Not dead yet.
The Seattle Mariners ended an 11-game trip and a five-game losing streak Thursday with a 7-5 victory over Toronto at the Rogers Centre that kept alive their flickering postseason hopes.
The victory pulled the Mariners two games behind Oakland for the American League’s final wild card berth when the A’s suffered a 2-1 loss at Texas on Adrian Beltre’s walk-off homer. Both teams have three games remaining.
The Mariners open a three-game series Friday against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field, while the A’s continue a four-game series at Texas.
“We’re not going to give up,” said third baseman Kyle Seager, who contributed a pair of RBI singles to a 10-hit attack. “We know the situation we’re in, but there’s no reason not to go out there and fight.
“That’s what we’re doing.”
Logan Morrison ignited a stagnant offense with a pair of homers that, each time, put the Mariners in front. Each of Morrison’s last six homers have either tied a game or put the Mariners on top.
His first homer was a three-run bomb against Todd Redmond that capped a four-run fourth inning. His second one was a liner against Aaron Loup that just cleared the right-field wall to open the sixth and break a 4-4 tie.
“The first one,” Morrison said, “I was looking for something up and over the middle of the plate. I was able to put the barrel on it, and it got out.
“The second one. … I don’t have any idea how I hit that guy (Loup). He’s filthy. I blacked out. I don’t know what happened.”
What happened on the second one is the Mariners had a lead they never relinquished. Mike Zunino added a homer later in the sixth by ambushing a 3-0 fastball from Dustin McGowan for a 6-4 lead.
“I was lucky enough to get the green light,” Zunino said, “and I knew I had to get the head (of the bat) out not to be disappointed. It was one of those things: Looking for a fastball and getting one.”
The Mariners got their final run in the seventh after Kendrys Morales blooped a one-out double to left. Pinch-runner James Jones scored on Seager’s single to right.
That production supported a nine-man bullpen parade as manager Lloyd McClendon opted to start long reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in place of struggling Chris Young.
“They attacked guys,” Zunino said. “The whole bullpen knew they were going to be in the game at some point. They were ready to go. They were ready to fill in for any need.”
Yoervis Medina (5-3) got the victory when Fernando Rodney, after yielding a leadoff homer to Kevin Pillar in the ninth inning, closed out the victory for his major-league-leading 47th save.
“We’re still in the ring and still fighting,” McClendon said. “As dire as it may look, there are teams that wish they were in the Seattle Mariners’ shoes right now. … We’re going to play hard and see what happens.”
Toronto also started a reliever, Daniel Norris, because of a suspension to Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays used six pitchers. Loup (4-4) got the loss after surrendering Morrison’s second homer.
The Blue Jays nicked Wilhelmsen for two runs in the second inning and carried that lead into the fourth, which Chris Taylor began with a bunt single.
Norris made a nice play on Robinson Cano’s high chopper to get an out at first base but, when he walked Morales on four pitchers, the Blue Jays went to the bullpen for Redmond.
Seager looped an RBI single into center that ended the Mariners’ scoreless streak at 18 innings. Morrison followed by cranking a first-pitch fastball into the right-field seats for a three-run homer.
That quickly, the Mariners went from a 2-0 hole to a 4-2 lead.
Toronto pulled even with two tainted runs in the fifth when aided by two walks by Joe Beimel and two infield errors.
Morrison untied the game against Loup to start the sixth.
“I got the barrel to it,” Morrison said. “Two-seamer in, and it was able to get up enough. It got out. So it was cool.”
Cool enough that the Mariners can still dream of postseason — even after a 4-7 trip through Anaheim, Houston and Toronto that included five consecutive losses by a combined score of 43-10 before Thursday’s victory.
“Obviously, it’s not how we wanted to play baseball this last stretch,” Zunino said. “But with a win, we know we still have hope.”