ARLINGTON, Texas — The mood wasn’t so good in the Mariners dugout at Globe Life Field. And on the Mariners Twitter, the mood had turned to a scene from “Lord of the Flies.”
Sergio Romo had just given up a two-run homer to Mitch Garver in the eighth inning and the Mariners trailed 5-2 before the start of the ninth.
FanGraphs had their odds of coming back and beating the Texas Rangers 1.2%, which seemed almost high considering how the Mariners have played on the road this season.
Facing right-handed pitcher Matt Bush, who had outplayed them the night before, the Mariners were looking for another loss in a winnable game.
But when Ty France managed to sneak a solo homer over the right-field wall just inside the foul post, the vibes started to pick up. Julio Rodriguez followed with a hard single to right field, and JP Crawford threw a single to left field to bring Eugenio Suarez home.
“We had the right guy at the plate at the right time,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
The man, who preaches the ‘Good Vibes Only mentality’ at all times, wearing a T-shirt with these words daily, added another clutch shot during a road trip filled with these words.
Suarez smoked a brace into right field that scored Rodriguez and Crawford and tied the game at 5.
The Mariners would win the game in the 10th inning with Abraham Toro scoring on wild pitch, but it was Suarez, who led in four of their six runs, who was most responsible for the victory.
Along with his late-inning heroism, he also added a solo home run and an RBI single against Rangers starter Martin Perez.
“He uses the whole pitch,” Servais said. “He always had the big power the other way obviously with the circuit in the middle. But on the double, he doesn’t try to do too much. Just put the barrel on the ball and no matter where it goes it has all kinds of power when it hits the ball hard. We needed him in this series and he just clutch. He is a veteran who has held these positions many times. He doesn’t try to do too much.
Going 3-for-4, Suarez had eight straight games, including 11 hits in 29 at-bats with two doubles, two home runs, nine RBIs, four walks and nine strikeouts.
“Like I always tell them, ‘No matter what situation we’re in, we just have to keep the good vibes going,'” Suarez said. “This game is so difficult, and we have to make it simple and enjoy the game. It’s a long season. We have a very good team and we have to be confident in what we can do. This series, we have it do.
Suarez tried to simplify everything at home plate, focusing only on getting the front foot down and not swinging too much.
“Make everything simple and don’t overthink it,” he said. “I just want to be ready to hit and compete every day.”
In the third inning after pulling his gaze away on his first at bat against Perez, Suarez broke a solo home run over the center field fence on an overhanging curveball. Suarez’s 11th home run of the season covered 427 feet.
“I never thought he was going to throw a curveball at me,” Suarez said. “Reports say he doesn’t throw a lot of curve balls. I just want to see the ball. I was right there and put my best swing into it.
It was the first home run Perez had allowed this season, lasting 661/3 innings pitched.
“It was a special day because it was my first time against Martin,” Suarez said of his fellow Venezuelan. “He’s a good friend of mine.”
Suarez threw a single into left field in the fourth inning against Perez to tie the game.
“Everyone knows he’s had a really good year so far,” Suarez said. “I was just ready for him after the first at bat. He made some good pitches, but I was ready to compete and won the last two at bats against him.
Play the matches
With Perez starting, Servais launched Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty into the outfield, keeping left-handed bats Adam Frazier and Taylor Trammell on the bench.
Moore had three hits, a walk and a stolen base while Haggerty had a pair of hits in three at bats.
Servais called it one of the best games Moore has played in the past two seasons.
Perhaps one of the biggest plays was Moore’s ground ball in the 10th inning. With Toro starting the inning at second base as an auto-runner, Moore hit a ground fly to left-hander Brock Burke’s second base. It worked like a sack bunt as Toro advanced to third. He would score the winning run moments later on a wild Burke pitch.
The Mariners would win or lose the game with Paul Sewald on the mound in the bottom of the 10th. And they weren’t going to let Corey Seager beat them.
With the top of the order coming in to bat in the inning and rookie Steele Phillips starting the inning at second base, Servais intentionally walked Seager after Sewald retired Marcus Semien.
Putting the winning run on base isn’t ideal, but Servais wanted the strength for a potential double play and a straight-on-right game from Sewald against Garver. Sewald knocked out Garver third in foul territory and knocked out Cal Raleigh’s Kole Calhoun behind the plate to end the game.
Diego Castillo bounced back from a tough time on the previous road trip in May. The big right-hander pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth, striking out three of the four batters he faced to send the game into extra innings.
Nathaniel Lowe’s one-out single was the first hit Castillo allowed in his last five outings.
During that span, he pitched six innings, allowing one hit and striking out 11 of 19 batters he faced without allowing a walk.