PAXTON LEAVES WITH TRAINERS IN SEVENTH INNING
What happened: Edwin Diaz walked the bases loaded in the ninth inning and Mike Trout lashed a bases-clearing double and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 6-3 on Thursday at Safeco Field.
This came after Nelson Cruz tied it at three in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run homer run, completing a three-run inning.
Of greater concern was starter James Paxton leaving with an apparent injury in the seventh inning. Paxton faced Kole Calhoun and and winced on several pitches, stretching and shaking out his pitching arm, before trainers came out to examine him. Paxton left with a full count to Calhoun.
Casey Lawrence relieved and struck out Calhoun for the second out of the inning.
After the game the Mariners announced that Paxton left the game with a left pectoral strain.
- The Angels got a run on one swing in the second inning as C.J. Cron turned on a knuckle curve that did little of either and ended up in the bullpens for his eighth home run of the season. It was the first homer Paxton had allowed since June 27.
- With two down in the fourth, Cron walked, then Andrelton Simmons smacked his 12 home run of the season to make it 3-0. It marked the first time this season Paxton had allowed two homers in a start this season.
- Things went bad to worse in the seventh. With one down, Paxton faced Kole Calhoun. With the count 2-2 Paxton threw a knuckle curve which was fouled off and winced after he threw and shook out his arm. He threw another curve for a ball and reacted the same, even going behind the mound to stretch a bit. He then threw a 92 mph fastball – 5 mph off two previous fastballs in the at-bat, and finally called catcher Mike Zunino and trainers out. After a quick consult, Paxton’s night was over as he walked off the field with the trainers. It was Paxton’s 107th pitch of the night.
- In the bottom half, Guillermo Heredia doubled with one out and went to third on a ground out by Ben Gamel, but pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso struck out to leave him stranded.
- The M’s finally got on the board in the eighth. With one down, Jean Segura connected on a fastball from reliever Bud Norris for his seventh home run of the season to make it 3-1. After Danny Valencia grounded out, Robinson Cano lashed a double into the left-center gap. That brought up the team’s hottest hitter, Nelson Cruz, who blasted a no-doubt shot to right-center to tie the game up, a 426 foot blast for his 27th homer of the campaign.
- Edwin Diaz walked the first two batters in the ninth. On Martin Maldonado’s sacrifice attempt, Danny Valencia cut down the runner at third, then Segura made a nice play on Ben Revere’s grounder to wipe out the middle runner. With runners on the corner and two down, Cameron Maybin walked to load the bases…to bring up Mike Trout.
- Trout laced a double over Kyle Seager’s head and into the corner, clearing the bases for a three-run double.
The outcome of this game is almost immaterial. If Paxton needs to be shut down for any length of time it would be devastating to a pitching staff that is being held together with duct tape and chicken wire. Paxton has been its ace and anchor and the Mariners can ill afford to be without him and expect to remain contenders for a wildcard spot without trying to find a replacement before the waiver trade deadline period expires at the end of the month.
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Players of the Game
Hero: Nelson Cruz. Comes through again.
Goat: Edwin Diaz. Couldn’t find the strike zone, then threw a juicy meatball to the best hitter in the game.
What others are saying (and writing)
Paxton’s injury was the biggest story to come out of Thursday night’s loss. Unless it was Diaz’s inability to find the strike zone. Or maybe Trout’s clutch double. … Three key players who are on the disabled list hope to be back soon. … Cruz has been on fire lately. … Edgar Martinez's number will be retired this weekend.