Mariners Game Recap: Prince Tai Shuts Down Tribe, M’s Win 2-1

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The Seattle Mariners (24-24) evened the series with the Cleveland Indians (22-26) on Friday night, winning 2-1 in front of 32,545 crazed fans. Tonight’s win means that the Mariners are once again at the .500 mark on the season. Taijuan Walker (2-5, 6.18 ERA) gave the big crowd plenty to cheer about as he dominated the Tribe en route to the victory. Trevor Bauer (4-2, 2.97 ERA) pitched well, but the Indians’ offense had no answer to Prince Tai. Fernando Rodney was shaky at best, but managed to record his 14th save of the season.

Despite the win tonight, the M’s remain in 3rd place in the American League West. Seattle is slowing inching closer to the division leading Houston Astros, now just 5.5 games back.

Prince Tai was dealing this evening, and it was fun to watch. For the first time since spring training ended, Taijaun Walker did not shy away on the mound tonight. Walker scatted 2 hits across 8 shutout innings. He used his 97 mph fastball with authority, and tied a career high with 8 punch outs. Tai has struggled with his command all season, but he did not issue any walks in tonight’s sparkling showing. It was a truly impressive performance for the 22-year-old right-hander, and hopefully he can build on it going forward.

Fernando Rodney decided to provide the fireworks for tonight’s special Safeco Field fireworks extravaganza. Rodney entered tonight’s game with a 2-run lead, and as always, he needed that extra run. The archery enthusiast managed to retire the 8 and 9 hitters easily enough, but then the wheels fell off. Rodney walked Jason Kipnis on 5 pitches, and proceeded to fall behind Ryan Rayburn 3-1. Rayburn made Seattle pay, slicing an RBI triple that was just out of the reach of Nelson Cruz in right field. Thankfully, Michael Brantley hit a weak fly ball to Cruz to end the ball game. It is hard to call tonight’s resultt a “save,” but that is how they score it.

Trevor Bauer was nearly as effective as Prince Tai, but a 2-run home run proved costly for the UCLA alum. Bauer allowed 2 runs on 6 hits across 7 innings tonight while striking out 10 and walking 3. Bauer is putting together an impressive season, and judging from tonight’s performance, the 24-year-old right-hander has a bright future in Cleveland. Ryan Webb, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Shaw all recorded 1 out in relief of Bauer for the Tribe.

It was a relatively quiet night for the Mariners’ bats on Friday. Seth Smith gets the most credit as his 2-run dinger in the 6th proved to be the M’s only runs. Smitty has now hit 5 home runs and driven in 13 runs in his debut season in the Emerald City. Nelson Cruz was the lone Mariner to record a multi-hit game. Cruz went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Logan Morrison had a nice night at plate, going 1 for 2 with 2 walks. LoMo showed great patience tonight, and hopefully he is about to start another one of his hot streaks.

Ryan Rayburn only had 1 at bat, but he is the standout tonight for Cleveland. The veteran utility man stroked an RBI triple in the 9th to cut the M’s lead in half. Jason Kipnis is the 2nd leading hitter in the American League, and he finished 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk tonight. Nick Swisher was the only other Indian to contribute a hit tonight. The charismatic designated hitter came through with a single in the 5th inning.

Dustin Ackley may be having a rough go of it at the plate this year, but it is not affecting his defense. Ackley made yet another superb play in left field tonight. The Ack-Attack sprinted back to his right and made a great lunging catch before sliding into the wall. The bearded beauty made a similar catch when he was filling in for Austin Jackson in center field last week. I was lucky enough to be in attendance last season when Ackley robbed Travis d’Arnaud of a home run on July 21 in a game with the New York Mets. Despite not looking much like an athlete, the 27-year-old has developed into one of the M’s best outfielders.

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The Seattle Mariners (24-24) will look to break the .500 threshold on Saturday night against the Cleveland Indians (22-26) for the first time since opening day. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm from the corner of Edgar & Dave. Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.56 ERA) has been brilliant for Seattle this season, and he will look to keep it going tomorrow night. Veteran righty Shaun Marcum (1-0, 6.28 ERA) will be on the bump for the Tribe on Saturday. Root Sports Northwest will broadcast the game locally, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch on connected devices.

Next: Mariners News: LHP James Paxton Lands on 15-Day DL

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