Manager Scott Servais after Mariners rally in 10th inning: ‘Needed that one. They’re never easy’
Omar Narvaez cleared the dugout Monday night at T-Mobile Park.
After the Seattle Mariners trailed most of game, and tied it twice in the eighth and 10th, Narvaez delivered a walk-off RBI single to lift the Mariners to a 6-5 extra-innings walk-off win against Oakland.
Seattle (21-23) snapped a four-game skid with the win, and is now a perfect 4-0 in extra-innings games this season.
“It feels pretty good to bounce back,” Narvaez said. “I know we haven’t been (very) good lately, but I think today was the beginning.”
The Mariners grabbed an early one-run lead in the first, but were held scoreless for the next six innings before Daniel Vogelbach provided some late-inning heroics.
With a fifth consecutive loss looming, he crushed a three-run homer to straightaway center field in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 4-4. J.P. Crawford and Edwin Encarnacion got aboard with one out in the inning, bringing up Vogelbach, who had walked and struck out twice in his first three plate appearances.
He immediately jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Lou Trivino, and sent it 426 feet for his 10th homer of the season. He is one of four Mariners with double-digit homers this season. Jay Bruce and Encarnacion each have 12, while Mitch Haniger has 10.
“I felt like I got that one,” Vogelbach said. “The ball doesn’t go sometimes to center, but I felt like I got that one pretty good.”
Vogelbach looked toward the dugout as he started his jaunt around the bases, and seemed to ignite a Mariners team that showed little fight in the earlier innings.
“The past couple series haven’t really gone our way,” Vogelbach said. “There’s a lot of competitive people in here and we want to win really badly. There was a lot of emotion in that game, and I’m happy we came out on top.”
Joakim Soria struck out the Mariners in order in the bottom of the ninth before Ramon Laureano gave the A’s a 5-4 lead the following inning on a solo shot to left.
But, after Soria recorded two quick outs in the 10th, Vogelbach drew a two-out walk, and Dee Gordon stole a base as a pinch runner. Domingo Santana then worked back from an 0-2 count, and doubled just fair down the left-field line, scoring Gordon from second to again tie the score at 5-5.
Narvaez hit the game-winning single to shallow left in the next at-bat, and Santana beat the throw home.
Mariners manager Scott Servais said, perhaps more impressive than Vogelbach’s three-run homer in the eighth, was his two-out walk in the 10th that started the winning rally.
“There’s two outs, nobody on in the last inning, and Vogey doesn’t try to do too much,” Servais said. “That 3-1 borderline pitch up, he doesn’t go after it and try to be a hero again, he just takes his walk. It says a lot about him and kind of his mindset when he takes an at-bat.
“Then we got some big hits late there from Domingo and certainly Omar at the end. Really nice win. We needed that one. Obviously tough road trip, trying to put that behind us, get some momentum going, guys feeling better about themselves and where we’re headed here. It’s nice to hear the music (in the clubhouse) at the end of the game again.”
Earlier, Mariners rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 3.64) delivered his sixth quality start in 10 outings this season, but was again given little offensive cushion.
He worked into the seventh inning, striking out five and walking two on 93 pitches. He allowed three runs — a trio of solo homers by Mark Canha, Khris Davis and Matt Olson — on five hits in his six-plus innings of work.
Between the third and fourth innings, when the game was tied at 1-1, Kikuchi struck out four batters in a row, and at one point retired 10 consecutive A’s.
“Compared to my last two starts, I didn’t have the best stuff,” Kikuchi said through interpreter Justin Novak. “The last two starts I felt like I had a good fastball, and this time not everything worked for me. But, with that, I think I was able to grind through the start pitching six innings and holding them to three runs.”
Each of Kikuchi’s past three starts have been quality, and he has yet to allow more than four earned runs in any outing this season.
But, the Mariners have often struggled to provide him with early run support. Though Seattle is 6-4 in games Kikuchi has pitched, four of the wins have come by runs scored after he left the game. Kikuchi has pitched seven games without a decision this season.
Monday, the Mariners’ offense managed just two hits before he was pulled in the seventh.
Haniger recorded one of those, launching his second leadoff home run of the season — and third of his career — to open the first inning and give the Mariners the lead at 1-0. Haniger’s blast, which traveled 406 feet and landed in the left field bleachers, was his 10th of the season.
Canha’s solo shot to left erased Seattle’s lead in the second, and the game remained tied for three-plus innings before Davis cranked his homer in the sixth. Olson tacked on another run with his leadoff homer in the seventh, ending Kikuchi’s night.
Cory Gearrin came on in relief for Kikuchi, and tossed a scoreless frame after a minutes-long delay during his warm-up period. Umpires consulted about an toe tap Gearrin was performing before his delivery, which is considered an illegal second step.
After speaking with both managers, and huddling together again, the umpires allowed play to resume. Gearrin allowed a pair of singles, but also struck out two, limiting further damage in the seventh.
“It’s basically changing your delivery, but I just tried to make it as comparable as possible,” Gearrin said. “I was still trying to lift and come as close to the ground as I could to stay over the rubber, and still have the same rhythm just without touching.”
Reliever Austin Adams struck out the side in his Mariners debut the following inning, but also allowed a leadoff homer to Davis — his second in as many at-bats — and a walk as the A’s pushed the lead to 4-1.
Brandon Brennan pitched through a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, preserving the tie after Vogelbach’s homer. He walked two batters, and eventually intentionally walked Davis, before ending the inning by striking out Stephen Piscotty with his signature change-up.
Brennan recorded two quick outs in the ninth before Laureano launched his go-ahead homer.
Fresh off tossing the second no-hitter of his career last week, Oakland starter Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.12) was solid through five complete innings, and left with the one-run lead. Fiers allowed one run — Haniger’s homer — on two hits, while striking out four and walking three on 85 pitches.
Mariners right-hander Mike Leake (2-4, 4.37) will look to get back on track Tuesday night after dropping four losses in his past five outings. He is scheduled to oppose Oakland lefty Brett Anderson (4-2, 4.19).
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports Northwest and 710-ESPN radio.