The Seattle Mariners finished a sweep of the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon, April 16, at Safeco Field. The three-game series sweep also gave the Mariners their first real winning streak of the season. Maybe the best result of the night, though, was that the Mariners passed the Rangers in the American League West standings. Now there is a new team residing in the cellar.
The Sunday game took a huge effort from the bullpen and the offense for the Mariners to end up on the winning side. Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma lasted only three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits before he exited the game. Six relievers combined to pitch the final six innings of the game, allowing one run and picking up a very important win on the schedule.
Closer Edwin Diaz, pitching in a non-save situation, ended up getting the win in the ninth inning, but not before making things very interesting for fans still tuning into the game. After trailing 6-1 at one point, the Mariners had crawled all the way back to a 6-6 tie as the top of the ninth inning began. Diaz ended up allowing the Rangers to score a go-ahead run, putting the offense in a 7-6 deficit heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Mariners then took full advantage of Rangers closer Sam Dyson to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and notch an amazing come-from-behind victory. With the bases loaded and no outs, Mitch Haniger drew an important walk that allowed Jarrod Dyson to score the tying run. Two batters later, Nelson Cruz hit an infield single to score Mike Freeman and send the Safeco Field crowd home with smiles.
Earlier in the game that culminated in the Seattle Mariners sweep of the Texas Rangers, outfielder Mitch Haniger (pictured above) made an amazing catch to rob the Rangers of a home run. Haniger easily became the player of the game for the Mariners, adding in a three-run homer and the game-tying walk in the bottom of the ninth inning. In 13 games this season, Haniger has a.294 batting average, four home runs, and 11 RBIs to his credit.
When the Seattle Mariners traded pitcher Taijuan Walker to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jean Segura this offseason, many fans felt that Mitch Haniger was simply a throw-in player to give the Mariners outfield depth. Instead, Haniger has easily been one of the best players for the Mariners this season, making general manager Jerry Dipoto look really smart with that deal. Haniger has also won over quite a few fans, making him a favorite of many viewers thanks to his early-season heroics.
With the sweep of the Rangers, the Mariners are now 5-8 on the season, which is good enough for fourth place in the AL West. The Mariners still trail the Houston Astros by three-and-a-half games in the division, but the teams will meet up 12 more times during the 2017 MLB regular season. There is a lot that can happen before the MLB Playoffs begin, giving the Mariners plenty of time to turn things around if the team can build off the momentum that Sunday’s victory may have generated.
Next up on the Mariners’ schedule is a three-game series against the Miami Marlins that begins on Monday night, April 17. It wraps up this home series before the Mariners head out on the road to play four games against the Oakland Athletics. The road trip also includes three games against the Detroit Tigers and three games against the Cleveland Indians from April 25-30. These will be tough games to end the month of April for the Seattle Mariners, but it also gives the team a good chance to bounce back from that rough 2-8 start to the year.
[Featured Image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]