Mariners pull off historic comeback

NEW YORK (AFP) — The Seattle Mariners pulled off the greatest road comeback in Major League Baseball playoff history on Saturday, rallying from seven runs down to defeat Toronto 10-9 and eliminate the Blue Jays.

After falling behind 8-1 through five innings, the Mariners scored four runs in both the sixth and eighth innings to pull level at 9-9.

In the ninth, Seattle’s Cal Raleigh doubled and Adam Frazier smacked a two-out double off a pitch from Toronto’s Jordan Romano that drove in Raleigh with the deciding run.

“Gave me one that was right there,” Frazier said.

“I had a clue what it looked like and what was coming. I got a look and was able to belt it.”

The victory gave the Mariners a 2-0 triumph over Toronto in their best-of-three American League Wildcard Series and sent Seattle into a best-of-five division series matchup against the Houston Astros that begins Tuesday in Texas.

Only twice in MLB post-season history had a team fought back to win from seven runs down.

In 2008, Boston beat visiting Tampa Bay 8-7 in the American League Championship Series, and in 1929, the then-Philadelphia A’s rallied from an 8-0 hole to beat the visiting Chicago Cubs 10-8.

In the other American League wildcard series, Dominican rookie outfielder Oscar Gonzalez smashed a solo home run in the 15th inning off Corey Kluber to give Cleveland a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay, eliminating the Rays 2-0.

“It was incredible,” Gonzalez said.

“I knew how they were going to attack me so I was looking for that breaking pitch and I was able to execute.”

The Guardians, the youngest team in the major leagues, won their first playoff series since 2016 and will begin a best-of-five series against the New York Yankees on Tuesday in New York.

A combined 16 pitchers, eight for both clubs, delivered 39 strikeouts in the longest scoreless playoff game in MLB history.

At Toronto, Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the second inning and a solo homer in the fourth as the Blue Jays jumped ahead 8-1.

But Carlos Santana had a three-run homer in the sixth to begin the comeback and J.P. Crawford smacked a three-run double in the eighth to pull Seattle even, setting up the ninth-inning drama.

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