MARINERS 8, ANGELS 6
SEATTLE -- Mariners starter Marco Gonzales pitched at less than Cy Young level for the first time in more than a month, the team had a costly miscue in right-center field, they twice wasted great scoring opportunities and the bullpen took its lumps.
And yet, when Mitch Haniger lined a home run just over the left-field fence with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Mariners were victorious again.
The 8-6 victory at Safeco Field on Wednesday afternoon not only finished a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels, it moved the Mariners (44-24) 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2007.
It was a game the Mariners seemed destined to lose, but this season they somehow keep finding ways to win.
Seattle led 4-1 entering the fourth inning, and it seemed like that would be more than enough for Gonzales, particularly with the Angels losing starter Garrett Richards after two innings with left hamstring tightness and shortstop Zack Cozart after three innings with a stained left shoulder.
But Gonzalez, who had allowed five runs in his previous five starts covering a span of 33 1/3 innings, was not nearly as sharp Wednesday. He managed 5 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.
He struck out seven, including the final two hitters he faced, with runners on first and third. That escape act put him in position to win the game if the bullpen performed as it has for much of the season.
It didn't, although there was plenty of blame to go around.
Chris Young led off the sixth inning with a ball to deep right-center that Haniger, playing center, and right fielder Ben Gamel could have caught. But a miscommunication at the last moment allowed the ball to drop between them.
Young scored on a sacrifice fly that tied the score at 4, and Gonzales' shot at a seventh victory evaporated.
The Mariners seemed in a good spot in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs, but they came up empty when Mike Zunino struck out and Andrew Romine hit into a double play.
The Angels, seemingly invigorated by the escape act, took a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh on solo homers from Nolan Fontana (playing in place of Cozart) and Young.
The Mariners, though, seemed destined to at least tie the score in the bottom of the seventh when Dee Gordon led off with a single and scored all the way from first on Jean Segura's double to right field. Segura went to third on the throw home.
But he never made it home. Not that he didn't try. After Haniger struck out, Nelson Cruz hit a short fly to left field. Segura was not going to try and score, but when the throw in was wide, he darted home. He was called out on a very close play at the plate, which stood up after a review.
The Mariners finally got the tying run in the bottom of the eighth, and this time there were no doubts. Ryon Healy crushed a Blake Parker pitch 441 feet into the upper deck in left field.
RAYS 1, BLUE JAYS 0 Matt Duffy's RBI single with two outs in the ninth drove in the game's only run in Tampa Bay's victory over visiting Toronto.
RED SOX 5, ORIOLES 1 Chris Sale took a two-hitter into the seventh inning before being ejected, and Boston completed a three-game sweep of skidding host Baltimore.
TIGERS 5, TWINS 2 Victor Reyes’ RBI single keyed a four-run eighth inning and Detroit rallied to beat visiting Minnesota.
WHITE SOX 3, INDIANS 2 Dylan Covey carried a shutout into the eighth inning, helping host Chicago beat Trevor Bauer and Cleveland.
BRAVES 2, METS 0 Mike Soroka did not allow a hit until the seventh inning, Freddie Freeman homered and drove in both runs, and Atlanta beat visiting New York
BREWERS 1, CUBS 0 Lorenzo Cain homered and Jhoulys Chacin combined with three relievers on a six-hitter to give host Milwaukee their second consecutive shutout of Chicago.
PIRATES 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4 Jordy Mercer homered and had three RBI, Jameson Taillon pitched seven effective innings and visiting Pittsburgh avoided a sweep with a victory over Arizona.
ROCKIES 7, PHILLIES 2 Ian Desmond hit a two-run home run in a five-run fourth inning as Colorado routed host Philadelphia.
MARLINS 5, GIANTS 4 Brian Anderson (Arkansas Razorbacks) hit a game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to lift Miami over visiting San Francisco.
PADRES 4, CARDINALS 2 Eric Lauer carried a shutout into the sixth inning, Manuel Margot had three hits and San Diego beat host St. Louis.
NATIONALS 5, YANKEES 4 Teenage rookie Juan Soto homered twice and drove in four runs, and visiting Washington beat New York.
REDS 7, ROYALS 0 Adam Duvall hit a ninth-inning grand slam and Cincinnati beat host Kansas City.
Sports on 06/14/2018
Print Headline: Walk-off HR gives Mariners a sweep of Angels