ARLINGTON, Texas – The vibes were not so good in the Mariners’ dugout at Globe Life Field. And on Mariners’ Twitter, the vibes had devolved into a scene from “Lord of the Flies.”
Sergio Romo had just given up a two-run homer to Mitch Garver in the eighth inning and the Mariners were trailing 5-2 going into the top of the ninth.
FanGraphs had their chances of coming back and beating the Texas Rangers at 1.2%, which almost felt high given how the Mariners have played on the road this season.
Facing hard-throwing right-hander Matt Bush, who had dominated them the night before, the Mariners were trending toward another loss in a winnable game.
But when Ty France managed to sneak a solo homer over the right-field wall just inside the foul pole, the vibes started to improve. Julio Rodriguez followed with a hard single to right field, and J.P. Crawford dumped a single into left field to bring Eugenio Suarez to the plate.
“We had the right guy at the plate at the right time,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
The man, who preaches the “Good Vibes Only” mentality at all times, wearing a T-shirt with those words on daily basis, added another clutch hit on a road trip filled with them.
Suarez smoked a double into right field that scored Rodriguez and Crawford and tied the game at 5.
The Mariners would win the game in the 10th inning with Abraham Toro scoring on a wild pitch, but it was Suarez, who drove in four of their six runs, who was most responsible for the win.
Besides his late-inning heroics, he also added a solo homer and an RBI single off Rangers starter Martin Perez.
“He’s using the whole field,” Servais said. “He’s always had the big power the other way obviously with the homer to center. But on the double, he’s not trying to do too much. Just get the barrel on the ball and it doesn’t matter where it goes, he’s got all kinds of power when he hits the ball hard. We needed him in this series and he comes up clutch. He’s a veteran guy who has been in those positions many, many times. He doesn’t try to do too much.”
With his 3-for-4 day, Suarez has hits in eight straight games, including 11 hits in 29 at-bats with two doubles, a two homers, nine RBIs, four walks and nine strikeouts.
“Like I always tell them, ‘No matter what situation we are in, we’ve got to keep the good vibes only,’ ” Suarez said. “This game is so hard, and we need to make it simple and enjoy the game. It’s a long season. We’ve got a really good team, and we’ve got to trust in what we can do. This series, we did it.”
Suarez has tried to simplify everything at the plate, just focusing on getting his front foot down and not overswing.
“Just make everything simple and not think too much,” he said. “I just want to be ready to hit and compete every day.”
In the third inning after striking out looking in his first at-bat against Perez, Suarez smashed a solo homer over the center-field fence on a hanging curveball. Suarez’s 11th homer of the season traveled 427 feet.
“I never thought he was gonna throw me a curveball,” Suarez said. “The reports say he’s not throwing a lot of curveballs. I just want to see the ball. I was right there and put my best swing on it.”
It was the first home run that Perez had allowed this season, a span of 661/3 innings pitched.
“It was a special day because it was the first time I faced Martin,” Suarez said of his Venezuelan countryman. “He’s a good friend of mine.”
Suarez dumped a single into left field in the fourth inning off Perez to tie the game.
“Everybody knows he had a really good year so far,” Suarez said. “I just was ready for him after the first at-bat. He made some good pitches, but I was ready to compete and I won the last two at-bats against him.”
Playing the matchups
With Perez getting the start, Servais started Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty in the outfield, keeping left-handed bats Adam Frazier and Taylor Trammell on the bench.
Moore had three hits, a walk and a stolen base while Haggerty had a pair of hits in three at-bats.
Servais called it one of the best games that Moore has played in the past two seasons.
Perhaps one of the biggest plays was Moore’s ground-ball out in the 10th inning. With Toro starting the inning at second base as the automatic runner, Moore hit a ground ball to second base off lefty Brock Burke. It worked as a sac bunt as Toro advanced to third. He would score the game-winning run moments later on a wild pitch from Burke.
The Mariners were going to either win or lose the game with Paul Sewald on the mound in the bottom of the 10th. And they weren’t going to let Corey Seager beat them.
With the top of the order coming to bat in the inning and rookie Steele Phillips starting the inning on second base, Servais intentionally walked Seager after Sewald retired Marcus Semien.
Putting the winning run on base isn’t ideal, but Servais wanted the force out for a potential double play and right-on-right matchup of Sewald vs. Garver. Sewald got Garver to pop out to third in foul territory and got Kole Calhoun to pop out to Cal Raleigh behind the plate to end the game.
Diego Castillo has bounced back from a rough stretch on the previous road trip in May. The big right-hander tossed a scoreless bottom of the ninth, striking out three of the four batters he faced to send the game into extra innings.
The one-out single from Nathaniel Lowe was the first hit that Castillo has allowed in his past five outings.
During that span, he’s pitched six innings, allowing the one hit and striking out 11 of the 19 batters he’s faced without allowing a walk.
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