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The Angels get beat 11-8 in Seattle, but Juan Graterol’s debut was the true victory

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Angels 8 Mariners 11

The Angels only have two winning road trips this season, and one of those included games back in Dodger Stadium, so it was only kinda-sorta a road trip. So it’s quite alright for an Angels fan to be wary of traveling, even in light of their recent 4-2 dominance in Toronto and Detroit.

Tonight, they kick off another little roadie with a Labor Day weekend series in Seattle, a team that currently sits in 3rd place in the AL West; Jerry Dipoto’s boys, the same team that split a series with our Halos, in Anaheim in mid-August. That series started off with a Mariners win, and this one followed suit, as they whooped up on their Safeco guests 11-4.

Things started off really, really well, though; when the top of the first was done, I would’ve put down big bucks that they Angels were en route to their sixth win in a row. I mean, we saw Mike Trout go opposite field and knock a 3-run homer over the right-center wall, and then a Jefry Marte laser beam solo shot into the left field bleachers.

4-0 after the Angels first time up? Sweet! Sign me up! That’s a win-WAIT WHAT?!?!?!

The Mariners got to Angels starter Brett Oberholtzer right away, getting a run in the bottom of the first via Guillermo Heredia double. The Halos were still up 4-1, though, so it’s all-WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?!?!?!

The bottom of the second came along, and it was an exercise in how to crush a team’s will; it was a bloodbath, one like the team hadn’t seen in eight years or so. Nine runs would cross the plate in the second for the Mariners. Nine runs. No extra base hits, either, just a bunch of singles, an RBI walk, and a groundout. But all of those plays scored runs. Nine of them, in face.

It was the first time the team had given up 9 runs in one inning, on the road, since September 19, 2008. That game was against the Rangers, and the Halos actually ended up winning 15-13, so there’s that.

The Angels didn’t just go down quietly, though. They were fighters to the end. It got kind of close to something like that 15-13 score, though, in the top of the ninth. The Angels tacked on a couple late runs, from a Jefry Marte GIDP and an RBI double from Juan Graterol, who was making his MLB debut after spending 11 years in the minor leagues. More on that later.

They even got the bases loaded at one point, down 11-6 and still two outs on the board, and Kole Calhoun got himself a good fastball that he singled into right field, making it 11-8 Mariners. Mike Trout was up, and this was the point where Scott Servais woke up, realized he was staring down an epic comeback, and put in Edwin Diaz, who fought with Trout for a bit but ultimately got him to pop up for the final out of the game.

A valiant effort, and a harsh loss. The silver lining, though, lies in Juan Graterol and his RBI double. 11 years in the minors, team after team after team, never getting that shot in the bigs. Until tonight, 11 years into his baseball journey and he gets some garbage time in Seattle.

But one man’s trash is another man’s Best Night Ever, and his blink-and-you-miss-it debut wasn’t just some lay down affair; it was a fight to comeback, and Graterol was right there in the thick of it. He helped the big league club, after all these years. He drove in a run for his team, with a double no less.

That was uplifting and fun, his teammates jumping up and down in the dugout, and all of a sudden, the loss was nothing. We saw a guy get to live his dream in real time. Worth it.