Mariners, Julio Rodriguez having a big one-time salami to run a 12-game winning streak

ARLINGTON, Texas — If you’ve listened enough in the stunned silence of Globe Life Field, when the deafening music died down and most of the 26,494 fans watched as a 21-year-old phenom, they’ll have to endure for years. bases, you could hear that hoarse and unforgettable baritone voice of yesteryear.

It could be heard in the homes of Mariners fans in the Pacific Northwest and in faraway places where believers in “Sodo Mojo,” “Refuse To Lose,” “Two outs? So what” and a bit of that old-time religion resides.

When Julio Rodriguez unloaded on a 3-2 fastball from Jose Leclerc in the eighth inning, sending a towering fly ball over the wall into center field for the Mariners’ first grand slam of the season, to turn a rodent of one-point nails in what would be an easy 8-3 win – their 12th straight win – Mariners fans of all ages and intensities knew that somewhere Dave Niehaus was shouting in exultant jubilation, “Get out the rye bread and mustard, grandma, because it’s high salami time!”

“In this situation, the fans got involved,” Rodriguez said. “It was a really big moment in the game. Being able to go all the way in the team was my top priority. Being able to do that was pretty good.

They could hear it. They could feel it. They missed it. The voice a reminder of better times. The man would have weathered the emotional highs, lows, and highs of this season like only he could, and we would have known by the tone of that voice that reminds you of summer.

And Rodríguez?

Well, Niehaus was there for the rookie season of the first Mariners superstar, Ken Griffey Jr., and he would have reveled in the similarities in the budding Mariners superstar’s rookie season.

Shit, Dave would have loved Julio.

He would have loved him for everything we’ve seen so far, everything he could be and everything he will mean to this city, this fan base and this organization for years to come.

“I don’t know what else to say about a 21-year-old player,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s a pleasure to watch. He really is. It’s the way he plays the game and the intensity with which he plays and the competitiveness. It was awesome to watch.

His teammates have ceased to be surprised by his poise, and they are waiting for the production.

“What’s really impressive is that he doesn’t let the moment be bigger than it is,” Mariners starter Robbie Ray said. “In this situation, the bases are loaded and we only have a lead and a 3-2 count, he gets a good fastball on the top rail, a competitive field. To do what he did, it’s really special to see him play day in and day out.

A man of few words in most cases, Ray has gushed about Rodriguez all season. He knows that just doesn’t happen to rookies.

“The confidence he has there, he’s very well behaved, he’s super humble and he works really hard,” Ray said. “He is preparing for these moments. And it’s really fun to watch.

The circumstances for continuing the Mariners’ winning streak were not dire. For much of Friday night, the win seemed like an afterthought as Ray sliced ​​through the batters with spirited variations of his two fastballs and a bad streak for five shutout innings.

“It’s probably the best I’ve felt all year,” Ray said. “I really needed those two throws tonight, the slider was OK. But the two seams and the four seams played out very well tonight. I had great success with this. »

His teammates, including Rodriguez, provided needed support in the run with a 4-0 lead going into the sixth set.

But Ray erred on Corey Seager, leaving his only curveball of the night over the plate. This resulted in a solo homer in the sixth inning. In a seventh inning that he couldn’t finish, Ray gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Leody Taveras who cut the lead to 4-3.

Ray was still brilliant, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing all three runs on six hits with 12 strikeouts and no walks to make it 8-6.

One night after rallying from a four-point deficit for the biggest win from behind of the season, would the Mariners give up a four-point lead and ultimately lose their first game in weeks despite such dominance?

Baseball can be so cruel that way.

And it looked like their struggles throughout the season with the bases loaded could be part of the end of the streak.

On a run, the Mariners charged the no-outs against right-hander AJ Alexy on a Cal Raleigh single and back-to-back four-pitch walks to Adam Frazier and Abraham Toro. A run of any kind could make life in the Mariners bullpen easier. Two runs and it would probably be “We’re still running”.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward brought in Leclerc, the once closest Rangers who have dealt with a myriad of arm issues, to get them out of trouble. Using his nasty switch and slider, Leclerc took out Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty.

Rodriguez walked over to the plate. His plan remained unchanged: look for a pitch, preferably a fastball, in the area and unleash all hell. He wouldn’t give in to Leclerc’s slider for a called strike or chase down a change at his feet. A fastball was called for a two strike, which he disagreed with. Leclerc tried to chase him two cursors away. These could have worked in the first month of the season. But he “spits” on it for bullets.

At 3-2, knowing Leclerc didn’t want to walk in a rush, he waited for the fastball and got it.

“I was just going to stay true to myself and keep looking up,” he said. “I was able to capitalize.”

His first career grand slam was his 16e homer of the season and finished with a career-high five RBIs.

“He’s as good at batting as you’ll see,” Servais said. “Great to see a young talent like that take off and the looks in our dugout when that ball went over the fences was like, ‘Did he really just do that?'”

He did. And it won’t be the last time.


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