Freezing Conditions No Match For Mariners Hot Bats
"On a frigid spring day in Minneapolis, the Mariners overcame record low temperatures to get the win and even the series vs the Minnesota Twins."
Officially 27 degrees at first pitch, it was the lowest temperature the Mariners had played in since 1988 and the lowest game time temperature in Target Field’s eight year history.
For both teams the bats started off as cold as the air around them. Twins starter Jose Berrios retired the first 10 batters he saw. Mariners starter Mike Leake, although not perfect, was dominant as well giving up just one hit in his first 5 IP.
Defensively however, the M’s started off hot. The bottom of the 1st saw Dee Gordon track down a deep fly ball off the bat of Twins leadoff hitter, Brian Dozier. Robinson Cano followed up with a nice sliding back hand play up the middle to get Joe Mauer. Then after a walk to Miguel Sano and a double off the glove of first baseman Ryon Healy, Mitch Haniger made a nice catch up against the right field wall to end the inning.
The defense continued with Kyle Seager flashing the leather in the top of the 3rd inning. A nice back-handed stab and throw across the diamond to get a hustling Dozier. Soon after that, the Mariners bats would start to warm up as well.
Jean Segura got the Mariners their first base runner with a 1-out, infield single in the top half of the 4th inning. On the play an errant throw by Twins third baseman Sano would move Segura into scoring position. After going 2-for-17 with RISP in Game 1 of the series played on Thursday, Cano immediately flipped the script. Cano lined an RBI single up the middle to put the M’s up 1-0. Two batters later, Kyle Seager lined a 2-run HR off of the right field “fair” pole to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead. It was Seager’s first home run of the 2018 season and hit No. 999 of his career.
After a solid 5 IP, Leake opened the bottom of the 6th giving up back-to-back doubles to Mauer and Sano. That was enough to be lifted from the game. Leake left with a 5-1 lead and a stat line of 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2R, 2ER, 4 BB, and 0 K. Another solid day for the Mariners No. 3 starter.
Manager Scott Servais went to left hander, Mike Rzepczynski. He gave up a run scoring single to Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario. Then, after striking out former Mariner Logan Morrison, Eduardo Escobar made it 5-3 with an RBI single. That was it for Rzepczynski who handed the ball to Dan Altavilla. Altavilla came in and stopped the bleeding, striking out pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman and getting Byron Buxton to fly out to center to end the 6th inning.
After a quiet top half of the 7th inning, Juan Nicasio pitched the Mariners out of a 1-out, bases loaded jam he inherited from Nick Vincent. A strike out of Eddie Rosario followed by a foul out by Morrison ended the inning and led us to an 8th inning that saw the Mariners bats heat up once again.
Cano led off the 8th with a walk. Haniger followed with a single and Seager followed that up with his 1,000 career hit, a single that loaded the bases.
After Taylor Motter struck out pinch-hitting for Daniel Vogelbach, Ryon Healy roped a 3-run double into the left-center field gap to extend the Mariners lead to 8-3. Guillermo Heredia, came up next and lined a 1-0 fastball off of the left field “fair” pole to extend the lead to 10-3.
"G’d Up! #TrueToTheBlue"
With a 7-run lead heading into the top of the 9th inning, Mariners second baseman Segura wasn’t done playing hard. Jean legged out a double and advanced on a throwing error to lead things off. Two batters later he scored on a wild pitch to finish the Mariners scoring and give them an 11-3 lead heading into the bottom half of the final frame.
James Pazos pitched the 9th, gave up one run on one hit and struck out two – the second coming on the final out of the game.
This was the type of game we could get accustomed to seeing as Mariners fans this season. The offense is built to score runs and can do so in bursts. Freezing conditions or not, there is pop up and down the lineup. Every starter except Vogelbach recorded a hit today and Vogey is only starting with Cruz on the DL. As our own Ty Gonzalez says, this offense is fun to watch.
Vincent and Rzepczynski both struggled out of the ‘pen and Pazos allowed a meaningless run in the 9th. Right now the bullpen looks to be the weak spot on this team and will need to be better. Hard to jump on them too much considering the cold conditions, but definitely something to keep an eye on.
Mike Leake improved to 2-0 by going out and doing Mike Leake things. The four walks were a bit out of the norm, but outside of those walks and three doubles today, Leake was dominant. Mr. Consistency out there pitching to contact and letting the defense work. Great start to his year!
Next: Kyle Seager is Good: A Mariners Fan's Yearly Reminder
Tomorrow the Mariners close out the 3-game series vs the Twins with the first pitch coming at 11:10 am PST. Marco Gonzales gets the ball in the rubber match and looks to earn his second win in as many starts.