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Mariners survive, keep pace in wild-card race with 6-5 victory over Angels

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Paul Sewald gestures toward the crowd as he forces out Los Angeles Angels' Jose Rojas at first to end the baseball game Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. The Mariners won 6-5.  (Associated Press)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

Seattle Times

By now, none of these things should really surprise anyone about these Mariners:

1. The Mariners won.

2. They won a one-run game.

3. And they needed an edge-of-your-seat performance from their bullpen to do it.

Paul Sewald escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth, and the Mariners kept pace in the American League wild-card chase with their sixth consecutive win, a 6-5 victory over the Angels to open their weekend series Friday night in Anaheim, California.

The Mariners improved to 14-7 in September and 7-1 on this 10-game trip.

The Mariners (85-69) didn’t make up any ground on the New York Yankees (87-67) for the second wild-card spot. They remained two games back for the final playoff berth after the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 8-3. to open their series in Boston.

The good news for the Mariners is they are now even with Toronto (85-69) after the Blue Jays lost again to the Twins in Minnesota.

Left-hander Tyler Anderson is scheduled to start Saturday evening for the Mariners opposite Angels right-hander Jaime Barria.

Friday night, the Mariners blew early leads of 3-0 and 4-2, further stressing a bullpen that’s put in stressful situations just about every night.

Rookie right-hander Logan Gilbert was cruising early. He struck out the side in the first inning behind a fastball that sat at 97 mph.

But he hung a slider to Max Stassi, who belted it out to left for a two-run homer in the fourth.

Gilbert couldn’t get out of the sixth inning. He wound up walking Jose Rojas after an 11-pitch battle, leaving Gilbert at a career-high 110 pitches.

That prompted a call to reliever Joe Smith with two on and the Mariners clinging to a two-run lead. It didn’t last.

The Angels quickly tied the score at 4-4 on a Stassi single and Luis Rengifo’s sacrifice fly.

The Mariners came right back in the top of the seventh and retook the lead. Jake Fraley scored on a throwing error at home, and Mitch Haniger’s sac fly scored J.P. Crawford to make it 6-4.

The Angels made it 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh on Jake Mayfield’s RBI single.

Ty France hit his 18th homer of the season in the first inning for the Mariners, and he added a RBI single in the third.