SEATTLE – Here, again, the Mariners showed Saturday afternoon why they remain a threat to mount a postseason push over the the season’s final two months after four months of tedium.
They are resilient.
The Mariners scratched out and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets against an in-form Jacob deGrom roughly 14 hours after letting a victory slip away on Friday night in the series opener.
“You’ve just got to grind,” said center fielder Jarrod Dyson, who had a two-run single in the second inning. “That’s just baseball period. Every game is going to be a grind.
“At least, that’s what you think going into the game. We know what we’re up against. We know what we have to do. It’s just a matter of going out there and grinding it all together.”
Veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-7) outpitched deGrom (12-4) before the Mariners’ bullpen survived some shaky moments in closing out the victory – a victory that came at a cost.
Right fielder Mitch Haniger was hit in the face by a deGrom fastball in the second inning. Haniger left the game under his own power but will likely require plastic surgery to repair lacerations on his face.
“He’s got no fractures,” manager Scott Servais said. “His teeth are OK, but he’s got a pretty severe laceration in his upper lip. He’s getting some work done on that now. It could have been a lot worse.”
The Mariners are expected to place Haniger on the disabled list prior to Sunday’s series finale and make a corresponding move to replace him on the roster.
“He’ll be out a little while,” Servais said. “We’ll let him heal up. He will be back.”
The Mariners (52-53) scored three early runs, aided by a costly error, before deGrom went into lockdown mode. Dyson’s two-run single in the second inning was a blooper that fell in short center field.
“I was looking heater the whole time,” Dyson said. “He backdoored a slider to get ahead, and then I just tried to zone him up. He left a slider over the plate, and I was able to hit it.”
The Mariners capitalized on a throwing error by Mets second baseman Neil Walker for a another run in the third inning. Nelson Cruz’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
That was it. DeGrom permitted just one walk over his final 12 hitters and struck out 10 in his six innings.
Gallardo carried that 3-0 lead into the sixth inning before exiting after giving up a pair of two-out singles. Tony Zych forced in one run with two walks before ending the inning.
Marc Rzepczynski then worked around a two-on, no-out jam in a scoreless seventh. Nick Vincent blew through the Mets in the eighth inning before Edwin Diaz gave up one run in the ninth before securing his 19th save.
“It’s a good win,” Servais said. “It really is. DeGrom is one of the best pitchers in the National League. Last night, I felt we let that one get away a little bit.
“The goal is to keep winning series, and we have a chance to do that (Sunday) when we run (James) Paxton out there.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: Conforto continues to put on a show in a return to his hometown.
In addition to his third-inning catch on Seager’s drive into the gap, Conforto threw out Seager at the plate for the final out in the eighth inning. Conforto then produced a two-out RBI single in the ninth against Diaz.
PLUS: Cruz broke a 0 for 16 skid when he started the second inning by lining a single off deGrom’s left shin. The ricocheted into short right field. Seager followed with double and both runners scored on Dyson’s single…Vincent’s 1-2-3 eighth inning extended his club-record streak to 26 straight scoreless appearances at Safeco Field…Gallardo won his first game as a starter since June 12…Dyson went 2 for 3 and stole his 23rd base after his two-run single in the second.
MINUS: Robinson Cano was hitless in four at-bats, which dropped his average to .266. He also whiffed on Conforto’s two-out grounder in the ninth inning, which was scored a single…Mike Zunino was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts…Zych threw just nine strikes in his 24 pitches.
STAT PACK: Gamel matched a career high when he extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a leadoff single up the middle in the third inning.
QUOTABLE: Seager broke for second with two outs in the sixth inning while deGrom still had the ball. DeGrom simply threw to second for the out.
“He’s a really good pitcher,” Seager explained, “and I was trying to push it. I thought I had a little something, and I didn’t. It didn’t work. He held (the ball) a little longer than I was hoping.”
Servais said: “I think he thought he was going to have the element of surprise. We have this one rule: You’re not invisible. Sometimes, I think Seags thinks he’s invisible out there.”
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners are 200-180 in their history against National League opponents. They are the eighth team to win 200 interleague games. Six of the other seven are American League clubs: Boston (222), New York (222), Los Angeles (210), Texas (204), Detroit (202) and Oakland (201). The only National League team to do it is Chicago (204).
ON DECK: The Mariners and Mets conclude their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Safeco Field. Left-hander James Paxton (10-3 with a 2.84 ERA) will oppose New York right-hander Seth Lugo (5-2, 4.10).
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