The Mariners kept pace in the tight Wild Card race with their 4-3 victory today in Minnesota. The M’s used the long ball in order to win the ball game. In total they bashed three home runs, which scored all of the teams runs. With the win, the Mariners continue to sit 2.5 games back in the Wild Card race with only seven games remaining.
Time is running out for the Mariners to leapfrog the competition and insert themselves into the playoff picture. Today, they helped their cause by squeaking out a victory in the series finale versus the Minnesota Twins.
Nelson Cruz led the way, despite noticeable discomfort in his wrist. His two home runs- numbers forty and forty-one of this year- gave the Mariners the deciding runs to earn the win.
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But, it wasn’t just about Cruz on this day. Here are three things we learned today in Minnesota during the 4-3 win.
Nelson Cruz Continues To Smash
Cruz is on some kind of tear right now. Not only has he homered in the last three games, he tacked on two in today’s ballgame. It was his fourth multi-home run game of the season. Yet, despite how great hitting two home runs is on its own, they also helped him reach a couple of personal milestones.
His first home run was the fortieth he hit this year. Cruz has now reached the forty-plus home run plateau in his last three seasons. But, Cruz wasn’t finished. He would homer again, even after needing extra time to help his ailing wrist. This forty-first home run put him three back of his career best, which he set in 2014.
By Cruz now hitting a home run in his last three games, he added to his consecutive home run totals. It is the second time this month that he’s had a homer streak of three games.
To put that into perspective, he had only hit homers in three or more consecutive games twice in twelve seasons. First, in 2011 when he started the year hitting homers in four consecutive games. Then again, last year when he smashed the ball into the bleachers in five consecutive games.
Sucre didn’t just add two more hits to his total. He added a double and a two-run home run. The homer was his first of the year. The last time he knocked one out of the park was July of last year. The double was his second in two games. Because of these two hits in three attempts, Sucre’s average this year with Mariners is now .500.
I’d say that Sucre has earned another callback. And, why not? In the six games that Sucre has taken the field this season, the Mariners are 5-1. Those are the kind of odds the M’s need in the final week to even have a shot at the playoffs.
Twins Fans Are Obedient
Twins fans haven’t had much to cheer about this season. They have not only had the worst record in baseball. They also had the highest batting average against in the American league and the fewest quality starts.
Furthermore, their fielding has been atrocious. They have committed the second most errors in baseball. Today they added three more errors to their long list of misplays.
But, with all this going poorly for the Twins, at least their fans follow instructions. If you hadn’t noticed all series, whenever the Twins fans were prodded by the huge scoreboard above the outfield to, “clap” or “get loud”, they obliged. Every time.
Maybe it was more noticeable because the stadium was so quiet you could almost hear conversations in the dugout. Or maybe, Twins fans are the most obedient fan-base in the game.
Today, the league lost one if its brightest young stars. Jose Fernandez was taken from this world in a tragic boating accident. He and the two other men that were on the boat all lost their lives.
And yet, despite having faced many challenges, he took the sports world by storm with his arm and his smile. Everyone who met him loved him because of his positive attitude. They said he had an aura about him that made you like him.
Most of all, this tragedy reminds us how precious life is. Reminds us how fortunate we are to be able to do what we love. Jose Fernandez made us love the game of baseball so much more just by being himself.