Anatomy of a 1% Comeback: Top Five Moments of Mariners' Historic Win in Toronto


TORONTO — When the Blue Jays' Danny Jansen hit a soft double to right field to score another run in the bottom of the fifth inning, Toronto's chances of winning Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series jumped to 99%.

Game over, right?

At that point Saturday night, the Mariners were trailing 8-1, and even Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners' president of baseball operations, admitted that he had started thinking ahead to a do-or-die Game 3 on Sunday. Surely, he wasn't the only one.

A comeback appeared impossible, right?

Not for this Mariners team in this transcendent season.

These Mariners have made a habit out of flipping extreme odds on their heads.

They did in a thrilling game back on May 15 in New York, when they had just a 28.7% chance — as measured by Statcast's Win Probability — to come back against the Mets. The Mariners rallied to win 8-7 when Diego Castillo struck out Pete Alonso with the bases loaded for the final out.

They did it at home against the Red Sox on June 11, with just a 10.8% chance in the bottom of the ninth, before Dylan Moore's walkoff single scored Sam Haggerty.

They did it in Houston — notable, indeed — on July 30, with an 11% chance in the eighth inning, before Abraham Toro's go-ahead, two-run single in the ninth off Astros closer Ryan Pressly.

And in their most thrilling game of the regular season, they did it against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 11, with a 10.8% chance in the bottom of the ninth before Julio Rodriguez and Eugenio Suarez each homered off Kenley Jansen.

And, yes, they were on the other side of the odds-on misery in Kansas City when they coughed up a nine-run lead and lost 13-12 on Sept. 25.

These Mariners have been through some extremes, to be sure.

But nothing — nothing — quite compares to what happened Saturday night at the Rogers Centre, when the Mariners made history with a 10-9 victory in the greatest comeback by a road team in MLB postseason history.

Here's a look at the Mariners' five most valuable moments from Game 2, as measured by Win Probability Added:

No. 5: Kirby's K

The setup: Mariners 10, Blue Jays 9; bottom of the ninth, one out, runner at first base

The play: George Kirby strikes out Jansen looking at an 88 mph slider for the second out

Win Probability Added: 11%

Kirby, a rookie starter, made his first professional relief appearance and earned the save that clinched the series sweep and sent the Mariners to Houston for the AL Division Series, starting Tuesday. The strikeout (on a pitch off the outside corner of the plate) bumped the Mariners' odds of winning from 79.4% to 90.4%, making it the fifth-most valuable result of the game for Seattle.

"I was ready for any moment," Kirby said. "... We've got so much fight in our guys. It was awesome to see. We didn't quit at all."

No. 4: Frazier's first

The setup: Blue Jays 9, Mariners 6; top of the eighth, no outs, runners on first and second

The play: Adam Frazier hits a line-drive single to left field off Jordan Romano

Win Probability Added: 11.5%

The Blue Jays called on Romano, their All-Star closer, to attempt a six-out save, after Anthony Bass had given up three straight hits to start the eighth — a Eugenio Suarez double, a Cal Raleigh RBI single and a Mitch Haniger single. Frazier, the Mariners' second baseman, laced a 96 mph fastball up and out of the zone the other way for his second hit of the night, loading the bases.

The Mariners' Win Probability was 17.9% before Frazier's hit.

Frazier would have one more hit in him.

No. 3: Ice Man

The setup: Mariners 9, Blue Jays 9; top of the ninth, one out, bases empty

The play: Raleigh doubles off Romano into the right-center gap

Win Probability Added: 12.0%

The Big Dumper had come through in so many big moments already, and he did it again here, taking advantage of a 96 mph fastball that Romano left over the middle of the plate and lacing it into the gap for a double. The play gave the Mariners a 56.2% chance to win — the first time it had been in their favor since the top of the first inning.

"Cal's got ice in his veins," M's first baseman Ty France said. "Especially for how young he is. This is basically his rookie year. And for him to be able to handle this stage the way that he has says a lot. I'm very proud of him and excited for how far he's come."

No. 2: The Double, Part Deux

The setup: Mariners 9, Blue Jays 9; top of the ninth, two outs, Raleigh at second

The play: Frazier doubled to right field to score the go-ahead run

Win Probability Added: 36.3%

After struggling at the plate for much of the season, Frazier was bumped up to the No. 6 spot in the lineup Saturday, thanks to a hunch from manager Scott Servais. Frazier came through with the biggest hit of his career — and one of the biggest in franchise history, 27 years to the day after Edgar Martinez's double against the Yankees. Frazier rocketed a first-pitch slider from Romano down the right-field corner, 99 mph off the bat, scoring Raleigh easily to give the Mariners a 10-9 lead. The hit added a whopping 36.3% to the Mariners' Win Probability, making it (just barely) the second-most valuable play of the day.

No. 1: Crawford's little dumper

The setup: Blue Jays 9, Mariners 6; top of the eighth, bases loaded, two outs

The play: Crawford hits a bloop double to score three runs and tie the score

Win Probability Added: 36.9%

Crawford said he was praying to the baseball gods, and his prayers were answered when his blooper to shallow center field fell in. As Blue Jays center fielder George Springer and shortstop Bo Bichette collided, the ball bounced away and Frazier hustled all the way from first to score the tying run.

"If we can win this game," Crawford said, "we can win any game."