CHICAGO — A couple of notable takeaways regarding the Mariners after Saturday’s uplifting 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
***They might want to hold onto veteran lefty Wade Miley, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, instead of shopping him as Monday’s deadline for non-waiver trades approaches.
Miley (7-8) is on a run of three straight quality starts and, suddenly, is pitching like the Mariners envisioned when they acquired him last December from Boston.
"I just kept working," he said. "I struggled for a while, but I made some adjustments."
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***Leonys Martin can hit a fastball.
Martin drove a two-run double into the left-center gap with two outs in the eighth inning on a 100-mph fastball from new Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, a fellow Cuban defector.
"I know a lot (about Chapman)," Martin said. "I know he throws 105 (mph). I know nobody else does that in this game today. I was ready for the fastball."
Martin’s double erased a 1-0 deficit after the Cubs broke through against Miley in the seventh inning on a bang-bang play at the plate that required a lengthy replay review.
"We had the right guy up there," manager Scott Servais said. "We had the Cuban against the Cuban. Leonys has put good swings on velocity all year. He knows that’s what he’s going to get.
"I know it was left-on-left, and that Chapman is the guy. Rightly so. He’s been awesome. But it’s major-league baseball. Good hitters against good pitchers, and we won that one today."
Martin then stole third against an inattentive Chapman, which allowed him to score on a subsequent Chapman wild pitch for a 3-1 lead.
The Mariners added an insurance run in the ninth inning on a throwing error by shortstop Addison Russell before Steve Cishek worked around a one-out single for his 25th save.
"That’s one of the better wins we’ve had all year," Servais said, "and we’ve had some good ones. A few walk-offs. A few come-from-behinds. In this environment, against that team, it says a lot about our guys."
It started with Miley, who nearly lost his spot in the rotation a few weeks ago and has been — and remains — the subject of ongoing trade speculation as deadline approaches for non-waiver deals.
Asked how he deals with the rumors, Miley said: "Just pitch. Our job is to pitch. Whatever team it’s for. I just want to go out and compete. And whatever team I’m playing for, give that team a chance to win."
Nearly all of the drama was crammed into the final three innings.
Miley faced the minimum 18 batters through six innings but started the seventh by walking Dexter Fowler. The game was scoreless at the point because the Mariners had just two singles against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.
Kris Bryant followed Fowler’s walk by grounding a clean single up the middle. Miley insisted he was unaffected by losing the no-hitter.
"That’s a good-hitting team over there," he said. "To think you’re going to throw a no-hitter against a team like that, that’s kind of crazy. That’s why I never let it get to me.
"These guys, they’re going to put some at-bats together. I was lucky for the first six. That’s how I look at it."
Ben Zobrist’s sacrifice moved their runners to second and third with one out. The Mariners shortened their infield for Javier Baez, who hit a grounder to short.
Shawn O’Malley’s throw to the plate was slightly off-line as Fowler raced home, but catcher Mike Zunino initially got the call from umpire Lance Barrett.
But the Cubs challenged — and the call was overturned. Chicago led 1-0 and still had runners at first and third with one out.
Miley struck out Addison Russell and, with Jason Heyward at the plate, tried for a pickoff at first base. Bryant broke for home and, Barrett ruled, beat the tag by Zunino, who took the throw from Adam Lind.
The Mariners challenged — and that call was overturned, too. That ended the inning. But Miley had lost his no-hitter, the Mariners were down by one run and signs pointed to a crushing loss.
Except Arrieta (12-5) then let the Mariners back into the game by walking the first two hitters in the eighth inning.
The Cubs went to the bullpen at that point for Hector Rondon as the Mariners sent Luis Sardinas up to bat for Miley.
Sardinas executed the sacrifice, which moved the runners to second and third with one out — i.e., the same opportunity the Cubs had in the seventh inning.
Nori Aoki hit a grounder to third as pinch-runner Guillermo Heredia broke for the plate. Bryant’s throw to the plate was high, but catcher Miguel Montero, in Barrett’s opinion, applied the tag in time.
The Mariners challenged again but, this time, Barrett was right. The out call was confirmed for the inning’s second out.
Chicago summoned Chapman with runners at first and third to face Martin, who saw three straight 100-mph pitches and rocked the third one into the left-center gap.
"I just wanted to swing at a strike," Martin said. "I had a choke swing."
It was 3-1 when Edwin Diaz replaced Miley to start the Chicago eighth and ran into trouble by yielding a leadoff single and a one-out walk. But Diaz steadied and escaped by striking out Anthony Rizzo and Fowler.
"A nice growing moment for him is how I would put it," Servais said. "When you’re a young pitcher, you need to go through this stuff on the road in these kinds of environments against good teams."
The same might be said of the Mariners.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Leonys Martin’s two-run double against Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the eighth inning was one of the Mariners’ highlight moments of the season.
"You know, any fastball over 95 (mph) is tough to hit," Martin said. "I just wanted to put the ball in play."
PLUS: Wade Miley broke a personal six-game losing streak and won for the first time since June 7…Miley allowed one hit in seven innings for the second time in his career. He also did it on July 17, 2015 while pitching for Boston against the Los Angeles Angels…Edwin Diaz escaped a two-on threat with one out in the eighth by striking out two hitters. He has 46 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings…Nelson Cruz had two of the Mariners’ five hits for his 30th multi-hit game of the season…Leonys Martin also had two hits. The Mariners’ only other hit was Shawn O’Malley’s double in the ninth inning…Steve Cishek reached 25 saves for the third time in his career. He also did it in 2013 and 2014 for Miami.
MINUS: Third baseman Kyle Seager committed his 13th error of the season when he booted Kris Bryant’s hard one-out grounder in the fourth inning. Seager had 16 errors last year in 160 games and just eight in 2014, when he won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence…the Mariners were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, but that one was Leonys Martin’s two-run double…outfielder Guillermo Heredia reinjured his right shoulder on a slide at the plate in the eighth inning. The problem isn’t believed to be serious.
STAT PACK: The Mariners clinched their first winning record in interleague play since 2009 by improving to 11-5 with four games remaining. They were 11-7 in 2009.
QUOTABLE: While catcher Mike Zunino claimed not to know that Wade Miley was working on a no-hitter, Miley admitted he was fully aware.
"I was facing (Cubs pitcher Jake) Arrieta at the end of every three innings," Miley said. "Hmmm. If my math is right…I knew what was going on. I was trying not to think about it.
"Guys in the dugout were getting farther and farther away from me. I don’t like that at all. It’s just good that we were able to get the win. (Leonys) Martin came up with a big hit against (Aroldis) Chapman. That’s a big win for us."
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners have 23 come-from-behind victories…the Cubs have lost Jake Arrieta’s last five starts…the Cubs lost for only the second time in 58 games when carrying a lead into the eighth inning…the Mariners are now 5-40 when trailing after seven innings.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners