Seattle Mariners Tied Playoff After Beating Oakland A;s

SEATTLE – 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 edge of the field to acknowledge the tens of thousands of fans who were still there.

The celebration was more like winning something big in October than winning on the last day of September. But after 21 years, the Seattle Mariners could be excused for going a little over the top on their return to the playoffs.

“It’s better than what you could dream of,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais.

Raleigh hit a game-winning homerun with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the Mariners secured a wildcard spot in the American League with a 2-1 win over the A’s on Friday-evening.

Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, hit a 3-2 pitch by Domingo Acevedo (3-4) just inside the foul-post in rightfield for a solo homerun that sent the Mariners into the postseason for the first time since 2001.

“I remember the moment when I knew it was fair and looking at the team and everyone jumping. It was just crazy,” Raleigh said.

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

That was just the beginning.

Nearly an hour later, and with the stands still mostly full, Servais and his team were back on the field after a wild clubhouse party. He grabbed the microphone and colorfully reminded the crowd that when he arrived seven years ago with president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, the mission was to end the “drought.”

“We did it. These players behind me are special. They care. They care about winning the right way. They care about representing the city of Seattle,” Servais told the crowd.

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

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