ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mariners manager Scott Servais couldn’t believe that his team won Friday night at Angel Stadium despite leaving 16 runners on base.
He watched another hard-to-believe victory Saturday night.
The Mariners blew one great opportunity after another, and it turned out the thing they needed to change things was a little help from the other team.
The Mariners took advantage of an Angels error in the sixth inning by scoring three unearned runs, allowing them to rally for a 5-3 victory over Los Angeles that gave them a season-best fifth straight win.
Shohei Ohtani flied out with two runners aboard for the final out in the ninth inning.
“Crazy” was the first word Servais used to describe the most recent win.
All of the victories in the streak have come on this six-game road trip that ends Sunday against the Angels.
Seattle began the road trip after having lost four games in a five-game series against the Angels, and having dropped to a season-worst 10 games below .500 after a 3-8 homestand.
The issues with clutch hitting that haunted the Mariners on that homestand haven’t ended, but somehow they are winning anyway. Even on a Saturday night when they left 12 runners on base in the first seven innings and were 2 of 16 with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve got to be a little better with runners in scoring position,” Servais said. “I keep talking about it. We got some bigger hits later in the game tonight, and hopefully that will carry over going forward.”
The Mariners left nine men on base through the first five innings, and they were in position to leave three more in the sixth. They loaded the bases with one out when third baseman Tyler Wade booted a ground ball from Julio Rodriguez that possibly could have been an ending-inning double play.
Eugenio Suarez struck out for the second out, and the Angels brought in lefty Jose Quijada to face lefty Jesse Winker.
It didn’t work out for the Angels. Winker walked on a 3-2 pitch to tie the score at 2, and Kevin Padlo followed with a single through the right side on an 0-2 pitch to give Seattle a 4-2 lead.
“The key hit in the game was certainly Padlo getting the bases-loaded single,” Servais said.
The Mariners got off to a fast start when Rodriguez crushed a 420-foot solo homer to left field off Patrick Sandoval with one out in the first inning.
Then, for the next four innings, it was one frustrating moment after another.
After two quick outs in the second inning, Justin Upton and Cal Raleigh had bloop singles, and Dylan Moore followed with a sharp single to left to load the bases. But J.P. Crawford struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch that appeared out of the strike zone.
Crawford didn’t like the call and slammed his batting helmet down.
In the third inning, Upton struck out swinging to leave the bases loaded.
The Mariners certainly didn’t feel any better about the missed chances when Ohtani hit a 462-foot homer to right field on a 96 mph fastball from Logan Gilbert to tie the score 1-1 in the bottom of the third.
After the Mariners failed to score in the top of the fourth after a leadoff double by Raleigh, the Angels hit another homer in the fourth.
Light-hitting catcher Kurt Suzuki hit his second home run of the season, going the opposite way to right field.
The Mariners blew another golden opportunity in the fifth, failing to score after Suarez and Winker led off with consecutive singles.
Somehow, the only run Sandoval allowed in five innings was Rodriguez’s first-inning homer, despite allowing eight hits and two walks.
It looked like the frustration would continue against the bullpen until the error helped change that.
After Seattle took the lead, the Angels chased Mariners starter Gilbert. Back-to-back two-out hits with a wild pitch mixed in scored a run to make it 4-3.
Penn Murfee got the final out of the inning, allowing Gilbert to extend the streak of Seattle starters allowing three runs or less to 23 games.
It wasn’t one of Gilbert’s better outings, but he kept the Mariners in the game and got the win despite allowing nine hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“We’ve seen Logan sharper,” Servais said. “Maybe not quite as sharp with his secondary pitches, but he hung in there and gave us 5 2/3.”
The Mariners opened the seventh by putting runners on second and third with no outs. The Mariners only scored one — on a sacrifice fly from Moore — but it was a big insurance run.
The Seattle bullpen took it from there.
Ryan Borucki pitched a clean seventh, drawing praise from Servais after the game.
Diego Castillo entered in the eighth inning with a runner on and got three outs on five pitches.
Erik Swanson closed it out for his first save of the season, finishing off another improbable Mariners win.
“Our bullpen today did a great job behind Logan,” Servais said.
The Mariners (34-39) moved into third place in the AL West, a half-game ahead of the Angels.
“Nice win, we win the series and hopefully get one more tomorrow,” Servais said.
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