Mariners look to continue home ‘vibe’ in rematch with Twins

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais referred to it as a “vibe.”

Whatever it is, the Mariners are a different ballclub at T-Mobile Park.

The Mariners opened a nine-game homestand by rallying for a 3-2 victory in 10 innings against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night, scoring the deciding run on a fielder’s choice chopper by Cal Raleigh that barely made it past the mound.

The series between the American League playoff contenders will continue Saturday night.

“I kind of got rewarded for swinging at a bad pitch, but you know, it’s kind of how baseball is sometimes,” Raleigh said. “You’ve just got to put the ball in play. Definitely, probably not the right way to do it there, but we take what we can get.”

The Mariners were coming off a 3-6 trip to Cleveland, Miami and Tampa Bay during which their 10-game lead atop the AL West was slashed to 4 1/2 games.

Despite going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and striking out 13 times Friday, the Mariners found a way to win — in large part because of their aggressiveness on the basepaths.

The Mariners, who are 28-12 at home this season, opened the scoring in the fifth inning as Mitch Haniger drew a two-out walk and scored on Josh Rojas’ double into the right-field corner.

After Carlos Correa’s two-run homer in the sixth for Minnesota, Seattle tied the score with an unearned run two innings later.

Haniger drew a leadoff walk and Rojas grounded a single to right, sending pinch-runner Luke Raley to second. After J.P. Crawford popped out on a bunt attempt, Julio Rodriguez hit a chopper to third baseman Jose Miranda, who fanned on his attempt to tag Raley and then made a low throw to first, the ball skipping past Carlos Santana to allow Raley to score the tying run.

And in the 10th, Crawford alertly took third on Rodriguez’s groundout to short, then raced home on Raleigh’s bouncer back to pitcher Cole Sands, whose off-balance throw to the plate sailed to the backstop.

It was Raleigh’s fourth career walk-off winner and his second this season after a grand slam in an 8-4 victory against the visiting Chicago White Sox on June 10.

“I think there were some funky plays off the bat that we had to deal with,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But overall, I wouldn’t say we played a poor ballgame. I would say we played a decent ballgame. There were a lot of things I liked that I saw.”

Saturday’s game is set to feature a pair of right-handers in Minnesota’s Pablo Lopez (7-6, 5.11 ERA) against Seattle’s Bryce Miller (6-6, 3.90).

Lopez is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts against Seattle. He beat the Mariners 11-1 on May 9 in Minneapolis, allowing one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

Lopez is coming off his best start of the season Sunday at Oakland, when he pitched eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory. He gave up just two hits and matched a career-high with 14 strikeouts.

Miller had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 6-4 loss Sunday at Miami in which he allowed six runs over four innings. Miller is 1-0 with a 9.53 ERA in one career start against the Twins.

–Field Level Media