‘Locked in’: Mariners’ magic number is 1 after walk-off

After first step is accomplished, Seattle will turn focus to securing home-field

SEATTLE — It’s all down to one.

With a 10-9 walk-off victory over the Rangers on Thursday night at T-Mobile Park, the Mariners are one win or one Orioles loss away from clinching their first postseason berth since 2001, meaning they could punch their ticket as soon as Friday.

J.P. Crawford ripped a single off the glove of Rangers third baseman Josh Jung, just after Dylan Moore had stolen third base on a would-be sacrifice bunt attempt that resulted in a called strike, putting the utility man in position to race home for the winning run.

Moore, who’d led off the 11th with a single up the middle, reached second after Luis Torrens scorched a pinch-hit, opposite-field single. The Mariners also tied it in the 10th after falling behind, when Eugenio Suárez ripped a single that advanced automatic runner Sam Haggerty to third base and Cal Raleigh brought him in with a sacrifice fly to extend the game.

Basically, the Mariners put it all together in those fateful sequences by executing their brand of baseball when at their best, in the words of manager Scott Servais “by not trying to do too much.”

“We will end the drought tomorrow,” Servais said. “We’re going to and it’s a beautiful thing, then it’s on to the next goal, and this team has got a lot of high goals.”

Magic number: 1 (postseason berth)
Standings update: 85-70 (second AL Wild Card spot)
Games remaining: 7

AL Wild Card: The Blue Jays lead the Mariners by 1.5 games for first berth; the Mariners lead the Rays by a half game for second berth; and the Rays lead the Orioles by 5.0 games for the third berth.

Seeding battle: Seattle owns tiebreaker over Toronto (5-2 in the season series); Tampa Bay owns the tiebreaker over Toronto (10-9) and Seattle (5-2)

“I’ve been waiting for four years for this,” Crawford said. I can’t wait.”

And Mitch Haniger: “I think we’re all pretty excited. We just need to go home and try to get a good night’s sleep, because I know it will probably be tough to fall asleep tonight. I’ve visualized and dreamed about this for a while.”

And Marco Gonzales: “I’ve been thinking about this moment. We’re on the cusp, but the job’s not finished.”

Moreover, the Mariners are inching closer to the possibility of guaranteeing that they host postseason games, which if the regular season ended today would not be the case. The Mariners moved past the Rays into the second AL Wild Card spot, but they still trail Toronto for the No. 4 seed, the only non-division winning team that will host all games during the best-of-three Wild Card Series. Under the current standings, Seattle would travel to Toronto for that round, with the winner advancing to play Houston.

“When you are playing at home, you can bring something to the fan base here,” Servais said. “It’s something that they’ve been very hungry for for a long, long time. So the focus is trying to host the Wild Card Series and playoff games here.”

The heroics from Crawford and Torrens came after Haniger mashed a pair of two-run homers, his first since Aug. 25, and Jarred Kelenic followed with a two-run opposite-field blast in the fourth and a solo shot to the pull side in the sixth that helped overcome a four-spot that Gonzales labored through in a shaky third inning.