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J.P. Crawford comes up big in clutch as Mariners beat Rangers to keep hope alive

Seattle’s J.P. Crawford celebrates his walk-off single to beat Texas 3-2 at T-Mobile Park on Thursday in Seattle.  (Getty Images)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The last time they failed in this situation, J.P. Crawford was part of the problem, one of three strikeouts to squander an opportunity with the bases loaded and no outs, leading to a loss.

It left him irritated and inconsolable, struggling to find optimism in defeat.

On Thursday night, he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the pulse of his team’s postseason hopes starting to fade.

Down a run, he watched as his teammates loaded the bases with no outs, taking advantage of Aroldis Chapman’s struggles.

He’d also watched pinch hitters Mike Ford and Josh Rojas fail to move the runners and at least tie the game.

As a crowd of 43,817 stood and chanted “J.P.! J.P.!” the Mariners’ unofficial captain delivered the most important hit of the season to date.

Crawford sent a line drive over the head of left fielder Evan Carter for a two-run walk-off double in the Mariners’ 3-2 victory over the Rangers.

Instead of moving that much closer to being eliminated from postseason contention, the Mariners, who needed to win at least three of the four games in the series vs. Texas, are still alive.

The Mariners got solid if not scoreless work from Logan Gilbert, facing the Rangers’ high-power offense for the second straight outing.

Gilbert pitched six innings, allowing two runs on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He allowed two runs in 5⅔ inning in Texas on Saturday.

Both of his runs allowed came on solo homers.

In the third inning, Leody Taveras took advantage of a 2-1 fastball in the middle of the plate, sending a deep blast to deep right-center for a solo homer.

The second homer came in the fourth inning when Gilbert hung a 1-1 slider to the always dangerous Adolis Garcia. The mistake was crushed into the Mariners’ bullpen for a 2-0 lead.

The Mariners got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning. Julio Rodriguez, who had struck out in his first plate appearance, giving him five strikeouts in a row, stayed on a first-pitch curveball from Montgomery, sending a flyball just over the wall in right field. Garcia made a leaping effort to rob Rodriguez of the homer, even getting a little glove on it.

It was the Mariners’ first hit and first run of the game.