It’s probably too little too late, but the Mariners snapped their five-game losing streak this afternoon with a 7-5 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Starting in place of the struggling Chris Young, Tom Wilhelmsen put the Mariners in an early 2-0 hole, but they jumped in front in the fourth inning with an RBI single from Kyle Seager and a three-run homer from Logan Morrison. The rally snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak for Seattle. The Blue Jays tied things up in the fifth, but the Mariners moved ahead for good in the sixth with solo homers from Morrison and Mike Zunino. Seager then added some insurance with an RBI single in the seventh. Fernando Rodney gave up a solo homer to Kevin Pillar in the ninth, but managed to hang on for his 47th save of the season.
This win means that neither the Athletics nor the Royals can clinch a Wild Card spot even if they win their respective games tonight. The Mariners are 2 1/2 games back of both teams at the moment and need a miracle to avoid elimination.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.