Mariners, Padres riding ups, downs of playoff chase

Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

Teams have ups and downs throughout the Major League Baseball season.

But in one inning?

“From as low as you can get,” Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said, “to about as high as you can get.”

Servais, whose team opens a two-game home series Tuesday night with San Diego at T-Mobile Park, was referring to the final inning Sunday against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners (79-61), who had split the first two games of the series, took a four-run lead into ninth.

Diego Castillo walked the first two batters he faced and, with two outs, Atlanta’s Michael Harris II hit his second homer of the game, a three-run blast off the facade of the third deck in right field, to make it 6-5.

Servais brought in closer Paul Sewald to get the final out. Pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario greeted Sewald with a single to right and Robbie Grossman followed with a two-run homer to give Atlanta a 7-6 lead.

All seemed lost for the Mariners. But rookie Julio Rodriguez wouldn’t have it.

“Come on, boys,” Rodriguez kept telling his teammates when they returned to the dugout in the middle of the inning.

“He was yelling at everybody: ‘We can’t give up!'” Eugenio Suarez said.

Rodriguez hit a solo shot with one out off Braves closer Kenley Jansen — at 117.2 mph, it was the hardest ball hit off Jansen in the StatCast era (since 2015) by more than 3 mph — to tie the score Then an out later, Suarez went deep to give the M’s an amazing 8-7 walk-off win.

“Everything Julio does is special. He gives us that comfort,” said Suarez, who, like Rodriguez and Harris, hit two homers in the game.

The victory moved the Mariners into a virtual tie with Tampa Bay for the top spot in the American League’s wild-card chase.

“I believe in this team,” Rodriguez said. “… I feel like we have a chance. We have the guys. And that’s why I was confident we would be able to come through in that last inning. I know what we’ve got on this team.”

The Padres (77-64) have lost two in a row, including an 11-2 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday at Petco Park.

“To put it in perspective … right now is probably not the time to do it,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said of the National League West leaders. “But, you know, their record is their record and they’ve taken every series from us this year. So, not there yet.”

Right-hander Yu Darvish (13-7, 3.31 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener Tuesday for the Padres. He’s won his past three starts after losing his previous three. Darvish is 6-4 with a 4.19 ERA in 13 career starts against Seattle.

The Mariners plan to counter with right-hander Logan Gilbert (12-5, 3.23), who hasn’t allowed a run over 12 innings in winning his previous two starts.

Gilbert’s only prior appearance against the Padres came in a 6-2 victory July 5 at San Diego. Gilbert allowed two runs — one earned — on six hits in 5 1/3 innings to earn the win.

–Field Level Media

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