Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels suffered a critical 5-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night, but for a while it looked like two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani would be the story. 

Ohtani was the starting pitcher for the Angels, but he was forced to exit his start after four scoreless innings because of hand cramps. Ohtani was able to remain in the game as DH, and in the eighth he pushed the Halos' lead to 3-1 with his MLB-leading 40th home run of the season: 

That one left the bat at 106.7 mph and traveled 390 feet. That blast secures Ohtani's second 40-homer season of his career, and that occasions the latest round of history made by the pending free agent: 

At the plate on the night, Ohtani went 2 for 2 with a pair of walks, which pushed his 2023 OPS to an MLB-leading 1.098. 

Unfortunately for the Angels and fortunately for the Mariners, the story does not end there. In the top of the ninth, the M's were able to load the bases with one out against Carlos Estévez. That brought 26-year-old rookie Cade Marlowe to the plate with his team down by two runs: 

Yes, that's a ninth-inning grand slam that turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead. That's the first time a Seattle hitter has launched a grand slam in the ninth to turn a deficit into a lead since 2005: 

As for Marlowe, he's now slashing .333/.429/.667 through the first 12 games of his big-league career, and the magma-hot start to his career has played a central role in the Mariners' recent improved fortunes. As for the Angels, their story remains the same all too often -- the remainder undermines Ohtani's brilliance. 

After Tuesday night's pivotal outcome, the Mariners, despite a soft-sell approach at the trade deadline, find themselves at 57-52 and just 2 1/2 games out of the third and final wild-card spot in the AL. Three AL East teams -- the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees -- are ahead of them in the queue. The Angels are now 56-54 and four games out of that final spot. They famously haven't made the postseason since 2014.