The Mariners couldn’t make it nine wins in a row last night. Their home loss to the Angels snapped the team’s longest win streak in nearly a decade. The streak not only piled on wins, but the excitement surrounding the club as well. Here is a list of the Mariners top-5 plays during the eight game hot streak.
No doubt about it. The Mariners picked the right time to go on their hottest stretch in years. It was a streak full of notable hits, pitching performances and milestones.
It would have been considered one of the top Mariners win streaks in history without each of the these moments, but they all added a special touch to the run. Some happened to have more of a lasting impact than others.
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So without anymore jabbering, here is the top-5 moments that highlighted the impressive win streak.
Sep 12, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin (let) and left fielder Ben Gamel (16) get high-fives as they return to the dugout after scoring on Gamel’s 2-run home run in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
5. Rookies Reach Milestones- In Wins 6 and 7
Both Ben Gamel and Dan Vogelbach would probably argue that their respective milestones should be #1 on this list. Sorry, guys.
It is every kids dream to make it to the big leagues. The years of working your way through the collegiate then minor league ranks. Endless hours of dedication, and often, blood sweat and tears all to make a major league squad.
Each player got their chances in the past few days and weeks to make a name for themselves. Gamel was the first to make some noise, and within his first ten games to boot. Gamel would hit his first career home run as a Mariner on the road against the M’s division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels.
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Vogelbach must have felt overshadowed, so the very next day, he made his own personal history. Having to make up for his embarrassing misstep in his debut a few days earlier, Vogelbach changed the perception of himself very quickly.
In his third at-bat against the Angels, Vogelbach hit a solid shot to right-field. It may not have been a home run, but you’ve got to start somewhere. It’s pretty impressive to get a hit in just your second game though.
Both rookies have a ways to go to work their way into the everyday lineup, but reaching these marks can be the start of something good.
Sep 13, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Nori Aoki (8) follows through on his swing for a solo home run during the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
4. Aoki Homers Not Once, But Twice- In Wins 3 and 7
Sure, this is technically two moments, but what matters is, Aoki is on fire. During the win streak, Aoki hit .400. He also added two doubles and six RBI. What stood out above all this was his two home runs.
By no means is Aoki considered a power-hitter. In his five year career, Aoki has hit multiple home runs in the same week only 5 times.
When he hit his first home run in Oakland against the Athletics, he was surly relieved. It was his first home run since May. The homer also proved to be vital, as the Mariners would win by a narrow margin, 3-2.
The second home run, showed it itself four days later, this time versus the Angels. The homer was lost in the 8-0 route, but it was a defining moment of the hot streak. If Aoki of all people could hit with that type of consistent power, how could any pitcher stop the Mariners?
Sep 14, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) celebrates with second baseman Robinson Cano (22) after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during a MLB game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
3. Cano Ties Personal Home Run Mark- In Win 6
Whether you agree with Cano’s $240 million dollar contract or not, it’s hard to say he’s not earning it this year. On Monday he hit a season-tying best thirty-third home run. It is the first time he has surpassed the thirty home run mark in a season during his brief, injury-riddled Mariner career.
Cano stepped into the batters box for his second at bat in Anaheim. He would take the first pitch out of the park, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead.
Cano needs one more big fly to set a personal best in home runs. If he hits two more this season, he will match he previous total over the past two seasons. This home run was the thirty-third reasons to believe Robinson Cano is at his best a thirty-three years of age.
Sep 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners first baseman Adam Lind (26) hits a grand slam against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
2. Lind Goes Slammin’- In Win 1
Adam Lind didn’t know that his grand slam would have been one of the igniting flames of the Mariners hot streak, but all indications point to it helping fuel the fire.
Sitting five games back in the Wild Card race on September7th, few believed at this point that the Mariners could make a playoff run. Lind must have been someone who believed that wasn’t true and did something to begin changing people’s minds.
Facing the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, Lind came into a beautiful opportunity. In the first frame, with the bases loaded, Lind would drive a no-doubter to center field.
The home run padded the Mariner lead that was once 1-0, now making it 5-0. That one swing of the bat increased the M’s chances of winning by 17%. And it would be more than enough run support to give the Mariners that big first win of the streak.
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Not to be forgotten, and equally important to the streak and the win that day, Lind would go on to add a solo shot in the sixth inning.
Sep 13, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher starting Taijuan Walker (44) looks on in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
1. Walker Takes Aim At Perfection- In Win 7
I hope at this point you aren’t bored of hearing about how amazing Taijuan Walker was on Tuesday. I sure am not.
Twenty-one men in the modern era of baseball could (when they were alive) speak about what it feels like and means to be perfect. One of those men happens to be Walker’s Mariners teammate,
The two have been teammates since Walker was called up back in 2013. Both have awed us with their brilliance since. Unfortunately, Walker wasn’t present in Safeco Field the day the King became perfect.
Wheeling and dealing for six innings, Walker was unstoppable. It was like watching a master craftsman at work. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Even when he was nervously waiting in the dugout, you could feel he was in the middle of something special.
Although he lost the perfect game in the sixth and then the no-no in the seventh, you had to admit you were watching one of the all-time great Mariner pitching performances. His line of: 9IP, 3H, 0BB, 11K speaks for itself and should be forever remembered.
It may not have been perfect, but it was undoubtedly the best moment in the eight game win streak.
Sep 12, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Ariel Miranda (37) throws in the 5th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Honorable Mention- In Wins 1 and 6
Ariel Miranda is a name that Mariners fans got to know quite well during the win streak. His breakout outings in key games this month have made him a player to watch.
In his sixth and seventh CAREER starts, Miranda made your jaw drop. He pitched consecutive outings of six innings, while allowing no earned runs. He also struck out at least three in each appearance.
Miranda would win each of those decisions. Wins that will build the confidence of the newly minted MLB player, that appears to be finding his groove at the right moment.
There’s your list. I hope it felt as good for you to relive those moments as it did for me. The Mariners are in desperate need for a new win streak after dropping their last two at home against Houston.