ARLINGTON, Texas — This is how win streaks turn from five to eight, and from 10 games to historic.
And it’s another example of how the Mariners put together this recent run of success, dating to the abysmal 3-8 homestand where the season seemed over, well beyond the brawl in Anaheim and into the current double-digit win streak.
With a relatively late/early morning arrival into the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex providing inconvenience, JP Crawford out of the lineup as a late scratch and a sluggish start from Marco Gonzales and their own failures with the bases loaded leading to a four-run deficit after two innings, it would have been easy for the Mariners to slog their way through a nondescript defeat with fatigue as an excuse and the promise to finish strong over the final three games of the series before the All-Star break.
Instead, the Mariners didn’t want to end this ride of wins that started back on July 2. The Mariners scored two runs in the seventh and three runs in the eighth inning, punctuated by Ty France’s bases-loaded two-run single to rally for an eventual 6-5 victory.
It was the Mariners’ biggest come-from-behind win of the season and extended their winning streak to 11 games.
“What a run we are on,” manager Scott Servais said, as if he wasn’t even sure what just happened. “You just never how it’s going to play out every night.”
This is how seasons become magical and teams become unforgettable.
Will it be how the longest current postseason drought in major professional sports ends?
“Eleven wins a row, incredible,” Servais said. “Incredible group we’ve got and they look forward to coming to the park every day.”
It’s the second-longest win streak in club history, trailing only the 15-game win streak put together by the 2001 Mariners. The Mariners also joined the Astros and Yankees with 11-game winning streaks this season, which are second to the Braves’ 14-game winning streak.
The Mariners improved to 48-42 — their highest number of games above .500 this season. With Boston and Toronto losing, the Mariners moved into the second AL wild card spot.
“It’s just fun to come to the field every day and be a part of this group,” Gonzales said. “I can’t really describe it more than that. We’re just absolutely having a blast. And even tonight when we’re down, the energy in our dugout, the energy with our team all year long, we know who we are, we know how good we are and we’re never out of it. There’s no panic.”
After Gonzales gave up three runs in the first inning and another in the second on almost 50 pitches, the Mariners seemed destined to have a position player pitch to save their bullpen arms.
Gonzales understood that an exit after three innings just couldn’t happen. He reeled in his outing and started getting outs.
“I just wanted to get 100 pitches and get through six innings,” Gonzales said.
Facing Rangers starter Martin Perez, who was named to the AL All-Star team this season, the Mariners seemed to have squandered two serious scoring opportunities. Perez, who had has nasty movement on his fastball and a difficult changeup, had plenty of movement but minimal command.
His second inning:
- Strikeout looking of Jesse Winker
- Strikeout looking of Dylan Moore
- Strikeout of Sam Haggerty.
The Mariners loaded the bases again in the third inning against Perez. But Raleigh popped up with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Seattle finally broke through in the fourth inning in a unique way. Haggerty hit a hard sinking liner to center field that Leody Taveras couldn’t make a shoestring catch on. The ball went past him all the way to the wall. Haggerty, one of the fastest players in baseball, never stopped running. He circled the bases for the Mariners’ first inside-the-park homer since Willie Bloomquist on June 15, 2007 at Houston.
Gonzales would give up one more run, but still pitched six complete innings, which will be critical for the Mariners in the days ahead.