The Texas Rangers had a chance to clinch their first postseason berth since 2016 on Thursday. Instead, they suffered the biggest gut-punch loss of their season. The Seattle Mariners rallied in the ninth inning for a 3-2 walk-off win to stay alive in the AL wild-card race (SEA 3, TEX 2). Texas would have clinched a postseason spot had it held on for the win.
Solo homers by Leody Taveras and Adolis García gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the middle innings, then Julio Rodríguez cut it to 2-1 with a solo homer of his own. But things unraveled in the ninth for Texas. Rangers closer Aroldis Chapman went single, single, wild pitch, four-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs. Jonathan Hernandez replaced Chapman and J.P. Crawford delivered the walk-off blow.
To the action footage:
As bad as the loss was Thursday, the Rangers remain in first place in the AL West, and they will clinch a postseason berth with one win this weekend. They have three more chances to get that one win. To clinch the division title, they need one of three things to happen this weekend: two wins, two Astros losses, or one win and one Astros loss.
The Mariners, meanwhile, are now one game behind Houston for the third wild-card spot. There is the potential for a three-team tie atop the AL West if Seattle sweeps the Rangers this weekend and the Astros take two of three in their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. For now though, the Mariners are just one game back after being three outs away from very long odds.
Texas and Seattle continue this four-game series with the second game Friday night at T-Mobile Park. Neither team has officially announced their starting pitchers yet.