BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 09/04/2017

Mariners Week: Back in wild card contention

Boosted by the arrival via trade of veteran starter Mike Leake, as well as a remarkable start Sunday from Andrew Albers, the Mariners sneaked back into the wild card race.

Newcomer Mike Leake worked seven innings in a win over Oakland Friday. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

After getting swept by Baltimore in a three-game set at Camden Yards to begin the week, the Mariners (69-68) ended the week by brooming the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field, including Sunday’s 10-2 romp (box). After falling 4.5 games behind at midweek in the chase for the American League’s second wild card, Seattle starts a new week Monday 2.5 in arrears. But next up are the AL West-leading Houston Astros, 8-5 against Seattle this season, including 4-2 at Safeco Field.

The week

Monday (Orioles 7, Mariners 6): Former Mariner Adam Jones hit a record-breaking home run, Welington Castillo had three hits and two RBIs and Baltimore handed Seattle (66-66) its third consecutive defeat. Jones’ solo homer in the fifth inning gave him 25 for an Orioles-record seventh consecutive season, breaking a tie with Cal Ripken Jr. Ben Gamel collected a career-high five RBIs for the Mariners.

Tuesday (Orioles 4, Mariners 0): Dylan Bundy, backed by four solo home runs, including a pair by Manny Machado, threw a complete game one-hitter. Seattle had only a bunt single from Kyle Seager.

Wednesday (Orioles 8, Mariners 7): Castillo went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, Jonathan Schoop singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as Baltimore rallied from a 6-2 deficit for the sweep. Mitch Haniger hit a homer and two doubles for Seattle, which allowed four home runs for the second consecutive game.

Friday (Mariners 3, Athletics 2): Three batters into his Seattle career, Mike Leake had allowed three hits and a run. But he settled down to give the Mariners seven innings, helping them snap a five-game losing streak. The two first-inning runs were it for Leake, the first Mariners starter since July 25 to finish the seventh.

Saturday (Mariners 7, Athletics 6): Jean Segura raced home from third base on a wild pitch with two outs in the ninth as the Mariners rallied from a 6-2 deficit.

Sunday (Mariners 10, Athletics 2): Andrew Albers threw a no-hitter through five innings and allowed one hit over six. The Mariners had homers from Cano, Haniger and Carlos Ruiz. Cano had a four-hit day with four RBIs, while Haniger had four hits and Segura three.

Takeaway

The five-game losing streak that ended Friday brought to nine the number of Mariners losing skids in 2017 of at least three games. Of those, six lasted four or more. Seattle has also had nine winning streaks of three or more games, including eight of four or more.

After their 69th triumph of the season Sunday, the Mariners must win 17 of their final 25 (.680) just to match the worst record by the second AL wild card team. The current playoff format with two wild card entries began in 2012. Since then, the 2015 Houston Astros reached the playoffs with the worst mark at 86-76.

The Mariners have won 17+ in September/October three times: 1995 (20-9), 2000 (19-10), 2001 (20-7).

Innings of the week

Orioles 7th Monday: With the score tied at six, Trey Mancini led off with a single off Emilio Pagan (1-3) and Chris Davis followed with a liner into the right-field corner, giving the Orioles a 7-6 lead that held.

Mariners 3rd Wednesday: After falling behind 2-0, the Mariners erupted for six runs and a 6-2 lead. The rally included a two-run double by Haniger and two-run singles by Mike Zunino and Nelson Cruz, the latter of which ricocheted off second base.

Mariners 3rd Friday: Seattle got all of its runs in the third against A’s starter Sean Manaea. Zunino led off with an opposite-field home run, his 20th of the season. Segura followed with a single, stole second and scored on Haniger’s single. A hit batter and walk loaded the bases and Haniger scored on Seager’s sacrifice fly.

Mariners 9th Saturday: After Zunino hit his 21st homer to tie the game 6-6 in the eighth, in the ninth Segura and Yonder Alonso singled and Robinson Cano was walked intentionally to load the bases. Closer Blake Treinen’s first pitch to Haniger bounced away from catcher Bruce Maxwell, but not far enough for Segura to advance. But the second pitch slipped between Maxwell’s feet to the backstop. Segura scored the winning run on a walk-off wild pitch.

Good week/Bad week

Good: Acquired from St. Louis to help Seattle’s faltering rotation, Leake delivered the game for which the Mariners were desperate. It marked only the fourth time since the All-Star break that a Seattle starter worked seven innings. Bad: Miranda allowed six earned runs on eight hits in four innings against Baltimore Wednesday. That marked the fifth time this season that Miranda permitted at least six runs.

Not in the box score

  • The Mariners had another losing August, 12-15. In 41 years, the franchise has had only 13 Augusts with a record of .500 or better.
  • The Mariners sustained their 11th blanking Tuesday. In 2016, they were shut out six times.
  • When Danny Valencia whiffed four times Tuesday, he became the fourth Mariner to strike out four or more times in a game in 2017, following Cruz (five times vs. Boston July 25), Tuffy Gosewisch (4 vs. Oakland May 15) and Gamel (4 vs. Houston July 17).
  • Bundy threw a complete-game one-hitter. According to Elias, the last time a pitcher threw a complete-game one-hitter where the only hit allowed was a bunt was June 23, 1994. Bobby Witt of the Athletics allowed one hit and struck out 14 Royals batters. Greg Gagne bunted with one out in the sixth.
  • The game was the third time this season the Mariners were limited to one hit (also April 18 vs. Miami and May 19 vs. the Chicago White Sox). That tied the franchise mark for most times one-hit in a season (also 1988 and 2014).
  •  Miranda’s four home runs Wednesday gave him the MLB lead with 35. Miranda also tied Scott Bankhead (1987) and Jason Vargas (2012) for the second-most homers surrendered by a Seattle pitcher in a single season. Jamie Moyer set the mark with 44 in 2004. Miranda has an opportunity this season to join Moyer, Rich DeLucia (32 in 1991) and Ryan Franklin (36 in 2003) as the only Mariner pitchers to lead the American League in home runs allowed.
  • Leake became the 17th starting pitcher used by the Mariners this season, most in baseball. That tied the club record set in Seattle’s inaugural season of 1977.
  • Leake allowed hits to each of the first three batters he faced, but allowed only five more. During August, while with the Cardinals, Leake had an ERA of 8.88, third-highest among the 108 major league pitchers who tossed at least 25 innings during the month (Ian Kennedy, 9.57, and Derek Holland, 9.00). Leake also yielded the highest opponent batting average (.375) during August among those 108 pitchers.
  • Seager recorded his 30th double of the season Friday, becoming the fourth Mariner with five or more seasons with 30 or more doubles. Seager joined Edgar Martinez (nine), Raul Ibanez (five) and Ken Griffey Jr. (five).
  • Zunino hit his 20th homer Friday, becoming the only catcher in franchise history with two 20-homer seasons. Zunino hit 22 in 2014.
  • When Segura raced home with winning run Saturday night, he became the first Mariner to score on a walk-off wild pitch since Jay Buhner in the 14th inning June 23, 1993 against Oakland in the Kingdome.
  • When Shae Simmons entered Sunday’s game in the ninth inning, he became the 40th pitcher used by Seattle this season. That tied the major league record by the 2014 Rangers for most pitchers used in a single season.

Mitch Haniger hit a homer and two doubles against the Orioles Wednesday. He also hit a homer Sunday. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

Words

“Bundy was outstanding. He had good stuff and executed his game plan against us. He was all over different quadrants with the strike zone and we had nothing going offensively. We have talked often on this road trip that we have to hit and score runs and we haven’t done that.” – Seattle manager Scott Servais, after Bundy threw a complete-game, one-hitter

“Certainly he has a track record. But going forward is the big deal. We’re excited to have him. It’s tough to acquire starting pitching, especially at this time of year.” – Servais, after the acquisition Wednesday of Leake

“This was definitely a long trip, but we have to play better than we did here (Baltimore) and in New York.” – Haniger Wednesday

“That first inning I was like, ‘What am I putting myself into?’ Luckily, I was able to pull it together.” – Leake

“It was a big shot in the arm for us, him coming in here and stopping a losing streak.” – Servais on Leake

“The way Jean Segura played tonight, that’s the Jean Segura that we saw early in the year. He was aggressive on the bases, he was driving the ball, made great plays at shortstop. He’s looking to score that winning run if the ball gets away from the catcher. We’re a different club when he plays that way.” – Servais Saturday

“Albers was really good. That guy was outstanding.” — Cano, after Andrew Albers threw a no-hitter over five innings

“Unbelievable feat to use 40 pitchers in a season.”– Servais

Transactions/DL

Monday: Recalled RHP Christian Bergman from AAA Tacoma; optioned RHP Dan Altavilla to the Rainiers.

Wednesday: Acquired RHP Mike Leake, cash considerations and international slot money from St. Louis in exchange for minor league INF Rayder Ascanio.

Thursday: Traded OF Leonys Martin and cash considerations to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Friday: Recalled RHPs Dan Altavilla, Ryan Garton and Andrew Moore from Tacoma; reinstated OF Jarrod Dyson and RHP Shae Simmons from the disabled list; added Leake to the active roster; selected C Mike Marjama from the Rainiers; placed RHP David Phelps on the 10-day DL; outrighted RHP Christian Bergman to the Rainiers; waived RHP Sam Gaviglio (claimed by Kansas City).

Saturday: Recalled INF Gordon Beckham from Tacoma; designated INF Shawn O’Malley for assignment.

Next

The Mariners continue their nine-game home stand with three against Astros Monday through Wednesday. Following a day off Thursday, the Mariners host the Angels for three. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (5-5, 4.43) will pitch the 3:40 p.m. Labor Day contest for Seattle opposite LHP Dallas Keuchel (11-3, 2.91).


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YourThoughts

  • Kevin Lynch

    They got the sweep. They need two out of three now in every series. Will be tough with the starting pitching they have. What’s the update on Felix?