SEATTLE — Cal Raleigh hit a game-ending home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Seattle Mariners ended the longest postseason drought in the majors with a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Raleigh, who came on as a pinch hitter in place of Luis Torrens, tangled with a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo (3-4) and deposited it next to the right-field foul pole for the homer that sealed the game. The Mariners’ first playoff berth since 2001.
Seattle’s celebration on the field lasted more than 10 minutes as fans and players took off the burden of two decades without a trip to the postseason for the team.
As has been the case for much of the Mariners’ season, their 86th win and the one that sent them back to the playoffs came in the most dramatic way possible. Seattle couldn’t figure out Oakland starter Ken Waldichuk and the A’s relievers for eight innings, limited only to Ty France’s RBI double that drove in Dylan Moore with no outs in the same first inning.
Acevedo struck out Mitch Haniger and Carlos Santana, but Raleigh sealed the game with his 26th home run of the season, the most in a single season by a Mariners catcher.
Seattle remained a game and a half behind Toronto for the first AL wild card and a half game ahead of Tampa Bay.
Matt Brash (4-4) got the win with two strikeouts in an inning of work.
For the Mariners, the Venezuelan Torrens 2-1; Eugenio Suarez 4-0. Dominican Carlos Santana 4-1.
For the Athletics, the Colombian Jordan Díaz 4-1. Puerto Rican Vimael Machín 4-0. Dominican Dermis Garcia 3-0.
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Mariners end 20-year drought They go to the postseason!