SEATTLE — After the Seattle Mariners gave up five runs in the top of the ninth inning to trail by a run Sunday afternoon, it was a rookie who came into the dugout fired up and rallying his teammates.
Julio Rodriguez led by example as well, hitting his second home run of the game to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth. Eugenio Suarez then hit his second homer of the day as the Mariners finished of the rally for an 8-7 win over the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves trailed 6-2 going into the ninth, but Michael Harris II and Robbie Grossman hit two-out homers during a five-run comeback for the reigning World Series champions.
Down 7-6, the Mariners tied it with one out in the bottom of the ninth when Rodriguez homered off Kenley Jansen (5-2), his 25th shot of the season. With two outs, Suarez hit his 30th homer to win it.
"I feel we have the chance, the guys to compete against anybody," Rodriguez said. "That's why I was confident we were able to come through that last inning. I know what we've got on this team."
Rodriguez also led off the game with a homer for Seattle, giving the rookie his first multihomer game. His ninth-inning blast was clocked at 117.2 mph. According to Statcast, that's the hardest-hit ball by a Mariner this season.
"Everything Julio does is special," Suarez said.
Jansen is tied for the MLB lead with 33 saves, but he has three blown saves in his last seven appearances.
"Deep down it hurts because you feel like the offense definitely battled through it all the way to the end, and unfortunately the result wasn't what we wanted," Jansen said. "Stuff like that happens. You can call it unlucky, whatever, but I can't let this bother me. I've been through this situation so many times. It can look ugly right now, but I know who I am deep inside."
The Mariners took two of three from the Braves and moved into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the top American League wild-card spot.
"This is about as big of one as we've had all year. We've had some big ones," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "A number of come-from-behind wins, but not from the deep depths of the valley to the top of the mountain in that short a span. It's pretty awesome."
Atlanta fell to 1 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East Division after losing its second game in a row. The Braves had taken sole possession of first place Friday night after winning the series opener.
Harris led off the eighth with a home run that got Atlanta within 6-2.
In the ninth, Seattle reliever Diego Castillo walked the first two batters, then a groundout and a strikeout had the Braves facing their final out. Harris worked the count full before hitting a slider to right field for the 18th homer of his rookie season.
Paul Sewald (4-4) then relieved and gave up a single to pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario and Grossman's go-ahead homer.
"They're the defending champs for a reason," Sewald said. "They have a really deep lineup. I think they're going to do just fine in the postseason. But we recovered. That's why we have a chance of going and doing pretty well ourselves."
The Mariners took the early lead with a strong performance by starter Marco Gonzales, who didn't give up a hit until Austin Riley's 36th homer of the season in the fourth. Gonzales allowed two hits over six innings.
Braves starter Jake Odorizzi was chased in the fourth, his shortest outing since April 20, when he was with the Houston Astros and gave up six runs in 2/3 of an inning. Odorizzi allowed four runs on five hits against Seattle.
"Today, to come back in the ninth, it just speaks to the magic we've got going on here," Gonzales said. "That's a playoff game right there."
The Braves will wrap up their West Coast trip with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants that starts Monday.