Eight straight

Well, that was unexpected.

You can apply that sentence to any number of things related to Your Seattle Mariners' Sunday afternoon win against the Toronto Blue Jays, or the four-game sweep of the Jays, or the season-high eight-game winning streak, or the entirety of the 16-3 stretch the Mariners have accomplished since the horrible-no-good-very-bad-homestand that ended June 19th.

The Streak

 Date  Opponent Score 
 7/2/22  Oakland 2-1
 7/3/22  Oakland 2-1
 7/4/22  @ San Diego 8-2
 7/5/22  @ San Diego 6-2
 7/7/22  Toronto 8-3
 7/8/22  Toronto 5-2
 7/9/22  Toronto 2-1
 7/10/22  Toronto 6-5

It seemed the baseball gods were running interference for the M's on Sunday. Despite the Jays' emergence from their own lengthy funk—they scored more runs on Sunday than they had in any of the prior six games of their road trip—weirdness abounded, including two critical Toronto errors: a throw to first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that broke through the webbing of Guerrero's mitt, and an easy popup not 25 feet from home plate that catcher Gabriel Moreno lost in the sun. Those two plays resulted in three unearned runs, making all the difference in the final 6-5 tally. Further, whenever the Blue Jays would take the lead—as they did in the first, fourth, and seventh—the M's responded with Carlos Santana, who has only been with the team for 13 days.

The Mariners' recent addition came up to lead off the home second and lined one deep into the right-field stands to counter George Springer's leadoff bomb for the Jays. Santana scored the tying run again in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Cal Raleigh. And for the coup de grâce, following Moreno's error in the eighth, Santana belted another home run down the right-field line to give the M's their final runs of the game.

"Everything is great," Santana said, and his teammates are happy he's now part of the crew. “[Carlos] is part of the family now,” opined Ty France, the man whose injury prompted the M's to trade for Santana in the first place. "We're happy to have him and we've been rolling [since he arrived]."

A sweep of the Blue Jays wasn't in anyone's forecast. Though they've been slumping—the Jays have now lost nine of their last ten and 17 of their last 26—the Toronto lineup is stacked with talent, and with Seattle's season-long struggle to score runs when it counts most people would have been happy with a 2-2 split of the four-game series. Getting the sweep adds a whole extra level of swagger, confidence, and clout to a Mariner club that some might have written off just a few weeks ago.

After the June 19th loss to the Angels—the second consecutive game in which the M's scored precisely zero runs—Seattle sat in fourth place in the AL West standings, 10 games under the .500 mark with a run differential of -19. The club looked abysmal. They'd been shut out four times in the space of a week, were blowing countless opportunities to advance runners, and were showcasing a strategic clinic in anti-fundamentals. Fans were once again calling for the heads of manager Scott Servais and GM Jerry Dipoto.

But the players held a team meeting before heading out on a California road trip, and whatever was said apparently lit a fire under everyone. The M's proceeded to win consecutive series in Oakland and Anaheim, came home to win two more against the surging Orioles and then the A's again, went to San Diego for a quickie two-game trip and swept those, and finally came home for this sweep of Toronto. The Mariners leapfrogged both the Angels and Rangers in the division standings and six clubs in the Wild Card chase, and right now, believe it or not, Seattle is three games over .500, in second place behind Houston, and is tied with Toronto for what would be the third Wild Card berth.

Hell of a ride.

There are still six games to go until the All-Star break, against poor teams (Washington and Texas). Let's see how far these guys can take this ride. Nine straight? Ten? Fifteen? 

No one is expecting fifteen. But then, no one expected any of this.

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