The Mariners Won An Impressive Series Over The Astros

As early as our playoff exit – a 3-game sweep against the Astros in the ALDS – I knew: just as soon as we played them again in the regular season, we’d get our revenge. Of course, “revenge” is a strong word. They knocked us out of the postseason, en route to a World Series championship; we beat them 2 out of 3 times in early May. I’m doing the math over here, but it doesn’t quite add up to the same.

Of course, if you had asked me heading into the weekend what the M’s might accomplish, I’d have my doubts that we’d take down the defending champs. Hell, if you’d asked me in the seventh inning on Saturday and I would’ve said you’re out of your mind if you think the Mariners are winning 2 of 3!

Friday’s game was just one of those annoying fucking Astros victories that looks like every other annoying fucking Astros victory over the Mariners. Luis Castillo was one out away from getting out of the third inning unscathed. But, he walked a batter with a runner on third, leading to Yordan Alvarez (biggest Mariners Killer east of the Rockies) taking an 0-1 change-up out to center field for a 3-run bomb. All told – save that one bad pitch – Castillo had a strong outing: 7 innings, 4 runs on 5 hits and that 1 walk, with 5 strikeouts. But, since it’s the Astros, that one bad pitch was a monster home run that helped cost us the game.

What made this the most like a usual Mariners/Astros game was the fact that we clawed our way back in it. Down 4-0 in the fifth, Kolten Wong hit a bases-clearing 3-run double to make it interesting. And, Geno Suarez hit a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to make it REALLY interesting.

Then, this bullshit umpire crew decided to have their fun. Matt Brash had Kyle Tucker struck out on an OBVIOUS strike three on the outside corner of the plate. Considering Tucker’s a lefty, and most umpires tend to expand the strike zone further on lefties, it’s particularly galling that we didn’t get that call there.

You don’t even have to know anything about this particular game to know what happened next: Tucker hit a home run on the subsequent pitch to nail the victory for the Astros. No amount of Scott Servais bitching to the home plate umpire could change that.

Not for nothing, but this umpire crew SEVERELY botched a call on Saturday – saying Tom Murphy blocked the plate, even though the throw beat the runner by a good two feet, as the runner started his slide too early in trying to score – before replay review saved us. Then, on Sunday, there was a bang-bang play at first that would’ve given us another run, but of course since the idiot umpire called him out, the play “stood” upon further review (note: I didn’t say “was confirmed”). Again, most umpires call that safe; tie goes to the runner and all that. But, not this crew!

Anyway, fast forward to the eighth inning on Saturday. Marco was on the hill against a guy making his very first career start. J.P. France doesn’t throw particularly hard, doesn’t have especially amazing stuff, and got into some real serious trouble in the first inning. We could’ve very well changed the career trajectory of this guy! With one out, he gave up a single, hit a batter, and walked the bases loaded. Cal Raleigh had a 1-0 count, but ended up striking out swinging, before Teoscar Hernandez struck out looking.

France went on to pitch 5 shutout innings, giving up 3 hits and that one walk. Will that give him the confidence he needs to make it in the Major Leagues? Could we have effectively killed his confidence by making sure he didn’t escape that first inning? We’ll never know!

Anyway, this was a game I had pegged – coming in – to have a total score of OVER 9.5 runs combined (for those wagering at home). That meant, of course, that the rookie Astros starter surely put up amazing results, while Marco put up a Quality Start (6 innings, 3 runs). It was 3-0 heading into that eighth inning, when all hell broke loose.

Rafael Montero came in; the same guy who has been elite everywhere EXCEPT in a Mariners uniform. This was to be the beginning of the end of this game, as no one touches the high-leverage relievers in the Astros’ bullpen. Right on cue, Ty France grounded out and Jarred Kelenic struck out.

Then, a Suarez walk. Then, a Cal infield single that somehow dribbled past the pitcher. Then, a hard-hit infield single by Teoscar (where the short stop tried to get the runner at third, because he was running so far away from first). A J.P. Crawford bases-clearing double ended Montero’s night, with the game tied 3-3.

It didn’t stop there! Taylor Trammell pinch hit for Tom Murphy and walked. Jose Caballero – in for the injured Wong – doubled them home for a 5-3 lead. Julio singled Caballero home, then France singled, then Kelenic reached on an infield single to make it 7-3.

We brought in Paul Sewald – even though it wasn’t a save situation – and that turned out to be highly warranted. He got into a little bit of trouble, giving up a 2-run double, but managed to lock it down for a 7-5 victory.

Game 3 was a just a joy. Bryce Miller continued the hot start to his Major League career, going 6 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits and a walk, while striking out 5. He’s now given up 1 run in 12 innings across two starts. Outstanding!

Julio slammed a solo homer in the third to kick off our scoring, Suarez ended up scoring later that inning on an error, and somehow Kelenic scored in the fifth on a play I didn’t see. Was it a wild pitch or something? No one will ever know!

Anyway, the Mariners were ice cold in the bullpen, making this a well-earned 3-1 victory.

That brought our record back to .500, with the red-hot Texas Rangers coming to town for the first time this season. Just what we need, another team in the division to consistently give us fits.

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