Gonzales, Andreoli Lead Mariners to 1-0 Win vs. A’s

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 23: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates in the dugout with teammates after Guillermo Heredia #5 scored against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the fourth inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 23: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates in the dugout with teammates after Guillermo Heredia #5 scored against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the fourth inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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The Mariners walked the tightrope the whole night. They probably should have lost. They didn’t.

Lost in all this injury news is a five-game winning streak for the Mariners. For better or worse, this has been their best stretch of success all season long.

Four of the five wins in the streak have been by one-run, including tonight. The injuries have caused the offense to struggle, yet the pitching staff has somehow put the team on its back.

This was exhibited in full tonight, as Marco Gonzales pitched his best performance in a Mariners uniform.

Gonzales was dominant throughout, only struggling in the fourth inning after walking back-to-back hitters. In the end, Gonzales was able to escape the jam with a pair of flyouts and a strikeout.

Perfection was needed from Gonzales tonight, and he gave the Mariners just that. The reason it was needed, however, was due to a lethargic offense.

The Mariners’ only run of the game was unearned. With the infield brought in and Guillermo Heredia on third, Kyle Seager shot a ball right at Marcus Siemian, but the Oakland shortstop bobbled it.

Some of the offense’s struggles were out of their control, however. In the third, Mike Zunino seemingly had an opposite-field home run that was snatched on a miraculous play by Stephen Piscotty.

Piscotty also robbed John Andreoli of his first career RBI later in the game on a would-be bloop single.

As for Andreoli, the 27-year-old rookie had quite the debut. He had solid contact in most of his at-bats, notching his first career hit and drawing a walk as well.

Andreoli’s offense wouldn’t be at the center of his debut highlight reel, though.

In the eighth, Juan Nicasio continued to look fairly shaky. Jonathan Lucroy led the inning off with a rocket into the right-center gap, and out of nowhere comes Andreoli to make an incredible diving grab.

With the way Nicasio has pitched as of late, Andreoli’s catch perhaps saved the entire game for the M’s.

That wouldn’t be the only fantastic defensive play to bail out Nicasio tonight. After allowing a single to Matt Joyce, who was pinch-ran for by Dustin Fowler, Zunino made an incredible play to not only save a wild pitch but also nab Fowler on an attempted steal.

Nicasio finished the eighth with a strikeout, but he still didn’t look that great whatsoever.

In the ninth, the Mariners’ offensive woes for the night were capped off in a fitting fashion. After loading the bases on Santiago Casilla, Daniel Vogelbach came in to pinch-hit for Gordon Beckham.

Casilla was having a hard time finding his command and the M’s appeared prime for a big inning. Instead, Vogelbach tapped a comebacker right to Casilla and the always-annoying 1-2-3 double played ensued.

But that’s okay because the Mariners have Edwin Diaz. The Puerto Rican closer coasted to his AL-leading 17th save on the year with three strikeouts and the Mariners won 1-0.

After his last two stellar outings, Marco Gonzales has lowered his ERA to 4.03. The Mariners are going to need him to continue on this path. It would be huge for this ballclub going into the Summer.

Tomorrow, the Mariners look to sweep the A’s in the early afternoon. Felix Hernandez (5-3, 5.53 ERA) will aim to capitalize on his solid outing last week versus Detroit. He’ll be facing Josh Lucas (0-0, 1.35 ERA), who hasn’t started a professional baseball game since 2013 in A-ball.

A’s manager Bob Melvin has stated that Lucas’ pitch count will be capped at around 50. Therefore, expect a big bullpen day from the A’s. HHopefully, he Mariners can bounce back offensively and take full advantage of the circumstances.

Fortunately, Mitch Haniger may also return after being hit by a pitch in last night’s 3-2 win in Oakland. The Mariners can ill-afford Haniger missing any significant time with the likes of Dee Gordon and Robinson Cano out.

Next: Behind Enemy Lines: 3 Days in Toronto

ROOT Sports will have the call at 12:35 PM PT tomorrow.

Go M’s.

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