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.
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.
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.
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
“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
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.
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).