Mariners rally late for stunning 7-5 win versus Astros

The Seattle Mariners rally for their fifth come-from-behind win in six games, thanks to a seven-run scoring flurry in the eighth inning.

The scene was looking all too familiar for the Mariners on Saturday night. Down 3-0 after seven innings, they were facing yet another defeat to a ball club which has had their number for far too long.

Then a more recent trend took over, one which saw them come from behind for the fifth time in six games, to win 7-5. And just like that, Seattle had leveled the series at 1-1 with their biggest divisional rivals.

The Mariners’ offense had been kept in check for the majority of the night, thanks in large part to an excellent Major League debut by J.P. France. He allowed just three hits and one walk, while giving up no runs in five innings.

The only real adversity France faced came early, with a bases-loaded, one out situation in the first inning. However, he struck out both Cal Raleigh and Teoscar Hernandez, to end the threat.

Gonzales does his bit

On the opposite side, Marco Gonzales was putting together a decent outing of his own. Through the first three innings, he allowed no hits and just one walk.

Then in the fourth inning, Gonzales lost his rhythm, and the Astros took advantage to load the bases with just one out. The visitors subsequently scored two runs, but it could have been so much worse.

Fortunately, the 31-year-old recovered his composure for the most part, only allowing one more run in the fifth to make it 3-0. In general, he has pitched well since a shaky first start of the season, save for a terrible outing versus Toronto.

Yes, giving up trio of walks and three earned runs isn’t exactly outstanding. However, Gonzales still put together a quality start as he pitched six innings, striking out four batters in the process.

After the game, Gonzales was asked how he felt, especially during the first three innings. He said:

“I felt like the first time through the lineup was some of the best execution I’ve had and some of the best pitch shaping just all around, some of the best I’ve felt. So really encouraging and good to build off of for sure.”

Discussing the fourth inning specifically, Gonzales was asked how much the two walks hurt him. He said:

“The Yordan (Alvarez) at-bat, not so much. The (Jose) Abreau at-bat hurt us a lot. It just felt like I was trying to do too much and it ended up coming back to bite us — which three bases usually do — so I need to cut that down. I felt like besides that inning where things kind of got away from us a little bit, we handled it pretty well.”

With Gonzales out of the game and the Mariners down 3-0, it was up to the bullpen to keep the home side within touching distance. Enter Juan Then.

Making his Major League debut after an injury to Penn Murfee, Then couldn’t have done any better in pitching a straight 1-2-3 inning. Taylor Saucedo repeated the trick in the top of the eighth, but Seattle still needed to step up on offense.

Mariners bats come alive in dramatic fashion

The Mariners subsequently did just this in sensational fashion, as they scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth. Making it even more dramatic, all the damage came after two outs and with no one on base.

Almost inexplicably, this was the moment Seattle chose to finally wake up. A walk and two singles — the second of which arguably should have been the final out of the inning — loaded the bases.

This brought J.P. Crawford to the plate. Remaining as composed as he ever has done in such a big moment, he calmly hit a double which cleared the bases and tied the game at 3-3.

Despite a change in the Astros bullpen, the visitors couldn’t quell the momentum change. Another walk and a Jose Caballero double gave the Mariners their first lead of the day, at 5-3.

Julio Rodriguez then added an RBI single to make it 6-3. This was a much needed hit for Rodriguez, who has struggled with his bat of late, at least by his high standards.

The scoring mercifully — at least from Houston’s perspective — finally concluded after an RBI single from Jarred Kelenic. However, the damage was done, as the Mariners ended the eighth with a commanding 7-3 lead.

Considering the seven-run blitz, Crawford couldn’t have been more understated in describing what happened. He said:

“I mean, that eighth inning is us. We take our walks, some little hits and then some clutch ones. That’s our kind of baseball.”

Some late angst

Despite the seemingly strong advantage, at the end of the day this is still the Mariners. As such, there was still time to cause some panic for the 40,328 fans in attendance at T-Mobile Park.

Brought in to close out the game, Paul Sewald proceeded to allow two hits to start the ninth inning. He then got two outs, before allowing an RBI double to bring Houston to within 7-5.

In fairness to Sewald, it was only the second time in 18 appearances this season when he’d given up two runs. Regardless, he nailed Mauricio Dubon for the final out, to clinch the win for Seattle.

Mariners manager Scott Servais was understandably both happy and relieved about the result. Speaking to the media, he said:

“We were due. That big inning couldn’t have come at a better time. When you have an inning like that, you’re going to need a few things go your way. We got a few breaks, and we haven’t had a lot on the offensive side lately.”

Whether this game serves to galvanize Seattle remains to be seen, but Servais knows he has a team which never quits. He said:

“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. I was concerned, I think is an understatement. But credit to our guys, they keep battling.”

Now, the Mariners will aim to take the series on Sunday and get back to .500 on the season. Bryce Miller will take the ball, as he looks to build on his sensational Major League debut in Oakland.

What’s your prediction for the rubber match on Sunday between the Mariners and Astros? How much confidence do you have in Miller carrying over the sensational form from his Major League debut? Let us know in the comments section below.

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