SEATTLE — A comeback victory was coming together for the Seattle Mariners.
Cleveland reliever James Karinchak seemed to be trending toward another implosion fueled by pitch-clock panic and a boisterous crowd happy to make his life miserable.
With one out, the Mariners had a runner on second base and pinch-hitter Cal Raleigh coming to the plate.
The last time Raleigh pinch hit in a packed T-Mobile Park, he dented the old Hit It Here Café with a walk-off homer that clinched a playoff spot for the Mariners.
But there would be no magic this time as Karinchak froze him with a called strike three.
After an inexplicable four-pitch walk to J.P. Crawford, it brought Julio Rodriguez to the plate as the go-ahead run.
Karinchak took advantage off a gifted strike call on a slider for a second strike and struck out Rodriguez swinging to end the eighth inning and any realistic rally or victory hopes for the Mariners.
Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase dominated the Mariners in the ninth inning to finalize a 2-0 victory over the Mariners.
With the exception of Rodriguez, the Mariners struggled to solve the “spin” from Aaron Civale. The right-hander, who rarely throws a pitch over 91 mph, used a mixture of cutters and curveballs to keep Seattle scoreless for seven innings. He allowed two hits — both to Rodriguez — with a walk and three strikeouts. The Mariners had just five balls in play off Civale with exit velocities 95 mph or higher. The rest was soft contact.
Rodriguez led off the game with a single and stole second, but was stranded there with Kolten Wong flying out to left and Ty France and Eugenio Suarez each grounding out to third.
The Mariners got a strong performance from Logan Gilbert in his first start of the season.
The lanky right-hander pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. The outing would’ve been impeccable if not for one highly regrettable mistake pitch.
In the fourth inning, Gilbert fell behind Josh Naylor after a first-pitch fastball leaked off the plate away. He wanted to come back with a slider on the inside part of the plate. But the pitch, that was so good most of the night, didn’t go to its intended location. Instead, it stayed right in the middle of the plate.
Naylor crushed the pitch into the seats in deep right-center now known as the J-Rod “No Fly Zone” for a solo homer.
Cleveland’s other run came in the seventh inning after Gilbert had exited the game. Right-hander Diego Castillo started the inning and allowed a solo homer to Andres Gimenez with one out that made it 2-0.