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Seattle Mariners

Ty France, Cal Raleigh spark Mariners’ electrifying comeback win over Orioles

By Adam Jude Seattle Times

BALTIMORE – A long, slow, agonizing afternoon stretched into a long, slow, agonizing evening for the Mariners, who endured a three-hour weather delay before having to endure the nastiness of Orioles young flamethrower Grayson Rodriguez.

The steady precipitation Orioles team officials were expecting over Camden Yards never quite materialized. It was mostly a light sprinkle you could barely feel, and that’s a decent way to describe the ineffectiveness of the Mariners’ hitters for much of the game Saturday.

Rodriguez barely felt ’em.

Then, lightning.

Ty France had one of the most impressive at-bats of the season for the Mariners to drive in Dylan Moore for the tying run in the seventh inning, and Cal Raleigh (who else?) again delivered in the clutch to send the Mariners to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Orioles to even their three-game series.

It might have been the most thrilling win of the season for the Mariners (25-21), and that it came early in this daunting, 10-game East Coast trip is an encouraging step forward for a club trying to prove it can hang among the American League’s best.

“A gut-check win,” M’s manager Scott Servais called it.

The Mariners (25-21) managed only one hit off the Orioles’ up-and-coming ace, Grayson Rodriguez – and that was Julio Rodriguez’s infield single in the sixth inning that registered at a measly 59.5 mph off the bat.

The Mariners trailed 2-0 through a listless six innings.

Once Baltimore (28-15) turned things over to the bullpen, the Mariners began to turn it around.

Luke Raley singled to lead off the seventh, and Moore followed with double just fair over the third-base bag. Pinch-hitter Mitch Haniger followed with an RBI ground out to score Raley from third for the Mariners’ first run.

That brought up France, who fouled off six two-strike pitches from Orioles right-hander Albert Suarez before lacing an elevated 96-mph fastball for a double the other way into the right-center gap.

The last time these teams met, in Seattle last August, Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins broke the Mariners’ hearts twice – stealing a home run away from France in the bottom of the ninth inning, then hitting the go-ahead homer in the 10th inning. That robbery immediately crept in France’s head on his line drive into the gap Saturday.

“I thought Cedric was going to rob me again,” France said. “Flashbacks right away.”

This time, Mullins’ diving attempt came up well short, and Moore scored easily from second to tie the score at 2.

France’s 12-pitch at-bat was the longest of the season for any Mariners hitter, and it came after he’d fallen behind 0-2 in the count.

“He threw a lot of good pitches to hit, and I kept fouling them off,” France said. “… Every at-bat feels like it’s been a battle lately. So to grind through 12 pitches and come out on top, that was huge.”

In the eighth, Julio Rodriguez hit a grounder off Yennier Cano up the middle that Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson was able to field on the run. Henderson spun and fired to first, but his throw was in the dirt and got away from first baseman Ryan O’Hearn.

Three pitches later, Raleigh hit a 96-mph sinker – located off the plate away – to the opposite field for a double. The ball rolled all the way into the fence in Camden Yards’ new left-field configuration, and Rodriguez scored standing up from first. That gave the Mariners their first lead of the series, at 3-2.

Moore added a two-out double to left field – his fourth extra-base hit of the series – to drive in Raleigh from third, extending the Mariners’ lead to 4-2.

Ryne Stanek relieved Gabe Speier in the bottom of the seventh, striking out Adley Rutschman and getting O’Hearn to ground out to strand two Orioles runners.

Trent Thornton pumped his fist emphatically after getting the Orioles’ Austin Hays to fly out to end a scoreless eighth inning.

Andres Muñoz allowed a two-out solo homer to Henderson in the ninth inning – a 410-foot opposite-field blast to left-center – but Muñoz struck out Rutschman with a 100-mph fastball to close it out for his eighth save.

Luis Castillo worked through some early trouble to post another quality start. He allowed two runs over six innings, with four hits, four walks and two strikeouts.