Grilli's Houdini act delays Mariners' celebration

Grilli's Houdini act delays Mariners' celebration

SEATTLE -- A packed Safeco Field was going nuts, and the Mariners were on the verge of keeping their postseason hopes alive through the final day of the regular season, but reliever Jason Grilli worked a Houdini act in the bottom of the ninth, forcing extras and delaying Seattle's celebration.

With the score tied at 1, the Mariners loaded the bases with none out on a single, a walk and a fielder's choice, which occurred when catcher Chris Iannetta's throw to third on a sac bunt was late. But Grilli recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Brad Miller and Chris Taylor with the infield in, then got Austin Jackson to fly out to escape the tough jam.

Against Miller, Grilli spotted a borderline, full-count slider just high enough for a caught-looking strikeout. Against Taylor he used three straight fastballs to record the punchout. He started Jackson with three straight balls, then ran the count full and induced a lineout to right field.

"That's huge," said manager Mike Scioscia, whose Angels eventually lost, 2-1, when Jackson beat out a potential inning-ending double play in the 11th. "Grilli did a great job getting out of that."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.