Sometimes one play can be a microcosm of two teams’ seasons, and we’d say the game-ending sequence from yesterday’s Rangers-Mariners contest qualifies. The division champion Rangers beat the last-place Mariners 6-5, which is already fitting. But it’s how this one went down that really had to delight/infuriate.
First off, the Mariners had a 5-1 lead after six innings, and it was bad enough that they blew that. But that was nothing compared to the game’s very last play. With two outs, a runner on and the game tied 5-5, the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz…struck out. So, extra innings, right?
…Not quite. Cruz swung and missed, but the ball got away from the catcher, so Cruz ran for first and Mitch Moreland, on first at the time, took off around the bases. The throw to get Cruz at first sailed away into right field, so Moreland went on a mad dash to score the winning run. He beat Ichiro Suzuki’s throw, and that was all she wrote.
All told, this was one of the more remarkable walk-off wins we’ve seen. Games end on strikeouts all the time – but they’re generally not by the winning team. And the combination of the wild pitch, throwing error, and winning run scoring all the way from first sealed the deal on the craziness.
As for how it represents each team’s season: the Rangers are 88-70 and heading to the playoffs for the first time in a decade. The Mariners, after showing some promise last season and acquiring ace Cliff Lee in the offseason, sit at 61-97, fired manager Don Wakamatsu mid-year…and traded Lee to the Rangers. Video of the crazy/crazily appropriate finish below.