No lead is safe in the Bronx.
Not against the New York Yankees, who entered Wednesday’s game leading the majors in home runs and on pace to shatter the 1997 Seattle Mariners’ single-season home run record.
The Mariners had a five-run lead after the top of the fifth inning, appearing to silence all those who watched Tuesday’s game and wondered how they would fare against the elite clubs of the American League.
Then Gary Sanchez hit a two-run home run in the eighth to tie the game.
Enter Giancarlo Stanton.
The reigning National League MVP crushed Ryan Cook’s middle-of-the-plate slider for a walk-off, 453-foot home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Mariners were handed a 7-5 loss.
“We made mistakes,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters afterward. “And you can’t do that against this team, in this ballpark.”
The loss was the third consecutive defeat for the Mariners (46-28). That hasn’t happened since they lost three in a row against the Houston Astros from April 17-19.
The Mariners are now 4-8 against the top teams of the American League — the Astros, Red Sox and Yankees.
And this marks just the fourth series they’ve lost in the first three months of the season — against the Astros, Angels, Tigers and now Yankees.
“We won’t panic,” said Felix Hernandez, who allowed one earned run in five innings before his pitch count crept to 95. “We got a pretty good team. This is baseball. You know these things are going to happen. It was a close game and we lost, but tomorrow is a new day. We just got to go fight again.”
Cook got the first two batters out in the ninth before Didi Gregorius singled. Then Stanton’s 0-2 blast ended it.
“One of those games — we’ve walked off quite a few teams this year,” Servais said. “That’s the first time we’ve been walked off. It’s going to happen. We got a good thing going here. We’ll bounce back tomorrow and we got (James) Paxton on the hill. I like our chances.”
The Mariners had Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz due in the top of the ninth, facing Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. They went down 1-2-3, each seeing triple-digit fastballs, including 104-mph to Cruz that he grounded out to second.
Dee Gordon had two hits and two runs batted in and Ryon Healy added to hits to lead the Mariners’ offense.