Last September, Logan Morrison hit a pedestrian .275 for a Marlins team playing for nothing but pride toward the bottom of the National League East. It's probably safe to say he's have more fun on the diamond this time around with the Seattle Mariners.
Morrison blasted the tie-breaking three-run home run in the ninth inning off of Kevin Jepsen on Thursday night to give his Mariners a 3-1 win and bring them another game closer to a playoff appearance. The shot broke a 0-0 tie, and although it didn't give Felix Hernandez the win, it gave his team the W in a game where he couldn't have been much better.
"The King" was back to his usual routine Thursday night in Los Angeles, tossing seven scoreless innings against an Angels lineup that didn't feature Mike Trout or Albert Pujols. The Angels have the American League West locked up and are focusing on the playoffs more so than a regular season game in September. Advantage: Seattle.
Hernandez dotted his fastball and fooled the young and inexperienced Angels hitters with his devastating changeup en route to 11 strikeouts. Hernandez gave up just three hits and two walks. The great outing lowered his ERA to 2.07 on the season.
But like he's gotten too accustomed to in the past, Hernandez didn't get any run support and had to leave the game in a 0-0 tie. The Mariners couldn't break through against the combination of Wade LeBlanc, Joe Thatcher, Mike Morin and Fernando Salas, who gave up just four hits without walking any as a tandem. That all changed when Jepsen entered to pitch the top of the ninth.
Jepsen recorded the first two outs easily when he got Dustin Ackley and Robinson Cano to ground out to the right side. But Kendrys Morales extended the inning with a single to give James Jones a chance as a pinch runner at first.
His speed drew a throwing error from Jepsen trying to pick him off at first. That lead to Mike Scioscia intentionally walking Kyle Seager. Morrison came up next and did the rest. The high blast over the tall scoreboard in right gave Seattle the lead that it didn't give up.
Fernando Rodney gave up a meaningless home run to Hank Conger in the ninth to nail down the win that moves Seattle to within a game of the A's in the AL Wildcard. It appears these two AL West teams will battle for the last spot in a crazy American League Wildcard chase. The Mariners go to Houston for a three-game set with the 'Stros over the weekend.