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Blue Jays vs. Mariners score: Seattle shockingly erases seven-run deficit to advance to ALDS

In the second American League Wild Card Series game of Saturday, the Seattle Mariners eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays in shocking fashion. The Mariners prevailed by a score of 10-9 in Game 2 and thus swept the best-of-three series. Seattle trailed by a score of 8-1 at one point, but thanks in large measure to a two-part rally in the sixth and eighth innings the Mariners were able to stun the Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre crowd and end their 2022 season. 

JP Crawford hit a game-tying double in the eighth inning, blooping a ball to center field with the bases loaded. Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and center fielder George Springer collided on the play, and Springer was forced to leave the game. Adam Frazier hit the game-winning double in the ninth.

The Mariners advance to face the AL West-rival Houston Astros, the top seed in the AL bracket, in the best-of-five Division Series. So far, so good for Seattle’s first postseason appearance since 2001. In the day’s first game, the Cleveland Guardians walked off the Tampa Bay Rays, eliminating the AL East team on an Oscar Gonzalez home run in the 15th inning.

Now for some takeaways from the clincher in Toronto. 

Teoscar Hernández had a two-homer game

Given the crushing, season-ending loss the Jays endured, let’s start with some positive about the vanquished. 

The Jays’ outfielder Hernández has been a steady power source over the last few seasons. During the regular season he tallied 25 home runs and 35 doubles in 131 games, and for his career he’s averaged 33 homers and 33 doubles per 162 games played. In Game 2, he provided an acute reminder of those power skills, as he homered twice off Seattle starter (and former Blue Jay) Robbie Ray. 

In the second inning, Hernández barreled up a Ray slider and sent it 401 feet to left: 

 Then in the fourth he jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Ray: 

Speaking of which, Hernández is quite adept at ambushing the first offering of a given at-bat: 

His second homer of Game 2 gave him just the third multi-homer postseason game in Blue Jays franchise history. In Toronto’s four-run bottom of the fifth, Hernández added an RBI to his day when he got plunked with the bases loaded. 

The Mariners fought back in the sixth and the eighth

Seattle going into the sixth was at risk of getting boat-raced. The M’s trailed 8-1, and Toronto starter Kevin Gausman was cruising. Gausman didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, and he entered the top of the sixth with six strikeouts against only one walk. At that point, though, the M’s – first methodically and then all at once – took Game 2 into “save situation” territory. Here’s how the frame went: single; single; mound visit; single; mound visit; strikeout; pop out; reliever Tim Mayza replaces Gausman; wild pitch, run scores; home run by Carlos Santana, three runs score; strikeout.

With that, the M’s turned an unworkable 8-1 deficit into a much more workable 8-5 score. Along the way, they spoiled what had been a Gausman gem (three of the four runs with which he was charged scored after he’d left the game). Those runs took Seattle’s chances of winning Game 2 from about 1 percent to about 10 percent. Those still aren’t great odds, but they’re much better than what they were. 

The Jays pushed the lead to 9-5 in the seventh, but then the top of the eighth happened. Here’s the blow-by-blow: double; double, run scores; mound visit; single; Jordan Romano replaces Anthony Bass; single; strikeout; strikeout; double, three runs score; intentional walk; strikeout. 

That three-run double that tied the game in the top of the eighth came off the bat of J.P. Crawford. However, it wasn’t of the “ringing variety” – it was a pop-up that barely reached the outfield grass. It also became a three-run double only because of a scary collision between Toronto center fielder George Springer and shortstop Bo Bichette: 

Unfortunately, Springer was badly shaken up on the play and had to be carted off the field. He never lost consciousness and was able to engage with the fans just as the cart exited the field. 

Frazier and Kirby helped Seattle complete the miracle comeback

With the scored tied 9-9 in the top of the ninth, Cal Raleigh doubled with one out. With two outs, Adam Frazier doubled to give the Mariners the 10-9 lead: 

They took that thin margin into the bottom of the ninth, and manager Scott Servais called upon rookie George Kirby to get the high-stress save. Kirby hadn’t made a relief appearance since Low-A ball in 2019, not long after he was drafted, but he got it done with a hitless frame. 

And with that, the 2022 Mariners joined rare postseason company: 

Framed another way, the Mariners going into the sixth had a 99 percent chance of losing Game 2. Going into the eighth, they had a 96.9 percent chance of losing Game 2. That figure would eventually drop to, you know, 0.0 percent. 

Now it’s on to Houston

While the Blue Jays are done, the Mariners are now tasked with facing the juggernaut Astros. Game 1 of that ALDS is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Minute Maid Park. As a reward for the sweep, Seattle will be coming off two off days. 

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