ARLINGTON, Texas – For two days, JP Crawford sat and watched Swollen index finger And he cursed the baseball gods for allowing such a disappointment to not play.
Like a kid who doesn’t get picked for a team in a sandlot game, there are few things in life more annoying than watching his teammates play baseball without him.
There would be no third-day view from the well. He was going to feel good enough to play, even if it wasn’t his finger.
On Saturday, the team’s emotional leader on and off the field returned to the lineup, helping the Mariners continue their streak of near franchise history.
Facing left-hander Brett Martin, Crawford pulled a single past Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe in the top of the 10th inning and scored pinch runner Sam Haggerty from third for the next run.
“I was playing anyway,” he said.
With Andres Munoz, Eric Swanson, Paul Sewald and Diego Castillo already in the lineup, Mariners manager Scott Servais turned to right-hander Matt Festa to finish the game.
Festa has excelled in times of trouble, as evidenced by their 13-game winning streak now. With an automatic runner on second in the bottom of the 10th, Festa struck out Jonas Heim, Kole Calhoun and Elier Hernandez to earn his first career save in a 3-2 win over the Mariners.
“Everybody’s doing their job,” Crawford said. “There is nothing else for us, nothing else. It’s just about winning. It’s everyone’s mindset now. Nobody cares if he goes 0-for-4 or 0-for-5; If we win, everyone will be happy.
Servais couldn’t help but laugh before talking about the final victory.
“Our team has a way of knowing what to do at the right time,” Servis said. “And it’s surprising because it’s something we weren’t good at in May. He turned to us.
Entering the top of the 10th, the Mariners were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and 11 runners on base.
Carlos Santana was the automatic runner on second with the final out, Servais Hagerty pinch running.
Before going to second base, Haggerty approached Servais in the dugout. After watching Martin work with Dylan Moore at second base, Haggerty felt confident he could steal third base after picking up something in Martin’s delivery.
“He’s been paying attention from the inning before and even though Martin is very quick to the plate, he’s picked up a good jump in time,” Servais said. “Even if he’s not in the game at the moment, he’s focused on the game before he knows he’s going to be in the game. Of course he is.”
Service believed Hagerty’s belief.
“Hags, take it if you feel like it,” I said. Don’t play with fear. You have to play to win,’” Servais recalled. “That’s what we’re doing. He did a great job. without any fear. That’s really all it takes. If you play scared in this league, it’s not going to end well.”
Haggerty easily swept third as a lackluster Martin in a sprint start put him fourth in the final. Catcher Jonah Haim didn’t even have a throw. The 90-footer didn’t see much, but it forced the Rangers to move their infield depth in to make plays on the field, adding another layer of pressure to a team with a 5-20 record in one-run games.
“It changed the whole infield, it opened up a lot of holes and we had another chance and we didn’t have to waste it to win it,” Crawford said. “It was a big game.”
Crawford’s ground ball was the reason Lowe got through.
The Mariners would not have a chance in the 10th and the winning streak would end in the bottom of the ninth. With the score tied at 2, Castillo walked Adolis Garcia to start the inning. But when Garcia tried to steal second and Nathaniel Lowe hit a broken line drive, Seattle got a break and Dylan Moore, who had replaced Ty France at first base, got out of the air with a little jumper.
Moore rounded first base for a double play. If that ball was out of reach, Garcia would have scored on the play to win the game. Castillo ended the game by striking out Taveras instead.
Seattle got a head start on the brief from Logan Gilbert by design. Sensing some fatigue from the big right-hander in recent outings and looking at the heavy workload of 106 innings going into the outing, the Mariners decided to call the last start before the All-Star break.
“We’ll probably keep a close eye on him today,” Service Pregame said. “He’s carried a lot of innings before. He was really consistent and very nice. But you know this is close to the break…don’t be surprised if it comes out a little earlier than usual today. I didn’t run it to 110p. I’ll tell you right now.
Servais allowed 85 hits in five innings before removing Gilbert.
In those five innings, Gilbert allowed one run with four walks and four strikeouts.
His one run was allowed in the second inning. He allowed a double to Lowe to score on Jonas Heim’s single to center.
The Mariners responded with two runs off Rangers starter Spencer Howard in the top of the third inning. Ty French had one out and doubled – his second of three hits in the game. With two outs, Carlos Santana, who had returned to the Mariners after traveling to see what was left of his home due to a fire in Florida, smashed a fastball into the seats in right-center for his eighth homer of the season.
A 2-1 lead held until the seventh inning.
Right fielder Swanson gave up a leadoff double to Leodi Taveras and eventually scored on Elier Hernandez’s single to tie the game at 2.