Virtual Season: 2-run 12th gives M's win over Rangers

This post chronicles a virtual 2020 season played on the computer game Out of the Park Baseball 21. See the virtual opening day post for details on the setup. We’ll be updating this “season” as our coronavirus-enforced life without real baseball continues. See this page for the alternate-universe MLB news and stats.

Score ticker

It took 12 innings, but the Mariners came through to beat the Texas Rangers tonight, 5-3 in Arlington. Tim Lopes drove in Mallex Smith with the go-ahead run to break a 3-3 tie and Evan White added an insurance tally with  sacrifice fly.

Carl Edwards pitched the final two innings tonight for his first win. Edwards has yet to be scored upon this season.

 It hadn't started well for Seattle. Starter Justus Sheffield did not have his good stuff and was fortunate to escape the 1st inning down only one run. After the M's took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st, with White doubling in J.P. Crawford, it took all of three pitches for the Rangers to tie it up. Elvis Andrus led off with a double and Danny Santana immediately followed with a triple to deepest center field. Robinson Chirinos was then hit by a pitch and Sheffield overthrew wildly on his first pitch to Joey Gallo for a run-scoring wild pitch. Gallo would draw a walk, and just like that there was action in the Mariner bullpen before an out had been recorded. Sheffield would get Nick Solak on a flyout, though, and Todd Frazier obliged by hitting into a 6-4-3 double-play to end the inning and staunch the bleeding. 

 Texas would threaten in the 2nd and again in the 3rd, but Sheffield gritted his way through and would eventually pitch into the 7th inning.

Meanwhile, the Mariners put two runs on the board in the 4th to take a 3-2 lead; after Daniel Vogelbach's base hit, Austin Nola walked and Jake Fraley lined a double down the left-field line to score Vogey. Patrick Wisdom, freshly called up from Tacoma, scored Nola with a sac fly.

The Rangers scored their third run to tie it again in the 7th on another wild pitch, this one from reliever Dan Altavilla. That's how things stood until the 12th. Mallex Smith led off with a bunt single off of reliever Brett Martin (0-2), then stole second and third base ahead of a double from Lopes. Dee Gordon would advance Lopes to third with a base hit, setting up the sacrifice fly from White.

"Honestly, I thought Sheff was going to flame out there in the first," said Seattle manager Not-Scott-Servais. "Thankfully, the guys turned that double play to settle things down. I wasn't sure how I was going to get nine innings out of my bullpen."

For his part, Sheffield credited his catcher, Nola, with keeping him focused. "Austin came out to the mound after I walked Gallo and said he was enjoying the workout I was giving him having to reach for everything," Sheffield said. "I don't know, it was just funny the way he said it. Broke the tension, I guess. I was getting pretty tight."

Nola, who is relatively new to being a catcher, said he enjoys that part of playing the position. "Not the chasing wild pitches, that sucks," he clarified. "But the psychology part, having to work with whatever your pitcher's got going on that day. Sheff was someplace else when the game started, I just tried to bring him back to earth."

 This was the fifth extra-inning game the M's have played already this season and the third that they've won. They also improved to 11-5 on the road.

The Mariners hope to keep their series win streak alive with a win tomorrow in the final game before departing Texas. Taijuan Walker (4-1) will start for Seattle against the Rangers' Lance Lynn (2-1).


Virtual standings

Notes from around the league

  • The Astros were dealt just their second loss at home tonight, when the A's beat them 10-4. The loss ends Houston's 8-game win streak.
  • The Dodgers scored ten runs in the final two innings tonight to complete an 11-5 comeback victory in Pittsburgh. LA is now 21-5 and a perfect 12-0 away from Dodger Stadium.

On the Farm/Prospect Watch

  • Logan Gilbert pitched 7 shutout innings for the Tacoma Rainiers in his Triple-A debut as the Rainiers beat Albuquerque 2-0.
  • Arkansas' L.J. Newsome did not fare as well; he was pounded by Tulsa tonight, giving up seven runs in just 423 innings. Tulsa won the game 7-5.
  • Julio Rodríguez was 2-for-4 for the Class-A Modesto Nuts in their 6-4 win over Stockton.