M’s exhaust bullpen in their first series sweep of the season
What happened: The Mariners bounced back from a 2-8 starting record this season with a three-game sweep over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Mitch Haniger’s three-run homer in the third and Guillermo Heredia’s 3 for 4 from the plate helped dig the Mariners out of an early five-run deficit.
Seattle’s pitching rotation didn’t run quite as smoothly as it had the previous two nights at Safeco Field.
M’s starter Hisashi Iwakuma allowed the Rangers six runs and seven hits before he was pulled after three innings. Evan Marshall took over in the fourth and retired seven straight batters before he was pulled in the sixth inning.
The Mariners turned to their bullpen four more times before finally ending on Edwin Diaz, who picked up the win (1-1).
- M’s starter Hisashi Iwakuma sent a second runner on base after hitting Texas batter Jonathan Lucroy up near the shoulder. Then Shin-Soo Choo smacked a three-run home run on his first pitch to right center to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the second.
- Iwakuma barely escapes another homer after Elvis Andrus pulled the ball just left of the foul pole in left field in the top of the third inning.
- Choo is after Iwakuma. His long shot to the corner of left field with two outs earned Choo a double and sent home two more Rangers to give Texas a five-run lead (6-1).
- Hamels nailed Leonys Martin on the side of his right thigh that sent Martin to the ground for a moment. The center fielder shook off the sting and trotted to first base a few seconds later.
- Cruz breaks another bat. This time, he didn’t get quite as lucky and was thrown out at first.
- Seattle’s Evan Marshall stepped in for Iwakuma in the fourth and got the job done. Marshall forced three flies for a 1-2-3 inning. One inning later he did it again, retiring three-straight batters on two flies and a strikout.
- Haniger got a two-out rally going in the fifth for the M’s with a walk on a full count. Robinson Cano followed with a hard hit to right field that kept him on first, but put Haniger in scoring position at third. Cruz just missed a second three-run home run for Seattle on Sunday when his long shot landed a little too far left on the stands. Cruz built up a 3-2 count and couldn’t finish the rally, ending the inning on a strikeout.
- Seattle manager Scott Servais got tossed for the first time this season when he got in the face of first-base official C.B. Bucknor after Martin grounded out to first base in the sixth. It appeared that Martin thought the dribbler along the first-base line would go foul, but Bucknor called the grounder fair. Servais immediately argued the call and was subsequently thrown out.
- Seattle gambled and intentionally walked Mike Napoli to load the bases with two outs. On a 2-2 count, Rougned Odor smacked a high fly to right field that pulled Haniger to the track to make the catch.
- Heredia nailed another homer for the M’s with nobody on in the seventh to tie the game at 6.
- Seattle reliever Dan Altavilla took over for Marc Rzepczynski and threw ten-straight balls. He loaded the bases on two walks before catching Andrus on a slider to end the inning and keep Texas from taking back the lead.
- Seattle closer Edwin Diaz finally allowed the Rangers to get in on the home-run fun with Nomar Mazara’s shot over the right-field wall to get a solo-homer a one-run lead for Texas.
- Mariners fans held up their brooms when the Rangers intentionally walked Mike Freeman to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson subsequently walked Haniger to force in the tying run for the M’s. Cruz sealed a walk-off win with a shot up the middle that sent Martin home.
Guillermo Heredia gets the Mariners going with a hard single to left field with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. Texas starter Cole Hamels tried to pick Heredia off first, but threw it in the dirt. The error gave Heredia the opportunity to move into scoring position. Nelson Cruz’s blooper to left field after breaking the bat drove Heredia home for Seattle’s first score.
Mitch Haniger goes yard! The right fielder’s three-run homer to center field send home Martin and Taylor Motter to narrow Texas’ lead to 6-4 in the third.
Kyle Seager won the nine-pitch battle against Texas reliever Tony Barnette in the sixth with a hard hsot to left-center that sent Seager to second. Then Motter lost the battle between the long-haired men when Barnette got Motter on a cutter for a called-strike three.
Tweet of the Day
The Seattle Mariners, following the example of Christ, appear to have risen from the dead.— Trevor Duplissey (@trevorduplissey) April 17, 2017
Players of the Game
Hero: Mitch Haniger. The slugger recorded four RBIs for the M’s and had a clutch three-run homer in the third and leaped against the wall to snag a home run from the Rangers’ Joey Gallo in the eighth.
Goat: Hisashi Iwakuma. The righty allowed six of the Rangers’ seven runs in the first three innings, including a three-run homer in the first. His day on the mound certainly didn’t reflect the smooth start Felix Hernandez and James Paxton had in the previous two games against Texas.
Mitch Haniger extended his hitting streak to a career-best ten games. He is batting .359 in that streak and has four home runs, 10 doubles and 11 RBIs…Scott Servais’ ejection was only his second ejection in his coaching career (June 2016)…Mariners closer Edwin Diaz grabbed his first major-league win on Sunday…Nelson Cruz recorded his eighth career walk-off hit on Sunday. His last walk off was against the Boston Red Sox in May 2015.
Seattle Mariners (5-8) vs. Miami Marlins (7-5) on Monday at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field. LHP Ariel Miranda (0-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (0-0, 3.27 ERA)
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