SPRINGER’S DINGER IN 13TH DOES IN MARINERS’ ROOKIE DE JONG
What happened: George Springer launched a three-run home run in the bottom of the 13th inning off rookie Chase De Jong – the last man in the bullpen – and the Seattle Mariners fell to the Houston Astros 5-3, the third straight loss to start the season.
The Mariners start 0-3 for the first time since 2004.
Springer finished 2 for 7 with five RBIs.
Seattle took the lead in top of the inning on four consecutive walks by two Houston relievers. But even though the game went 13 innings, the Mariners still only managed six hits, though they drew eight walks.
Jean Segura went 2 for 6 with a two-run home run, the Mariners’ first of the season.
Starter James Paxton went six shutout innings and allowed two hits and one walk, striking out five. His curve was untouchable, even at times for his own catcher.
Astros starter Charlie Morton allowed two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out four.
- Leadoff hitter Segura had a great first at-bat, lacing a single down the right field line on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. That’s a solid approach to get things started. He was erased on a fielder’s choice and Mitch Haniger promptly stole second. But Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz continued their slow starts with groundouts to end the inning.
- Catcher Mike Zunino crushed a booming double halfway up the wall in left center in the second. He was stranded by a popup from Jerrod Dyson.
- With one out in the third, Houston’s George Springer reached on a third-strike wild pitch, then Alex Bregman ripped a double into the left field corner. But Paxton was able to get Jose Altuve to K on a knuckle curve after a nine-pitch battle and Carlos Correa popped up to end the threat.
- Leading off the fifth, Dyson had a curveball a good 4 inches off the plate called strike two by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. Houston starter Charlie Morton went right back to it on the next pitch and, now forced to swing at it, Dyson flied meekly to left.
- It didn’t detract from the M’s first multi-run rally of the season though. Leonys Martin followed the flyout with a line-drive single and Segura then roped a line-drive home run to right field, providing the Mariners’ first home run – and lead – of the season.
- For the second time in the game, Paxton and Mike Zunino combined to allow a runner who struck out to reach via wild pitch. This time, it was Jose Altuve in the sixth. A curve bounced just behind the plate and squirted between the Zunino’s feet and went to the backstop. Paxton recorded a couple of groundouts to get out of the inning.
- Fun sequence in the seventh. Martin reached via base on balls and was almost picked off by reliever Michael Feliz. The call was challenges and umpire review confirmed he was safe…barely. Two pitches later, Feliz uncorked a wild pitch and Martin went to second anyway. He was stranded there, but still fun.
- With two on in the seventh, manager Scott Servais went to Dan Altavilla. The fireballer was greeted by a late-swing opposite-field single by Marwin Gonzalez to load the bases, then the big blow: a two-run double down the left field line by Springer to knot it at 2-2.
- Tough situation and huge response for Casey Fien: one out, runners on the corners in the eighth. He got Evan Gattis to fly to the track in right, then blew Josh Reddick away with heat to the outside corner.
- Closer Edwin Diaz in his first appearance of he season missed – badly – with his first six pitches, earning a conversation with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. His next pitch was grounded to Seager who calmly started a 5-4-3 double play. Diaz gave up one hit and one walk in two innings, striking out two.
- In the 11th with a runner on third and one down, Haniger let a foul pop drop that probably would have been enough to score the run. Segura then made a tough pick with the infield in to nail Springer for the second out.
- Houston’s Jose Altuve went 0 for 6 for the second time in his career (Sept. 18, 2004 vs. Cleveland).
- In the top of the 13th inning, fans at Houston’s Minute Maid Park inexplicably started “woo-ing,” similar to former professional wrestler “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. If they were trying to psyche out the Seattle Mariners hitters, it didn’t work.
The Mariners were gifted eight walks but generated just six hits in 13 innings. It’s hard to complain about a rookie pitcher making his MLB debut – knowing he was going to be sent down regardless – giving up a home run on a bad pitch in that situation. Simply, the bats have to get going before the M’s dig a hole for themselves in the first week of the season. Losing streaks look worse at the start of the season, but losses in April count the same as losses in September.
Tweet of the Day
The details on the Segura homer … pic.twitter.com/xKrwPViBzq— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) April 6, 2017
Players of the Game
Hero: Jean Segura. He’s the only Mariners hitter consistently producing in the early going.
Goat: Chase De Jong. He was going to be sent down to Tacoma regardless to active Dillon Overton from the Paternity List, but this was a tough way to go. He’s been the emergency arm in the pen the first three games and was pressed into duty in the 13th. An unfortunately MLB debut. but the home run pitch to Springer was a center cut meatball.
Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager combined to go 1 for 13 with five walks… The M’s stranded 11 runners and went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position… De Jong’s final line: 2/3 inning, 3 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 HR.
Mariners at Houston Astros on Thursday at 5:10 p.m. Ariel Miranda (2016 w/BAL-SEA: 5-2, 3.88 ERA, 1.121 WHIP) vs. Joe Musgrove (2016: 4-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.210 WHIP).
What others are saying
The M’s had a couple opportunities to put away their first win of the year. But the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. The result? A 5-3 win for Houston on George Springer’s walk-off home run in the 13th. … Nelson Cruz says his health is fine. … You know that hill the Astros used to have in centerfield? The M’s outfielders don’t miss it.
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