Mariners’ Luke Raley says he got ‘perfect pitch’ for gutsy bunt

Jun 11, 2024, 10:34 AM | Updated: 10:53 am

The Seattle Mariners’ 8-4 comeback win Monday night over the White Sox is one fans should remember for a long time. And when they look back, they may recall a gutsy bunt as much as Cal Raleigh’s grand slam that walked off Chicago in the bottom of the ninth inning and sent everybody home happy.

Rick Rizzs’ radio call of Cal Raleigh’s walk-off grand salami is an instant classic

Raleigh may have never gotten the chance to end Monday’s game in such dramatic fashion if not for what Luke Raley did an inning before.

With runners on the corners and two outs, Raley dropped down a perfectly-placed bunt toward White Sox third baseman Lenyn Sosa, who could do nothing but hold onto the ball after fielding it, watching Raley reach first base and Josh Rojas score to make it a 4-4 ballgame.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Raley’s bunt was the pitch he executed it on. It was a 99 mph fastball on a 1-1 count from White Sox closer Michael Kopech, and the pitch might have nailed Raley in the shoulder had he not been able to get the bat on it.

Seems like a pretty tough pitch to bunt, right? Well, prepare to be surprised by what Raley said on the field just moments after the win on the Seattle Sports radio broadcast’s walk-off interview.

“He actually threw me a perfect pitch to bunt,” Raley told Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.

OK, so how does that work?

“It was in off the plate and up – it gives me a ton of room to get it down and and get it where I want it,” Raley continued. “So it’s tough, but it’s one of those things like you just got to be patient, get the bunt down and run as hard as you can.”

Raley explained why he decided to try a bunt after the count got to 1-1.

“The first two pitches, the third baseman was in and the lane wasn’t there. After the second pitch, he backed up and I decided to just take my shot.”

‘Bunt’ Raley

Belying his 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame, the sneaky fast Raley has had no problem reaching base via the bunt this season. According to Mariners Radio Network broadcaster Gary Hill Jr., Monday’s RBI single by Raley leaves him just four shy of the nine bunt hits by Shawn O’Malley in 2016, which is the most in the Statcast era by a Mariners hitter.

The Mariners PR department shared a couple other notable stats related to Raley’s bunt. It was the first game-tying or go-ahead RBI bunt hit by a Seattle player since July 30, 2002, when Mark McLemore dropped one down in the 10th inning to walk off the Detroit Tigers with a bases-loaded RBI single. And when it comes to this season, Raley is tied with Washington’s Jacob Young for the MLB lead with five bunt hits.

Raley and the American League West-leading Mariners (38-30) continue their four-game series against White Sox at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, with radio coverage on Seattle Sports beginning at 5:30 with the pregame show. Click here for details on how to stream Mariners Radio Network broadcasts from Seattle Sports.

Hear Shannon Drayer’s full walk-off interview with Mariners outfielder Luke Raley at this link, or in either the video or audio player near the top of this post.

More on the Seattle Mariners

Watch the biggest plays from Mariners’ chaotic walk-off win over Chicago
M’s roster moves: Dylan Moore to paternity list, rookie returns
Mariners Insider: The transition for rookie Ryan Bliss to big leagues
How first-place Mariners are showing ‘level of urgency’
Why the Seattle Mariners ‘have to nail’ trade deadline deals

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