Blue Jays vs. Mariners score: Seattle shockingly erases seven-run deficit to advance to ALDS

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In the second American League Wild Card Series game of Saturday, the Seattle Mariners eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays in shocking fashion. The Mariners prevailed by a score of 10-9 in Game 2 and thus swept the best-of-three series. Seattle trailed by a score of 8-1 at one point, but thanks in large measure to a two-part rally in the sixth and eighth innings the Mariners were able to stun the Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre crowd and end their 2022 season. 

JP Crawford hit a game-tying double in the eighth inning, blooping a ball to center field with the bases loaded. Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and center fielder George Springer collided on the play, and Springer was forced to leave the game. Adam Frazier hit the game-winning double in the ninth.

The Mariners advance to face the AL West-rival Houston Astros, the top seed in the AL bracket, in the best-of-five Division Series. So far, so good for Seattle's first postseason appearance since 2001. In the day's first game, the Cleveland Guardians walked off the Tampa Bay Rays, eliminating the AL East team on an Oscar Gonzalez home run in the 15th inning.

Now for some takeaways from the clincher in Toronto. 

Teoscar Hernández had a two-homer game

Given the crushing, season-ending loss the Jays endured, let's start with some positive about the vanquished. 

The Jays' outfielder Hernández has been a steady power source over the last few seasons. During the regular season he tallied 25 home runs and 35 doubles in 131 games, and for his career he's averaged 33 homers and 33 doubles per 162 games played. In Game 2, he provided an acute reminder of those power skills, as he homered twice off Seattle starter (and former Blue Jay) Robbie Ray. 

In the second inning, Hernández barreled up a Ray slider and sent it 401 feet to left: 

 Then in the fourth he jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Ray: 

Speaking of which, Hernández is quite adept at ambushing the first offering of a given at-bat: 

His second homer of Game 2 gave him just the third multi-homer postseason game in Blue Jays franchise history. In Toronto's four-run bottom of the fifth, Hernández added an RBI to his day when he got plunked with the bases loaded. 

The Mariners fought back in the sixth and the eighth

Seattle going into the sixth was at risk of getting boat-raced. The M's trailed 8-1, and Toronto starter Kevin Gausman was cruising. Gausman didn't allow a hit until the fifth, and he entered the top of the sixth with six strikeouts against only one walk. At that point, though, the M's – first methodically and then all at once – took Game 2 into "save situation" territory. Here's how the frame went: single; single; mound visit; single; mound visit; strikeout; pop out; reliever Tim Mayza replaces Gausman; wild pitch, run scores; home run by Carlos Santana, three runs score; strikeout.

With that, the M's turned an unworkable 8-1 deficit into a much more workable 8-5 score. Along the way, they spoiled what had been a Gausman gem (three of the four runs with which he was charged scored after he'd left the game). Those runs took Seattle's chances of winning Game 2 from about 1 percent to about 10 percent. Those still aren't great odds, but they're much better than what they were. 

The Jays pushed the lead to 9-5 in the seventh, but then the top of the eighth happened. Here's the blow-by-blow: double; double, run scores; mound visit; single; Jordan Romano replaces Anthony Bass; single; strikeout; strikeout; double, three runs score; intentional walk; strikeout. 

That three-run double that tied the game in the top of the eighth came off the bat of J.P. Crawford. However, it wasn't of the "ringing variety" – it was a pop-up that barely reached the outfield grass. It also became a three-run double only because of a scary collision between Toronto center fielder George Springer and shortstop Bo Bichette: 

Unfortunately, Springer was badly shaken up on the play and had to be carted off the field. He never lost consciousness and was able to engage with the fans just as the cart exited the field. 

Frazier and Kirby helped Seattle complete the miracle comeback

With the scored tied 9-9 in the top of the ninth, Cal Raleigh doubled with one out. With two outs, Adam Frazier doubled to give the Mariners the 10-9 lead: 

They took that thin margin into the bottom of the ninth, and manager Scott Servais called upon rookie George Kirby to get the high-stress save. Kirby hadn't made a relief appearance since Low-A ball in 2019, not long after he was drafted, but he got it done with a hitless frame. 

And with that, the 2022 Mariners joined rare postseason company: 

Framed another way, the Mariners going into the sixth had a 99 percent chance of losing Game 2. Going into the eighth, they had a 96.9 percent chance of losing Game 2. That figure would eventually drop to, you know, 0.0 percent. 

Now it's on to Houston

While the Blue Jays are done, the Mariners are now tasked with facing the juggernaut Astros. Game 1 of that ALDS is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Minute Maid Park. As a reward for the sweep, Seattle will be coming off two off days. 

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Mariners win, advance

A line out to center seals it. The Mariners sweep the Blue Jays and will play the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

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Mariners an out away

Kirby gets Jansen on a slider that looked outside for the K. 

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Tying run aboard

Kirby walks Matt Chapman, putting the tying run on first with one down.

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Two outs to go

A ground out to J.P. Crawford has the Mariners two outs away from the ALDS.

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Kirby in to close

George Kirby hasn't pitched in relief since 2019, but here he is, trying to advance the Mariners to the ALDS.

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Bottom of the ninth

Toronto trails 10-9 with three outs to go. If the Blue Jays lose, they're finished for the season. 

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Mariners have the bases loaded again

And it's JP Crawford again. Last time he was up with the bases loaded, he cleared the bases to tie the game.

October 9, 2022, 12:05 AM
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Possibly a historic comeback win 

October 9, 2022, 12:02 AM
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Mariners rally to take lead

Cal Raleigh doubles and then Adam Frazier lines a double to right field to give the Mariners a 10-9 lead. Amazing. Ridiculous. 

October 9, 2022, 12:01 AM
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and Bichette steals second

Go-ahead run in scoring position

October 8, 2022, 11:46 PM
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Runner aboard in eighth for Jays

With one out, Bo Bichette draws a walk. Here comes Vlad

October 8, 2022, 11:44 PM
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Springer leaving game

He's awake and talking, but looks like he's in pain and can't walk too well on his own, so a golf cart is coming out to get him. 

October 8, 2022, 11:30 PM
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Tie game, disaster for Blue Jays

JP Crawford with a bloop single to shallow CF, but Bo Bichette and George Springer got a decent piece of each other diving for the ball and both are down. Bichette already up. Springer grabbed his head. With the players down, the Mariners cleared the bases to tie the game, 9-9. 

October 8, 2022, 11:29 PM
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One down

Romano strikes out Carlos Santana. One out. Bases loaded for Dylan Moore

October 8, 2022, 11:25 PM
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The Blue Jays going to Jordan Romano

As I was saying earlier, even if the Mariners don't complete the comeback, they have damaged the Jays for tomorrow. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano now coming in for a six-out save. 

October 8, 2022, 11:18 PM
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Tying run to the plate!

October 8, 2022, 11:16 PM
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Mariners keep coming back

The Blue Jays grabbed another insurance run, but now Eugenio Suarez doubles and Cal Raleigh singles him home. It's 9-6. The Toronto crowd seems more terrified than anyone else and I don't blame them. 

October 8, 2022, 11:14 PM
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Even if the Mariners can't complete the comeback

To be down 8-1 and then make the Blue Jays sweat and have to use, presumably, their most important relievers is a very minor victory before Game 3. Obviously the win would've been ideal to close down the series, but if you have to play Game 3, at least the opponent doesn't have a fully rested bullpen after a blowout win. 

October 8, 2022, 10:53 PM
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Yeah, make that 4 ER for Gausman now

That'll leave a mark. Carlos Santana with a three-run shot after a wild pitch lets in one run. It's now 8-5 Blue Jays and the Mariners aren't going away.

October 8, 2022, 10:26 PM
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The Mariners were going to need a big swing to have any chance in this game, and Carlos Santana provided it. Three-run homer and it's 8-5 in the sixth.

October 8, 2022, 10:26 PM
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Gausman done for Jays

The line, right now: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K

There are three runners left on base that could swing into the R column, though. He was good. Fine, maybe. Not exactly Peak Pedro, but fine. 

October 8, 2022, 10:24 PM
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Bases loaded for the M's

Raleigh reaches on a ball that just dropped in front of a diving Raimel Tapia. The Mariners have the bags full with no outs. An extra-base hit would change the dynamics of this game a little.

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Mariners put on two ahead of Raleigh

We'll see if Seattle can cut into this 8-1 Toronto lead. Cal Raleigh has delivered some big hits for them throughout the year.

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Jays put up a four-spot

All told, the Blue Jays put four runs on the board in the fifth inning, and now lead 8-1. They only had three hits in the inning. Toronto has to get 15 outs before surrendering eight runs to force a win or go home Game 3 on Sunday.

October 8, 2022, 10:07 PM
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Sewald is all over the place. He hit Teoscar Hernandez to force in a run and nearly hit Matt Chapman there. Chapman eventually plates another run with a sac fly. It's 7-1 and it's looking like we'll have a Game 3 tomorrow.

October 8, 2022, 9:57 PM
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Blue Jays in position to break it open

The Mariners went to Paul Sewald in the fifth inning and the Blue Jays went single, single, intentional walk to load the bases with one out. A passed ball on Cal Raleigh -- looked like a possible cross up -- pushed across a run. Toronto is threatening to really break this game open here. The bases have been reloaded with one out.

October 8, 2022, 9:53 PM
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The Mariners get just one run out of it, on a Jarred Kelenic sac fly.

October 8, 2022, 9:43 PM
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Santana just misses a homer

Carlos Santana launched a loud line drive off the very top of the wall in right-center. They reviewed it to see whether it went over the wall, but the call stands. It's a double and the Mariners have runners at second and third with no outs. They can cut the deficit in half here.

October 8, 2022, 9:39 PM
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Mariners get first hit

Adam Frazier served a single to left field to begin the fifth inning. It is Seattle's first hit of the game. A 4-0 deficit is not insurmountable and it's a win or go home situation, though I imagine Toronto wants Gausman to get as deep into this game as possible to keep the bullpen rested for Game 3.

October 8, 2022, 9:35 PM
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Short outing for Ray

Robbie Ray (aka Bob Ray) lasted just 3+ innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits. His old team chased him from the game with no outs in the sixth. It's Matt Brash on for the Mariners. 

October 8, 2022, 9:31 PM
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