SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners didn’t win Thursday afternoon at T-Mobile Park, but they defied logic.
First-place Houston had future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander as its starting pitcher, while the last-place Mariners had reliever Austin Adams making his first big-league start, with his job to go one or two innings as the “opener.”
Verlander was very good and Adams was knocked around before getting through the first inning. Yet somehow the Mariners made the Astros play 14 innings before finally losing 8-7 on Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly, concluding Seattle’s longest homestand of the season.
The Mariners twice came back when down to their final out, once against top closer Roberto Osuna in the bottom of the ninth, then again in the bottom of the 10th.
The Mariners finished the 11-day, 11-game homestand with just four wins, but they certainly put up a great fight Thursday before leaving town to start a three-game series at the Los Angeles Angels.
Trailing from almost the outset, the Mariners finally caught the Astros with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Edwin Encarnacion lashed a single to right, tying the score at 6.
Then, down 7-6 with two outs in the 10th, Omar Narvaez hit a homer to right to extend the game again.
This did not seem like a game headed to extra innings in the first.
Adams allowed the first two batters to reach base, then got a double play and it looked like he might escape without any damage. But that changed quickly. Gurriel drove in a run with a single and Robinson Chirinos followed with a homer to left to make it 3-0.
After a walk, Adams was done, and with Verlander on the mound for Houston, it wasn’t looking good for the Mariners.
Tommy Milone, who was scheduled to pitch the bulk of the innings for the Mariners, came in a bit earlier than expected and did a solid job. He allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings — a homer to Alex Bregman in the fifth inning — to keep it close.
Verlander, who was victimized by poor defense (miscommunication on a fly ball that was ruled a double) in allowing a run in the first inning, was knocked out in the seventh. He was relieved with runners on first and second with one out and the Mariners took advantage.
Will Harris came in and threw nine pitches, getting one out but also allowing three singles as the Mariners cut the deficit to 5-4.
With runners on first and second, Houston brought in Ryan Pressly to face Mac Williamson, hitting for Mitch Haniger who had to exit with what the Mariners described as a “midbody contusion.” Williamson flew out to center field, and that ended the threat.
The Astros added a run in the eighth to make it 6-4, but once again the Mariners rallied. Domingo Santana’s one-out single drove in a run and with runners at first and second and one out, Houston elected to bring in Osuna.
He did his job in that inning, getting Narvaez to fly out to center and Shed Long to pop out to third. But in the ninth, the Mariners made him pay for a leadoff walk, with Encarnacion sending the game to extra innings.
“It’s kind of hard to be focused the whole game,” Narvaez said. “But we did a good job swinging the bats. Remember, we were facing a pretty good team. They don’t strike out much and put the ball in play almost every time.”