Seattle Mariners Move Up In Wild Card Standings, Send Toronto Blue Jays Fans Home In Disappointment

The Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Friday night (June 9), continuing a recent trend of really good baseball from the club. Though the Mariners were hosting the game at Safeco Field, thousands of Blue Jays fans descended from Canada to take in the event. It meant that most of the crowd leaving the ballpark was disappointed, despite the home team winning another one.

Sam Gaviglio made the start for the Mariners, allowing just one earned run in six innings of work. He threw 102 pitches in his longest outing of the season, again providing the Mariners with a strong effort in place of an injured starting pitcher. Three relievers closed out the final innings, including Tyler Cloyd, who picked up his first win since the 2013 season. This was his debut for the Mariners, making him the 45th player to see the field for the team this season.

Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Mariners, striking out two batters and notching his 10th save of the season. On offense, Danny Valencia and Jarrod Dyson had RBI singles in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the Mariners in front for good. Kyle Seager drove in another run in the bottom of the eighth inning for insurance and then it was all up to Diaz to slam the door for good.

In the updated Wild Card standings, the Seattle Mariners (31-31) just moved within 1.5 games of the Baltimore Orioles (31-28) for the final American League playoff spot. The Wild Card race is going to get really intense in the AL, especially with how many teams are bunched up in the standings now. Winning eight of their last 10 games has the Mariners right in the middle of the pack, but there is still some work to do to catch up to the Orioles.

Ariel Miranda (6-2, 3.35) takes the mound for the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night (June 10) against Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.25) of the Toronto Blue Jays. On Sunday (June 11), the Mariners will have James Paxton (5-0, 1.69) going up against former Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ (0-4, 5.33). Winning both games might help the Mariners pass some of the other teams ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. That includes the Cleveland Indians (30-28), Tampa Bay Rays (32-31), and Los Angeles Angels (32-32).

Home cooking has been quite nice for the Seattle Mariners, as the team has now won seven of the first nine games during this homestand. Two more games against the Toronto Blue Jays will close it out over the weekend, giving the team a chance to really make the rest of the baseball world take notice. That could also help some of the better performing players get a real shot at making the American League All-Star team. The player with the best shot at that goal, so far, is designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who leads all players in votes at the position.

Game time is 7:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, with ROOT Sports again carrying the live broadcast. Radio coverage will be on 710 ESPN. It’s possible that outfielder Mitch Haniger could get activated by the team at some point this weekend, as he has nearly completed a minor league rehab assignment. Haniger has been out with a strained right oblique muscle, but manager Scott Servais has stated that he will again be the full-time right fielder as soon he is healthy.

Jarrod Dyson, Ben Gamel, and Guillermo Heredia will all see a dip in playing time with the return of Mitch Haniger, as they will rotate through the other two outfield spots depending on pitching matchups and rest days. It will be a nice problem for the Seattle Mariners to have, as depth could play a very important role for the team in the second half.

[Featured Image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]