The Mariners had five solid innings of Erasmo Ramirez in his season debut, but after the Astros took the lead with a three-round eighth, Seattle needed the exploits of Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger to complete their very first four-game sweep in Houston ,
HOUSTON – Four days ago, they dressed in angry, frustrated silence. Days of defeat after a defeat are rarely exuberant postgame settings, but that was different. The embarrassment of leaning defeats to an inferior team – the Texas Rangers – and the queasy feeling of a Postason point, once considered inevitable and now slipping, made them more and more uncertain than at any one time mediocre for a month.
A forthcoming four-game series with the Astros could add to the misery and possibly do anything unquestionable for what they had worked for in the early months of the season.
But on Sunday afternoon everything had changed about the Mariners and their place in baseball. When Edwin Diaz swept Carlos Correa's soft ground ball back onto the hill and turned it on for the first time in a four-game in a 4-3 defeat of the Astros, this dour scene and the helpless feeling of four days was replaced by a new self-confidence Optimism.
With Pinch hitter Dee Gordon on first base with one out of the 10th, Mitch Haniger struck a double left field corner from Astros helper Roberto Osuna. As Gordon ran on the court, he easily scored a 3: 3 draw.
"I had the feeling that he would eventually run," Haniger said. "I was looking for a heater because I thought (Osuna) wanted to get home quickly."
After working for three days and allegedly unavailable on Sunday, Diaz told the coaching staff that he wanted to end a win at one chance. He completed his own momentum, rescued all four games and ran a total of 46 in the season.
"We play the first team in the division and we have the chance to win all four games, you have to know we have a good team," said Diaz.
Diaz showed no signs of fatigue, pumping 98-mph fastballs and showing a snappy slider. After allowing Alex Bregman a two-out single, he retired Correa, his longtime friend from Puerto Rico.
"We've been playing very well for the past three days and you have the chance to win the World Series Champion four times, but you do not get that chance often," said manager Scott Servais. "Everyone worked it through and we made it."
It was an astonishing turn of power from the misery against the Rangers at Arlington and even the weeks before. The Mariners trotted in Houston, checking what Servis urged them to do what was necessary for their success, and in minute 4, drove for the first time in the franchise history with the wounded Astros in a four-game series. Now Seattle 69-50 in the season, Oakland for a huge three-game series against the A starts on Monday night.
"It's easy," said Servais. "We think we've outdone ourselves, we're so locked up that we win, win, win and forget to play good baseball, we played good baseball in that series and reduced those stupid mistakes."
Pregame or pre-season speeches are not common, but given what he saw of his team as he lost two of the three against the Rangers and the discouraged clubhouse on Wednesday, he felt that something should be said. It was a message that greeted the players.
"We have refined our focus a bit," said first baseman Ryon Healy. "I think in this game, especially in the race we are in right now, it's really easy to get involved in the end goal and the big things, you consume yourself with the things you can not control. The game is really fast on you, I know I was guilty, so find a way to slow down the game, pitch the pitch, and not worry about winning or losing the game … let it go the bottom line is what it is. "
It was Healy who delivered the heroic deeds to send the game into extra innings. The shorthand Mariners Bullpen was without Alex Colome, who was unavailable because of the workload. The duo of James Pazos and Nick Vincent gave up three runs in the second round and awarded a 2-0 lead.
But with two outs at the top of Ninth, Healy sent a shifted slider from Astros closer to Hector Rondon into the Crawford Boxes in the left field.
"Nothing is bigger than a two-out homer in the ninth to tie it," Servais said.
The game-binding homer was not one of Healy's majestic explosions, but he used the short dimensions for the left field.
"I put a little faith in the Crawford Boxes," he said. "I knew that I did not understand everything, but luckily it went out there."
Seattle got off to a good start by Erasmo Ramirez, who took over Felix Hernandez in the rotation.
After his first major league start since April 27, the Mariners were not sure what to expect from Ramirez. They probably had not expected five shutout innings, which allowed only two three hits without jumps and three strikeouts in 79 places.
His reputation as a strike-thrower was self-evident. It's one reason why she bought him at the close of trading last season. But Ramirez spent most of the spring training period and the regular season on the disabled list with two different shoulder problems – a Lat load and a tense Teres major. To make matters worse, he was on August 5th with the class AAA Tacoma on his rehab. He only pitched four innings, gave up four runs on six strikes with two lanes, admitting that he had some mechanical problems. It was to the point where the Mariners had planned to make him another rehab. But these plans were redesigned when Hernandez had another clunker in Texas.
Ramirez allowed with a dip only a Baserunner through four innings. In the fifth phase, it became cumbersome when the Astros loaded the bases without outs. But Ramirez beat Kyle Tucker calmly and let Martin Maldonado play 6-4-3 doubles in an inning-ending. He celebrated the clean inning with a scream and an uncharacteristic fist pump.
"You'll see that a little more often," he said. "It was a long wait to get back and every game and everything I can achieve is zero on the scoreboard will be a big deal for me. "
Seattle gave Ramirez a 1-0 lead Healy RBI single from Houston starter Dallas Keuchel. The Mariners pushed him in the seventh section to 2: 0, as Mike Zunino a solo Homer of the glass windows, which sit behind the railway tracks high above the wall in the left field, smashed. Statcast measured it at 442 feet.
"He absolutely crushed this ball," said Servais. "That's about as far as you can meet one in this place."