SEATTLE — Cal Raleigh hit a game-winning house run with two outs within the backside of the ninth inning and the Seattle Mariners ended the longest playoff drought in baseball with a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night time.
Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, hit a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo (3-4) simply contained in the right-field foul pole for a solo homer that despatched the Mariners to the postseason for the primary time since 2001.
Seattle’s celebration on the sphere lasted greater than 10 minutes as followers and gamers lifted themselves from the burden of 20 years with out seeing playoffs from their baseball group.
It certainly had been a protracted wait — the final time the Mariners superior to play highlight video games in October, the group was led by rookie Ichiro Suzuki and Edgar Martinez and managed by Lou Piniella.
As has been the case for many of this season with the Mariners, their 86th win and the one which despatched them again to the playoffs occurred in essentially the most aggravating means attainable. Seattle was unable to unravel Oakland starter Ken Waldichuk and an meeting line of relievers for eight innings, held solely to Ty France’s RBI double that scored Dylan Moore two batters into the sport.
Acevedo struck out Mitch Haniger and Carlos Santana to open the ninth, however Raleigh got here by means of along with his twenty sixth house run of the season, essentially the most ever by a Seattle catcher.
Apart from the clinching a spot within the postseason, Seattle stayed 1¹/₂ video games behind Toronto for the highest wild-card spot and one half-game forward of Tampa Bay because the three proceed to jockey for seeding.
However the place within the standings didn’t matter on this night time. It was all about punching the ultimate AL ticket and ending 20 years with out the assure of playoff baseball.
Seattle’s berth ended the longest lively playoff drought in any of the 4 main skilled sports activities, a doubtful honor that now falls to the Sacramento Kings, who haven’t made the NBA playoffs for the reason that 2005-06 season. The Mariners are nonetheless the one present group by no means to have performed within the World Sequence.
The final time the Mariners reached the postseason they tied a serious league file by profitable 116 video games within the common season, however misplaced to the Yankees 3-1 within the AL Championship Sequence.
Seattle’s Logan Gilbert threw a career-high eight innings, permitting three hits. His solely mistake was a house run by Shea Langeliers within the second inning.
Gilbert retired 18 of the ultimate 20 batters he confronted and set down the A’s so as in every of his closing 4 innings. Seth Brown walked main of the seventh however was retired on a double play.
Gilbert struck out 4 and walked off the mound after the eighth to a standing ovation and the plea from followers for a run.
Matt Brash (4-4) struck out a pair within the ninth and set the stage for Raleigh.
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