The Seattle Mariners showed some true grit and determination in their dramatic 8-7 extra inning win over the San Francisco Giants to start the 2021 season.
A bases-loaded walk by Jack Fraley gave the Mariners an improbable win in front of 8,174 fans at T-Mobile Park It was the first time fans were allowed in T-Mobile Park in 550 days.
With Marco Gonzales chased from the game after giving up five earned runs in six innings the Mariners looked like they would disappoint the raucous crowd. Rather than shift into automatic pilot, the Mariners scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Dylan Moore’s sacrifice to center brought Evan White home.
The Giants picked up another run in the top of the eight and it was then that the Mariners decided it was time to get busy. The Mariners exploded for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and took a 7-6 lead that sent the crowd into absolute bedlam.
The shouting, fist-bumping, and dancing came to a brut end in the top of the ninth inning when Giants Alex Dickerson hit a solo home run to tie the game. The Mariners were unable to score in the bottom frame and the game went into extra innings.
WALK IN THE PARK
A diving catch by Mitch Haniger in the top of the 10th inning ended the inning and stranded the Giant’s go-ahead run at third. The acrobatic play by Haniger enabled the Mariners to pull off the late-game heroics. Per Major League Baseball rules the Mariners Evan White started the bottom half of the 10th inning on second base. Consecutive walks by Mariner hitters Taylor Trammell, Dylan Moore, and Jake Fraley off Giants reliever Jose Alvarez saw White walk home for the win.
FANS MADE A DIFFERENCE
Mariners manager Scott Servais was pleased with his team’s toughness and the difference the fans were able to make.
“Haniger was all over the place. We hung together as a ball club.
I do have to say tonight, we were so excited for fans in the stands tonight, Servais said in a postgame video conference. “You guys made a huge difference in that ballgame. It’s not like turning up the crowd noise. It’s real. Our players felt that; the other team felt that. So, I thank all of whatever it was the nine or 10,000 people that were in the stadium. Thank you. It’s great to have you back.”