Cal Raleigh’s walk-off home run ends Seattle Mariners’ 21-year playoff drought - The Guardian

Cal Raleigh’s walk-off home run ends Seattle Mariners’ 21-year playoff drought - The Guardian

Oct 01, 2022 1 min, 36 secs

More than an hour after Cal Raleigh ended the longest playoff drought in baseball, he was back on the field with his teammates, circling the perimeter of the field to acknowledge the tens of thousands of fans who still stuck around.

But after 21 years, the Seattle Mariners could be excused for going a little over the top upon their return to the playoffs.

Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, hit a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo (3-4) just inside the right-field foul pole for a solo homer that sent the Mariners to the postseason for the first time since 2001.

Seattle’s celebration on the field lasted more than 10 minutes as fans and players lifted themselves from the burden of two decades without seeing playoffs from their baseball team.

It indeed had been a long wait – the last time the Mariners advanced to the postseason, the team was led by rookie Ichiro Suzuki and Edgar Martinez and managed by Lou Piniella.

As has been the case for most of this season with the Mariners, their 86th win and the one that sent them back to the playoffs happened in the most stressful way possible.

Acevedo struck out Mitch Haniger and Carlos Santana to open the ninth, but Raleigh came through with his 26th home run of the season, the most ever by a Seattle catcher.

Aside from the clinching a spot in the postseason, Seattle stayed one and a half games behind Toronto for the top wild-card spot and one half-game ahead of Tampa Bay as the three continue to jockey for seeding.

The last time the Mariners reached the postseason they tied a major league record by winning 116 games in the regular season, but lost to the Yankees 3-1 in the AL Championship Series.

I mean, I haven’t been in Seattle but a few years but I feel like I’m one of the fans that have waited for 21 years,” Gilbert said

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