TORONTO — Propelled by an unlikely comeback, the Seattle Mariners advanced into the American League Division Series with a 10-9 victory on Saturday, completing their AL wild-card series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Sweep.
The Mariners trailed 8-1 in the second half of the fifth, then scored four in the sixth, four in the eighth and one in the ninth to win. It was the biggest road comeback win in playoff history and the biggest comeback win in baseball for a playoff series.
The team made the playoffs for the first time since 2001, with Seattle trailing 9-6 in the first half of the eighth inning. With two outs and full bases, JP Crawford hit a center to take on Jordan Romano, the closer All-Star. Center fielder George Springer and shortstop Bobby Chet struggled to chase the ball behind the ball, but the ball landed when the pair collided. All three players scored in the doubles, tying the score to nine.
Adam Frazier hit a tiebreaker double in the ninth to give the Mariners their fourth playoff series win in franchise history; they also won the ALDS in 1995, 2000 and 2001.
When they trailed by seven, the Mariners came back 35-1 and won the game at the Caesars Sportsbook. Seattle has a whopping 150-1 record in sportsbook PointsBet.
Cal Raleigh hit an RBI single for Seattle in the eighth and a single-double against Romano in the ninth. Frazier doubled on the right in Raleigh after Mitch Hanig flew out.
Bichette walked second on a grounder in the eighth and advanced to third, but Andres Munoz retired Alejandro Kirk to end the threat. Seattle’s eighth pitcher of the game, George Kirby, handled the ninth for the first save of his career. Matt Chapman was out, but Danny Jensen struck out and Remel Tapia lined up to end the game.
The sailors then poured out of their dugouts and celebrated behind the mound. They also beat Toronto 4-0 in Game 1 of their best-of-three innings on Friday. Seattle’s next target is ALDS’ Houston.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays’ season came to an abrupt end after hosting an AL wild-card series in their usually raucous arena over the past month.
Expectations are high for Toronto to make the long playoffs. They were largely based on the team’s offensive success in the final weeks of the regular season. After the Blue Jays won 13-14 throughout the month of August, they fought back for the remainder of the schedule.
Toronto is 22-11 in its final 33 games and even won five of its six preseason games. A win in Baltimore last Monday gave Toronto the AL’s No. 1 wild-card spot and home-court advantage in the round.
Toronto got off to a fast start in Game 2. Tesco Hernandez hit a two-run homer in Game 2 and singled in Game 4 against Robbie Ray, who pitched for the Blue Jays last year AL Cy Young Award. Hernandez joins teammate Danny Jansen and former Toronto slugger Jose Bautista as the only Blue Jays to play multibase in the playoffs.
Carlos Santana gave Seattle’s comeback a huge boost with a three-run homer after Ty France scored on Tim Mayza’s wild pitch in the sixth inning. Jensen ran a single from Penn Murfee at 9-5 in the seventh inning, but Toronto’s bullpen couldn’t close it.
Anthony Buss gave up all three hitters he faced in the eighth inning, including an RBI single from Raleigh, forcing Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider to call on Romano for six saves. Romano gave up Frazier’s single, striking out Santana and Dylan Moore, but Crawford tied it with a double.
Toronto deliberately walked Julio Rodriguez before Romano beat France to end an inning. Ray, who signed a $115 million, five-year deal with Seattle in November, had four runs and six hits in three or more innings.
Those playoffs were the first at the Rogers Center since 2016, when the Blue Jays lost 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 and was eliminated in two games as well. The high-seeded Tampa Bay Rays hosted the series, which took place during a series of seasons impacted by COVID, with the Blue Jays’ spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, and their AAA affiliate in Buffalo. Home games are played in the company’s home park, New York.
The Associated Press and ESPN’s David Purdum contributed to this story.