Scott Servais describes ’emotional’ Mariners win over Astros: ‘It was a heck of a game’

Jul 27, 2021, 3:05 PM
Mariners Dylan Moore...
Dylan Moore's grand slam capped off a wild Mariners comeback win. (AP)

The 2021 Seattle Mariners had their biggest moment of the year on Monday as the team erased an early 7-0 deficit to come back and beat the Houston Astros 11-8.

Stunner in Seattle: Mariners come back from 7 down, beat Astros 11-8

The game got off to a very poor start with rookie Darren McCaughan allowing six runs in the first inning to the Astros’ elite lineup. But the Mariners itched and clawed their way back, with rookie catcher Cal Raleigh clearing the bases for a three-run double in the fourth inning and third baseman Kyle Seager clubbing a three-run shot in the fifth.

A Shed Long Jr. single made it an 8-7 game in the sixth, and Dylan Moore launched a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth to give Seattle a lead that it held onto the rest of the way.

On Tuesday, Mariners manager Scott Servais joined Mike Salk, Stacy Rost and Mariners insider Shannon Drayer on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy for the weekly Scott Servais Show. As you might imagine, the skipper was pretty thrilled with his team’s heroics on Monday.

“It was a heck of a game,” he said. “Can’t say enough about the fight our guys have shown throughout the entire season, and last night was kind of the epitome of that. We just don’t give up. It’s a great group to be around and we’ve got a good thing going on right now.”

With the win, the Mariners are a season-high nine games over .500 and are just one game back of a playoff spot. This team is red hot, too, winning seven of 10 games since returning from the All-Star Break.

“It’s really fun to see right now,” Servais said. “It’s everybody pulling for each other. When you get to that point, you’re ultimately playing for something bigger than yourself.”

Servais and the Mariners easily could have thrown in the towel after the big early deficit on Monday, but the team made it interesting enough where Servais decided to really go for it in terms of how he used his bullpen and bench the rest of the way. The talk of his players played a role in that.

“After Seager’s three-run homer (which made it 8-6), guys that are (waiting) to go on deck, they’re kind of standing next to me and getting their batting gloves on and I think three different guys told me, ‘Skip, we’re going to win this game … this is going to happen,'” Servais said. “And after the third one said that – and the third one happened to be Jarred Kelenic – I said, ‘I think you’re right, Jarred. I do think you’re right, we are going to win this game.'”

The Mariners didn’t enter the first game of this critical series with the most available bullpen because that group pitched a lot of innings in the four-game series against the Oakland Athletics. Additionally, the team was down a roster spot due to the suspension of reliever Hector Santiago, who returns to action on Tuesday. But Servais did have his two best relievers available and he went to his top arm – Kendall Graveman – in the top of the eighth inning despite trailing in the game.

“(Graveman) and Sewald were down down on Sunday and didn’t pitch, so they were available last night,” Servais said. “Typically (you only go to those two) if you’re tied or up in the game, but I just felt the momentum was in our favor and we should do everything we could to give our guys a chance. And because we were so thin (in the bullpen) it was a good pocket to put Gravey in and he did a great job, as did Sewald after we got the lead.”

Graveman struck out two in a scoreless eighth to earn the win while Sewald slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth to record his fourth save.

Both during and after the game, it was clear that Servais was emotional and more fired up than usual. Servais said that was due to a “combination of things.”

“This team and being as young (as we are), if you go back a few years ago when we started the rebuild, when you take a step back, you know there’s going to be some pain you endure along the way,” he said. “… We put ourselves in a position where we like our core group of guys and the young group of prospects we’ve talked about are starting to show up and they’re producing in an emotional win.”

Another key factor? The opponent.

“I have to say, the Astros, as everyone knows, have had our number in recent years,” he said.

The Astros have been the cream of the crop in the AL West the last few seasons, and currently sit atop the division once again.

“All those things play into it and it’s an emotional time,” Servais said. “You leave it all on the field. I ask the players to do it every day and every once in a while the coaching staff and the manager do as well. It was a lot of fun.”

The mentality of the young 2021 Mariners was on full display on Monday as well, Servais said.

“I’m just so proud of the players. It’s about the players and it will always be about the players and them putting the work in and believing in each other and them leaning on each other and then having the ability to just grind out an at-bat and not trying to be the hero because if you’re not the hero, you just pass the baton to the next guy and he has a good at-bat and passes it along,” he said. “And all of a sudden, you’ve got that pitcher into a corner where they have to make a pitch and you hope they put a good swing on it.”

That’s exactly what happened with Moore’s grand slam, with the two batters in front of him – Kelenic and Tom Murphy – working two-out walks before Moore deposited the baseball into the left field bleachers.

The Mariners have been one of the worst offensive teams in baseball this year, but Servais is seeing things pick up, especially in key situations.

“Overall, the numbers don’t look that good at all, but our guys have certainly stood up in big moments and had the big at-bat,” he said. “We don’t always get the hit, but we’re grinding through it, and there’s a certain amount of pride that (comes with that) and that’s something that gets talked about in our hitter meetings … It’s really sunk in with our guys and it’s fun to watch play out every night.”

Listen to the full Scott Servais Show at this link or in the player below.

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