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Mariners and Orioles in wild-card race thanks to insane win streaks

The Yankees and the Astros are the class of the American League, but they aren’t the two hottest teams in baseball.

That distinction belongs to two other AL teams

The Seattle Mariners — who rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the host Rangers 6-5 on Thursday night — have now won 11 in a row and have surged to a 48-43 record. They would be one of the wild cards if the season ended today.

The Baltimore Orioles may be an even bigger surprise. The O’s, who were off on Thursday, have won 10 consecutive games and have moved over .500 with a 45-44 record, just 1 ¹/₂ games out of a wild-card spot. The Rays (49-40), Blue Jays (47-43), Red Sox (47-43) and Indians (44-44) are the other teams battling for the three wild-card spots in the AL.

The Orioles’ run also has caught the attention of their long-suffering fan base, who let their voices be heard during Baltimore’s 7-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night.

Orioles' Spenser Watkins and Mariners' Sam Haggerty
Orioles’ Spenser Watkins and Mariners’ Sam Haggerty

After the win, the Orioles heard chants of “Let’s Go O’s!” at Wrigley Field, where they were playing their first series since 2014.

“We feel every bit of Birdland, especially here,” said starter Spenser Watkins, who picked up his third victory of the season in the win. “You have ‘O’ chants going on in Wrigley Field. That’s pretty cool.”

The 10-game winning streak is the Orioles’ longest in a single season since they won 13 in a row from Sept. 7-22, 1999. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the only team with a longer current drought without a double-digit win streak in a season are the Miami Marlins, which have never had one.

As for Seattle, its 11-game win streak is the second-longest in club history behind the 2001 Mariners, who won 15 straight. That team was the franchise’s most recent playoff team. The run is also the second-longest streak in the majors this season, behind the Atlanta Braves’ 14-game win streak.

Sam Haggerty, who had an inside-the-park homer and three hits in the Mariners’ win on Thursday night, said they expect to win now.

“You just feel like you can win every game at some point, and we’re kind of on one of those stretches,” said Haggerty, who is hitting .327. “I don’t believe anybody in the dugout felt for a moment that we didn’t have a chance to come back.”

The Orioles and Mariners will look to continue their winning ways heading into the All-Star break.

The Orioles, who have been carried by a red-hot pitching staff, begin a three-game series on the road against the Rays on Friday while the visiting Mariners face the Rangers in the second game of their four-game set.

— with AP

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