ARLINGTON -- How crazy was Thursday's 16-13 victory by the Mariners, as they became just the seventh team in Major League history to overcome a deficit of 10-plus runs on the road and pull out a victory?
At one point in the fifth inning, with his team trailing 12-2, manager Scott Servais had utility infielder Shawn O'Malley throwing in the cage behind the Mariners' dugout in case he decided to use a position player to pitch in order to save his bullpen for the upcoming three-game series in Texas.
Two innings later, O'Malley found himself in the game … but at the plate instead, driving in the go-ahead run with a single in the middle of Seattle's unprecedented string of seven RBI singles with two outs in a nine-run seventh.
The oddity was not lost on O'Malley, who like most everyone acknowledged he'd never been involved in a game quite like that one.
"I was in the cage getting loose and you could hear their [TV] announcer pretty much calling it their win already, which was understandable," O'Malley said. "But I was sitting there thinking, 'Man, what if we come back and actually beat these guys?' And next thing I know, I'm up to bat in the seventh inning with the go-ahead run on third. Full circle. It was pretty neat."
O'Malley noted that the other thing overlooked in that stunning seventh was that he actually led off the frame by striking out before getting his chance for redemption when his teammates began grinding out at-bats. And he said another strikeout that frame, an 11-pitch battle by Nelson Cruz against Ryan Buchter, helped build the momentum on the bench.
"He didn't get a hit, but the long, long at-bat he had was incredible and guys were jumping up and down, every swing we thought it was leaving the yard," O'Malley said of the bases-loaded duel. "I think that really fueled us. It's kind of funny because it didn't end up as a hit, but it was just an incredible at-bat."
Servais said the irony is that Cruz was the one hitter who didn't follow the team's preferred approach of just getting on base and keeping the lineup moving, which is what played out to perfection when the next seven hitters -- Kyle Seager, Dae-Ho Lee, Chris Iannetta, Stefen Romero, O'Malley, Norichika Aoki and Franklin Gutierrez -- all singled in runs.
"Talking to him on the plane, Nellie was probably the one guy in that whole inning that got away from the plan," Servais said. "He wanted to hit the grand slam to get it going. Just looking at it, he wanted to be the hero and it didn't work out for him, and all the other guys just kind of did their thing and we all ended up being happy at the end of it. Obviously I had no problem with the way Nellie was swinging. I was thinking the same thing he was, but it's just how it worked out."
Just another interesting side note to a game with a number of unprecedented twists.
"It's baseball," O'Malley said. "It's crazy. Weird things happen."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.