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Signs of Life

After dropping three of four to the underachieveing Blue Jays and two of three in frustrating fashion to the Rangers, the Mariners have somehow come back to take the first three of a four-game series in Houston against the first-place Astros. It's been a huge lift for the club and, frankly, for a fan base that was all but giving up on what has been a tremendous season until the past month or so.

Credit manager Scott Servais for trying something different and shaking up his lineup for the Houston series. The M's took to it immediately with a fantastic performance against Astros ace Justin Verlander, hitting for the cycle with the first four batters of the game—home run by Mitch Haniger, triple by Denard Span, double by Jean Segura, single by Nelson Cruz—and provoking Verlander into being ejected after just two innings. The follow-up in the second game was less forceful, but just as impressive—facing Garrit Cole, the M's fell behind 2-0 in the fifth inning, then came back right away with two to tie in the sixth and took advantage of some poor umpiring to extend the eigth inning and put three more runs on the board. Saturday's game was similar, coming back against a tough All-Star pitcher after being down 2-0 and riding good defense and, for a change, a well-run bullpen sequence to win it 3-2.

The Houston series has shown us the Mariners as we got used to them in May and June—tenacious, confident, solid-to-exceptional defensively, and able to rise to any occasion including an intimidating Astros starting rotation. There's still a ways to go to get back into playoff position, but these last few days have rekindled something thought forever lost to Seattle baseball fans: hope.

And, in case you missed it live, you can watch the entire 1970s-themed game from Friday night, complete with unflattering powder blue Seattle uniforms and surprisingly popular orange and yellow rocket-blast-rainbow Astro jerseys, right here thanks to YouTube (at least until the copyright police take it down).

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