Mariners into ALDS after improbable comeback completes sweep of Blue Jays

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TORONTO — Fueled by an improbable comeback, the Seattle Mariners are in the American League Division Series with a 10-9 win on Saturday to complete a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays in their AL Wild Card Series.

The Mariners were down 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning before scoring four runs in the sixth, four in the eighth and one in the top of the ninth to get the victory. It was the biggest road comeback win in playoff history and baseball’s largest rally to clinch a postseason series.

Making the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2001, Seattle trailed 9-6 in the top of the eighth inning. With two out and the bases loaded, J.P. Crawford hit a blooper to center against All-Star closer Jordan Romano. Center fielder George Springer and shortstop Bo Bichette went hard after the ball, but it landed as the two collided. All three runners scored on the double, tying the score at 9.

“I was praying to the baseball gods to just let that ball sit,” Crawford said.

Adam Frazier hit the tiebreaking RBI double in the ninth inning to give the Mariners their fourth postseason series win in franchise history; they also won the ALDS in 1995, 2000 and 2001.

“Those are the kind of moments you picture yourself in in the backyard when you’re a kid,” Frazier said.

Cal Raleigh, who hit an RBI single for Seattle in the eighth, reached on a one-out double against Romano in the ninth. After Mitch Haniger flied out, Frazier drove in Raleigh with a double to right.

Bichette walked, stole second and advanced to third on a grounder in the eighth, but Andres Munoz retired Alejandro Kirk to end the threat. George Kirby, Seattle’s eighth pitcher of the game, handled the ninth for his first career save. Matt Chapman walked with one out, but Danny Jansen struck out and Raimel Tapia lined out to end the game.

The Mariners were 35-1 to come back and win the game at Caesars Sportsbook when they were down seven runs. Seattle got as long as 150-1 at sportsbook PointsBet.

Seattle players poured out of their dugout and celebrated behind the mound after the win. They also beat Toronto 4-0 in Game 1 of the best-of-three series Friday. Next up for Seattle is Houston in the ALDS.

“To go to the World Series, you have to go through Houston,” manager Scott Servais said. “They’re really good. We understand that. We’re really good.”

Meanwhile, after battling the past month to host a wild-card series inside their typically raucous ballpark, the Blue Jays’ season abruptly came to an end.

Expectations had been high for Toronto to go on a long playoff run. They were based largely on the team’s offensive success in the final weeks of the regular season. After the Blue Jays went 13-14 across the month of August, they rallied through the rest of the schedule.

Toronto was 22-11 in its final 33 games, and even took five of the six games that immediately preceded the postseason. A win at Baltimore on Monday clinched the AL’s top wild-card spot and home-field advantage in the round for Toronto.

Toronto got off to a fast start in Game 2. Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the second and a solo drive in the fourth against Robbie Ray, who won the AL Cy Young Award while pitching for the Blue Jays last year. Hernandez joined teammate Danny Jansen and former Toronto slugger Jose Bautista as the only Blue Jays players with multihomer games in the postseason.

After Ty France scored on Tim Mayza‘s wild pitch in the sixth, Carlos Santana gave Seattle’s comeback a big boost with a three-run homer. Jansen made it 9-5 with an RBI single off Penn Murfee in the seventh, but Toronto’s bullpen couldn’t close it out.

Anthony Bass gave up hits to all three batters he faced in the eighth, including Raleigh’s RBI single, forcing interim Blue Jays manager John Schneider to call on Romano for a six-out save. Romano gave up a single to Frazier and struck out Santana and Dylan Moore, but Crawford tied it with a first-pitch double.

Toronto intentionally walked Julio Rodriguez before Romano struck out France to end the inning.

“It seems everything that could go wrong did go wrong in a very short period of time,” Schneider said.

Ray, who signed a $115 million, five-year contract with Seattle in November, allowed four runs and six hits in three-plus innings.

Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman was charged with four runs and five hits over 5⅔ innings in his second career postseason start. Gausman struck out seven and walked one.

“A heartbreaking loss,” Gausman said. “Tough to watch.”

These playoff games were the first held at Rogers Centre since 2016, when the Blue Jays lost in five games to Cleveland in the American League Championship Series. Cleveland went on to lose the World Series to the Chicago Cubs.

Toronto did appear in the 2020 wild-card series, also getting eliminated in two games. The higher-seeded Tampa Bay Rays hosted that series, which happened during a stretch of COVID-impacted seasons that had the Blue Jays playing home games at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, and their Triple-A affiliate’s home park in Buffalo, New York.

The Blue Jays have now lost five straight postseason games and eight of nine. Toronto, which finished one win short of a playoff berth in 2021, heads into another offseason on a disappointing note.

“It’s going to take some time,” Schneider said. “Probably take a vacation or two.”

The Associated Press and ESPN’s David Purdum contributed to this story.


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