Sunday afternoon was not a good day for relief pitchers wearing a Mariners uniform. The Mariners entered the bottom of the ninth inning against the Angels with a healthy 9-3 lead. Casey Fien had the responsibility of keeping the game out of reach for the Halos, but it was a responsibility he could not fulfill.
Albert Pujols led off with a solo home run to center field, making it a 9-4 game. Fien then walked Cliff Pennington, allowed a single to C.J. Cron, and walked Ben Revere to load the bases. Edwin Diaz came in to relieve Fien and he at least got an out when Danny Espinosa hit a ground ball to second base. Diaz fanned Martin Maldonado for the second out. Despite all that happened, the Angels still only had a 1.8 percent chance of winning according to FanGraphs.
Unfortunate for the Mariners, Yunel Escobar followed up with a bases-clearing double, cutting the deficit to 9-7. During the next at-bat, facing Kole Calhoun, Diaz uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Escobar to move to third base. Diaz finished off the at-bat by issuing a walk to Calhoun on four pitches, then walked Trout on four pitches to re-load the bases. Pujols, up for his second at-bat of the inning, singled to right field, plating two runs to tie the game at nine-all. Pennington ended it with a single to right, scoring Trout for the walk-off win.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, teams had lost 346 consecutive games entering Sunday when they trailed by six or more runs entering the ninth inning. The Angels ended that streak.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.