ARLINGTON, Texas – The best way to make people forget about a costly throwing error that was a main reason your team was trending toward another awful road loss?
Smash the go-ahead homer in the ninth inning to rally your team for a victory.
With the Mariners trailing by a run and seemingly destined to find defeat, Eugenio Suarez, who helped put his team in that situation with a costly throwing error in the sixth inning, atoned for the mistake.
He smashed a two-run homer to deep right field in the top of the ninth inning to turn a one-run deficit into an eventual 4-3 victory over the Rangers.
“Nobody feels worse than the guy that makes the error that kind of switches the game,” manager Scott Servais said. “So to get an opportunity to kind of redeem himself. Good for him.”
Suarez’s heroics wouldn’t be finalized until the Mariners’ overworked bullpen, specifically Paul Sewald, closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Less than 24 hours after pitching 12/3 innings against Baltimore, Sewald was back to close on the mound.
He worked a scoreless ninth inning, shrugging off a two-out walk while notching his third save of the season. It gave the Mariners back-to-back road wins for the first time since April 8-9 in Minnesota – the first two games of the season.
The Mariners’ victory hopes seemed bleak when reliever Roenis Elias was called on to work the seventh inning and served up a solo homer to Nathaniel Lowe on his first pitch.
Down 3-2 going into the ninth, J.P. Crawford worked a leadoff walk off from Joe Barlow to bring Suarez to the plate as the go-ahead run. The veteran slugger got ahead 2-0 in the count and unleashed on a 96-mph fastball that sat in the middle of the plate, sending a deep fly ball into right field.
“In my mind, I was thinking I had to be ready for something in the middle,” he said. “When I’m at my best, that’s my swing. I don’t try too hard. I know I have power. I have the chance to hit the ball everywhere for power. But when I try too hard, the power goes away.”
MLB Statcast measured the blast at 393 feet.
“That is a major league home run and that’s why this guy’s hit as many home runs as he has over the last three or four years,” Servais said. “He knows his strength. I will say (Jesse) Winker called the whole thing is that Geno is going deep right here. I guarantee it. He jumped on the fastball and it didn’t miss it. He didn’t try to pull it and he has got that kind of power. He can hit it out of any part of the ballpark.”
Though he couldn’t replicate the seven shutout innings of his previous start, Logan Gilbert gave the Mariners a solid outing that shouldn’t have required Suarez’s late-inning heroics. Gilbert held the Rangers scoreless through the first five innings. He started the sixth inning with a 2-0 lead, compliments of a sac fly from Suarez in the fourth inning and Cal Raleigh’s mammoth solo homer to right in the fifth inning.
“I felt like my fastball was pretty good tonight,” Gilbert said. “I didn’t do a great job getting ahead of batters, but I felt like my stuff was pretty good tonight. My slider got better as I went on and the curve was decent, so there was enough to work with.”
Gilbert got Marcus Semien to hit a routine ground ball to third to start the sixth inning, but Suarez airmailed his throw to first base. Semien later stole second and scored off Corey Seager’s double to right field. Kole Calhoun would tie the game two batters later with a double off the wall in left field.
“After that error, I was thinking that this game is like that,” Suarez said. “Yeah, I threw it away, but I knew that late in the game that maybe I’d get an opportunity. The error bothered me a lot.”
Gilbert fought back to retire the next two batters and keep the game tied.
“Logan is awesome,” Servais said. “He’s lighting it up at 99 miles an hour. He’s given up only two runs and only one of them earned. He knows he’s got to get through the sixth for us to have a chance to win the ballgame with where we’re at (in the bullpen).”