Pa Jordan Shusterman
Posted by FOX Sports MLB

Over the course of four innings, Game 2 of the Wild-Card series between art Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners trending in a way that many people could see coming.

After a dominant performance from Seattle Luis Castillo in Game 1 Toronto Cy Young candidate, Kevin Gausmanseemed to return the favor in Game 2. Meanwhile, Robbie Ray — in returning to his old stomps — spanked. In addition to facing his former team in unfriendly territory, Ray’s lefty arsenal seemed to play right into the Jays’ right-handed strength.

Teoscar Hernandez hit twice off Ray, the Blue Jays were rolling and the Rogers Center was in a bind.

However, after the starters came out? It was pure chaos, as it has been all season for the drought-stricken Mariners.

Seattle was down 8-1 after five innings, completing a historic comeback to beat Toronto 10-9 and advance to the ALDS, leaving the 47,000-plus Rogers Center crowd in stunned silence.

What happened to the sailors

It’s ridiculous to say that this was commonplace for a team to complete a comeback of this magnitude in this context, but the Mariners have had so many ridiculous comebacks and close wins in 2022 that it somehow doesn’t seem so shocking.

The box score cannot tell the whole story of this game. Paul Seewald struggled mightily for his appearance, but the rest of the Mariners bullpen picked up after that, keeping Toronto within striking distance when the hitter returned to the game.

There were stars in the attack Cal Raleigh and Adam Fraserwith three hits apiece, including a double by Raleigh and an RBI double by Frazier that gave the Mariners a 10-9 lead in the ninth.

The quintessential sailor chaos came before, however, kindly JP Crawford base hit that scored three runs off a terrible collision in the outfield between Because Bichette and George Springer. Springer unfortunately had to leave the game, but he raised his arms to pump the crowd as he exited, so hopefully the injury isn’t serious.

If not for Crawford’s pinpoint landing, he might have scored just two runs and Toronto might have kept the lead. Instead, the collision allowed Frazier to go all the way from first base for the tying run.

What went wrong for the Blue Jays

Everything later Kevin Gausman left the game.

Gausman was terrific, essentially ditching the slider from his three-pitch mix and instead attacking relentlessly with his fastball/splitter combo. He threw his signature splitter 45 times — the most he’s had in any start this season — to great effect. Mariners hitters swung and missed on 11 splitters and failed to make hard contact on him when they did connect.

Still, while the runs were hard to come by, Seattle managed to push Gausman’s pitch count into the 90s by the sixth inning, forcing Toronto to turn the game over to a bullpen that always looked like the team’s weakest link.

Still, the hope is that any postseason bullpen can hold a seven-run lead with 12 innings going into an elimination game. That Toronto’s streak ended with the team falling isn’t particularly surprising, but the extent of the collapse was scary to watch.

The key moment of the game

Gausman was 95 pitches into the sixth, but letting him finish the inning seemed like a reasonable request given the season he’s had, how dynamic he’s been all game and an 8-1 lead.

Manager John Schneider preferred instead Tim Maiza over Gaussman facing Carlos Santana the third time, probably because Santana launched a double to center off Gausman earlier in the game.

Maiza made a fastball that allowed Ty France score from third. That made it 8-2. Two innings later, Santana sent a ball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer that cut the Blue Jays’ lead to three.

There were more comebacks to come after that, but that one decision backfired, breathing some serious life into the Mariners’ dugout that might never have arrived had Gausman gotten himself out of the jam.

What happens next

The magical trip of the sailors will continue on Tuesday, in Seattle Houston — the sailors’ personal house of horrors for the past decade and a half — where they will try to continue shocking the world.

Avoiding the Game 3 wild card puts Seattle in a position to send Logan Gilbert out for the first game of the ALDS before likely returning the ball to Castillo for the second game, which is pitching as well as they could hope for against a terrible Astros offense.

More importantly, this series win guarantees the return of postseason baseball to Seattle for at least one game, with Game 3 against Houston on Saturday at T-Mobile Park.

At this point, doubt the Mariners at your own peril. If there’s a team destined for this postseason field, it certainly looks like them.

Jordan Shusterman is half @Cespede’s BBQ and baseball writer for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.

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