, followed by a bunt base hit by Chone Figgins. Justin Smoak tied the game with a deep fly to center. Eric Thames, who had struck out in his first three at-bats, stepped up to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, facing one of the best closers in baseball. Thames was down to his final strike when he lined a changeup into short right, scoring Figgins, earning the Mariners a 3-2 win and receiving a beat-down from his teammates as he headed for 1st.
The final “last at-bat win” goes back to April 27th when the Mariners visited the Blue Jays in Toronto. Canada native Michael Saunders had spent the winter working on his hitting with a private instructor and it showed. Saunders had two home runs, including a grand slam in the 10th as the Mariners rallied to beat the Jays 9-5.
Relive the fun of those late-innings heroics on ROOT SPORTS tonight at 7:30 pm.