Dae-ho Lee sends Mariners home happy with a walk-off homer

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
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Mariners first baseman Dae-ho Lee homered last Friday but otherwise struggled in his first seven games in the majors, entering Wednesday’s action with just two hits in 13 plate appearances. He has only been starting against left-handed pitchers, so with right-hander A.J. Griffin starting for the Rangers, Lee rode the bench.

The Mariners coughed up a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning and the game would remain knotted at two each into the bottom of the 10th inning. With two outs and a runner on first base against Rangers lefty Jake Diekman, Mariners manager Scott Servais opted to pinch-hit for Adam Lind with Lee. It turned out to be a stroke of genius, as Lee drilled an 0-2 97 MPH fastball over Ian Desmond‘s head in left field for a walk-off two-run home run.

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Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Lee is the third player in Mariners history to hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run, joining Kendrys Morales and Ken Phelps. He’s the first rookie to do so.

The Mariners signed Lee to a minor league contract in February, which guaranteed him a $1 million salary if he made the major league roster. He had a decent showing in spring training, hitting four doubles and a homer in 53 at-bats.