NEW YORK — When Andres Munoz steps off the mound for the last time in his career, he will take the memory of this performance with him.
Brought in to close out a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium, the young right-hander, who had sat out the last four days due to usage, found himself in a self-created mess with the bases loaded and two outs.
With Yankee fans sensing a walk-off win, Munoz came back to strike out Gleyber Torres to give the Seattle Mariners an 8-6 victory.
Given its friendly dimensions in various places and the way the ball seems to carry, Yankee Stadium can be a dream for power hitters like Aaron Judge, who has 43 homers on the season, and Mariners slugger Sam Haggerty.
Excuse me, what?
Yes, Sluggin’ Sam Haggerty.
OK, that might be a reach since the speedy, switch-hitter, who is slowly making his case to remain on this team when the reinforcements from the injured list and trade deadline return to the Mariners in the coming weeks.
Well, OK, for another rare night in this season, a homer from Haggerty provided the difference in a Mariners victory. He broke a 6-6 tie with a solo homer to left in the seventh inning and scored a big insurance run in the ninth inning.
Given a lead before he stepped on the mound and added to over the next two innings, Logan Gilbert just couldn’t quite keep the Yankees off the bases or in the ballpark, which isn’t uncommon for many pitchers, but a foreign feeling to him.
Seattle scored four runs off Yankees starter Jameson Taillon over the first four innings. It started with Eugenio Suarez’s two-run homer into the second deck in left field in the first inning. Cal Raleigh hit his 15th homer of the season in the second inning, launching a solo blast off Taillon over the wall in right-center to make it 3-0.
Carlos Santana pushed the lead to 4-0 in the third inning with a sac fly to deep center.
But in a reminder, as if the Mariners or any in the American League would forget, the Yankees showed how quickly they can erase leads in their home ballpark in the fourth inning.
Anthony Rizzo worked a leadoff walk from Gilbert and then, despite being one of their slower runners in all of baseball, scored all the way from first base on Josh Donaldson’s double into the left-field corner.
Gilbert came back to strike out Andrew Benintendi for the second out of the inning, but he couldn’t keep the damage to one run.
His first pitch to Jose Trevino — a poorly executed curve — hung in the middle of the zone and was hammered into the Mariners bullpen. For Trevino, it was his 10th homer of the season and his third in the first two games of the series.
Gilbert pitched 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits — three of them homers — with four walks and two strikeouts.