Seattle Mariners Mash, Bullpen Shines in 6-5 victory
By Tyler Wicke
Dingers, dingers, and more dingers. If it weren’t for Wednesday’s 1-0 loss that ended the Mariners home-run streak to begin the season at 20 games, the team would continue to chase history beyond Saturday’s win.
In the two games that followed the conclusion of the streak, the Mariners hit 7 home runs. Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Angels was no different, as Seattle mashed another four.
The blasts tied the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals for the most home runs in the first 24 games of a season in MLB history. Though all were solo shots, the home runs accounted for two-thirds of the offense, as four of the Mariners six runs were via the long ball.
Aside from the historical power surge, the Mariners piled on runs in yet another ballgame, adding to their American League lead in runs scored.
Dee Gordon wrote his own chapter in history, earning his 1,000th career hit. The single that raced down the third base line plated two and extended Seattle’s lead to three.
The Angels would chip away at the lead Seattle built for starter Yusei Kikuchi, but the Mariners offense answered with solo blasts by Edwin Encarnacion and Domingo Santana in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively. The bullpen would retain the lead, with new-addition Connor Sadzeck throwing 1.2 scoreless, and Zac Rosscup striking out Peter Bourjos in a pivotal bases-loaded situation in the seventh.
Cory Gearrin added a scoreless eighth inning that included an important double play that cleared the bases prior to Mike Trout’s at-bat. Despite command issues early in the season, including an appearance that began with 10 consecutive balls, Gearrin’s shutout inning Saturday now makes six consecutive appearances without an earned run.
Despite making five starts prior to Saturday, all of which have featured just four earned runs or less, Yusei Kikuchi had yet to earn his first Major League win. Though allowing ten hits and four runs, Kikuchi threw five frames before the bullpen would help to secure his first career win, improving his record to 1-1.
The closer-by-committee method for manager Scott Servais worked once again in the win, as Anthony Swarzak earned the save (Roenis Elias had closed Seattle’s previous two contests).
Seattle clinched the four-game set in Anaheim, extending their road record to 11-1 and reclaiming sole possession of the American League West lead. The Mariners aim to sweep the Halos with a win Sunday when Mike Leake will take the bump in the 1:07 PDT start.