TOP OF THE TOWN – The stunning rise of the Seattle Mariners from the ashes of seasons of mediocrity ahead of schedule of a rebuild that has been going on forever it seems continues to be, well, stunning. The Mariners and their new closer, Diego Castillo, obtained in trade from Tampa Bay collapsed stunningly Thursday in Texas, giving up a five-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Rangers to get into extra innings. The Mariners were saved when Ty France belted his 13h home run, a two-run shot in the 11th inning and despite giving up a run in the bottom of the inning escaped with a 9-8 victory to collect a 3-game sweep of the dismal Rangers and move to a season-high 10 games over .500 (66-56). France has made us forget Evan White, perhaps the best defensive first baseman in the game who has been on the injured list since May 10 with a strained left hip flexor. Evans is a good defense-no hit player while France has been, like the team he is playing on, a pleasant surprise defensively at first base and a solid hitter. Not many players picked in the 34th round of the MLB draft make the big leagues. But that is where France was picked in 2015 by San Diego. He is a 5-11, 215-pound 27-year-old who has found a good baseball home and is part of a team that is shocking the baseball world. He is no fluke. In 2019 playing with AAA El Pasco in the San Diego organization he hit .399, belted 27 home runs and drove in 89 in 76 games. Although the bullpen was a disaster Thursday against the Rangers, it’s been the bullpen that has saved the Mariners this season. That and a pitching rotation that is now great, but better than expected. Their offense usually sucks, but they have been getting away with it being below average and now they are fighting for a wild card berth with a bunch of teams. Even if they don’t make the playoffs, and they haven’t since 2001 when they tied a baseball record with 116 victories, they will have captured the hearts of many of us with their surprisingly run (eight wins out of the last 10 games). Hold your breath, though, because they now play three games at Houston, and the Astros besides being the bad boys of baseball for their alleged cheating (sign stealing in the 2017 season) are the top offensive club in baseball. They hit the ball. They hit the ball hard. And the Astros beat the Mariners like a trash can in Houston (19 wins and just two losses since the 2019 season). Then the Mariners play two games at Oakland, one of the teams they are chasing for a wild card berth. They are three games behind Oakland in the American League West. Okay, that is enough. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.e iH