The Seattle Mariners have qualified for the major league playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Cal Raleigh also ended the longest drought of its kind in North America for a professional club with a long home run to close out Friday night’s game in front of Seattle fans.
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“From the moment I knew the ball was in fair range, I watched the team and all the jumps. It was crazy,” said Raleigh, quoted on Major League Baseball’s website, after the spectacular 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.
The hero of the day came at bat after two outs at the bottom of the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter to dislodge A’s assist Domingo Acevedo’s shot over the fence at T-Mobile Park. The 44,754 spectators present then exploded with joy.
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“Being in our stadium, with about 40,000 people here, is even better than you can imagine,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais.
Possible opponents for the Jays
The Seattle lineup qualified for the playoffs while also signing their 86th win of the season against 70 losses. The Mariners join the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays, which together make up the three teams drafted into the American League.
The division champions are the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians.
According to the results of the games until the end of the season, a match between Seattle and Toronto for a series 2/3 remains likely to start the playoffs starting on October 7th.
Abraham Toro: privileged witness
In the Mariners camp, it is worth noting that Quebecer Abraham Toro is part of this team. Limited to a backup role lately, Toro remains an asset to Seattle due to his defensive versatility and two-handed batting status.
The Quebec native has played 104 games for the Mariners this season and hit nine home runs. He could be making the major league playoffs for the second time in his career, having been fielded under the Astros’ colors in 2020 during the American League championship series against the Rays.
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However, Ty France, Eugenio Suarez and Raleigh remain the most prominent players in Seattle as the playoffs begin.
Young outfielder Julio Rodriguez, author of 27 home runs in 129 games and contender for the American Rookie of the Year title, is currently on the injured list with a back pain. However, he should be back for the playoffs.