OAKLAND, Calif. — The thought of Tyler Anderson wearing the Northwest green Mariners jersey beyond this season is certainly enticing to the front office and has slowly been building a movement within the fan base.
And with his outing Monday night in the Mariners’ 4-2 victory over the Athletics at a sparsely populated Oakland Coliseum, that clamor for Anderson to be back next season will only grow.
With Seattle unwilling to surrender the postseason dream, Anderson delivered one of his best outings of the season and his best performance of several strong performances since joining the Mariners on July 29. Anderson pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
The Mariners improved to 81-69 and sit three games back for the second wild-card spot, which currently is being held by the Toronto Blue Jays (84-66), who lost to the Rays on Monday night. The A’s fell to 82-68 and dropped to two games back of the Blue Jays while the Yankees remain a half-game back of Toronto.
Using a steady mix of cutters, four-seam fastballs and changeups, Anderson threw 91 pitches with 66 strikes, including 15 swings and misses.
After scoring just one run against A’s left-hander Sean Manaea in two starts and 16 innings this season, the Mariners broke through the third time facing him, scoring four runs, including three in the third inning.
A one-out single by Dylan Moore was followed by another single by J.P. Crawford and a run-scoring single from Ty France to make it 1-0. A walk to Mitch Haniger loaded the bases for Kyle Seager. After sitting out the victory Sunday in Kansas City with a sore right elbow, Seager looked rested and healthy, launching a deep fly ball to left-center that bounced just in front of the 388-foot sign. It scored two runs and pushed the lead to 3-0.
Anderson’s only run allowed came in the bottom of the inning. Chad Pinder led off with a double to left-center and Khris Davis followed with a double to right-center to score a run. But that was all the A’s would muster against Anderson. He allowed just three more base runners – none reaching second in the four innings that followed.
Seager picked up his second hit and third RBI on the night in the fifth. Haniger ripped his second double of the game – a blast off the wall in deep right-center – and Seager drove him in with a line drive to the gap to make it 4-1. Seager tried to stretch it into a double, but was thrown out at second by center fielder Starling Marte.
The later innings didn’t lack for drama.
Domingo Castillo started the eighth inning in place of Anderson. After retiring the first batter, Jed Lowrie, on a nine-pitch at-bat, Castillo gave up singles to Elvis Andrus, Josh Harrison and Marte – all to right field — to allow a run to score.
With runners on first and second and only one out, Seattle manager Scott Servais wasn’t going to take any chances in letting Castillo squander any more of the lead. He turned to right-hander Paul Sewald, the team’s best reliever this season, to face Matt Olson (36 homers) and Matt Chapman (26 homers). Sewald struck out Olson looking on a pinpoint backdoor slider to the outside corner. He then struck out Chapman looking to end the inning, celebrating with a scream and a fist pump.
Servais rode Sewald into the ninth for three more outs to close out the game. It was Sewald’s ninth save of the season.
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