MOTTER HITS FIRST CAREER GRAND SLAM, CRUZ ADDS THREE-RUN SHOT
What happened: The Seattle Mariners offense finally got going as Taylor Motter hit a grand slam and Nelson Cruz added a three-run shot in an 11-1 win over the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum.
Motter’s big blow came in a five-run third inning when the proceedings were still undecided. Cruz put the icing on the cake in the seventh.
Motter finished 2 for 5 with four RBIs, while Cruz went 2 for 4 with five RBIs and three runs. Mitch Haniger reached four times and scored three times.
Starter Yovani Gallardo had, without question, his best start of the young season. Mixing his two-seam fastball with a collection of sliders and strong changeup, the veteran went 6 1/3 innings, leaving two runners when he departed. He allowed one run on four hits and just one walk with seven strikeouts. He threw 108 pitches, 67 for strikes.
A’s starter Andrew Triggs entered play without having surrendered a run in his first three starts, but got roughed up. He allowed six runs on five hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings.
- Leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson got hit on the back foot with a slider by A’s starter Andrew Triggs. Dyson shook it off, then swiped second. Mitch Haniger tried to bunt for a base hit and was thrown out, but Dyson moved up to third, and then scored on Robinson Cano’s single through the right side of a drawn-in infield. It was the first run allowed by Triggs in 2017.
- The M’s loaded the bases in the third. Mike Zunino led off with a single, then with one out Haniger singled and Cano walked. Triggs lost Nelson Cruz on an inside breaking ball to force in a run. Dan Vogelbach then looked at a very hittable pitch for strike one then flailed at two off the corner.
- No matter, though, as Taylor Motter muscled up on a fastball that tailed back over the plate for a grand slam, his fifth homer of the season.
- In sixth, Mike Freeman made a terrific diving stop to the backhand to rob Jaff Decker of a base hit.
- Haniger walked to lead off the seventh. Cano followed with a single to center and Haniger raced to third. Nelson Cruz then laid into one (exit velocity 107) 418 feet down the left field line to put M’s up 9-0.
- Reliever Tony Zych allowed a sacrifice fly to let the lone run come in but got out of more damage with a strikeout, then Marc Rzepczynski had an easy 1-2-3 eighth with two Ks.
- Haniger doubled in the ninth, his fourth time in five trips to reach base on Sunday for the early-season team MVP. Cano smacked a double past the diving third baseman Ryon Healy and Haniger carried the 10th run home. Dan Vogelbach, recalled earlier in the day, then singled up the middle for his first MLB RBI.
- Haniger’s ninth-inning double was his 12th extra-base hit and tied him with Alvin Davis for the Mariners rookie record for extra-base hits in a month.
It’s about time. One game doesn’t make a season’s worth of frustration go away, but it’s nice to have a bit of a Sunday breakout. Encouraging signs from both Cano and Cruz, while Haniger and Motter continue to plug away. Lost in the offensive output is the performance from Gallardo. He seemed to eschew his cutter for more changeups and the mix really worked.
Tweet of the Day
Players of the Game
Hero: Taylor Motter. 2 for 5, grand slam, double. His slam broke it open. Honorable mention: Nelson Cruz. 2 for 5, homer, 5 RBIs. A breakout?
Goat: Raul Alcantara. The life of a mop-up man is rough. Five runs on six hits and two walks in three innings.
Guillermo Heredia, Mike Freeman and Jerrod Dyson all went 0-fer. Dyson reached via HB and stole second…Tony Zych, Marc Rzepczynski and Evan Scribner combined for 2 2/3 scoreless relief with four Ks.
Seattle Mariners (8-12) at Detroit Tigers (9-8), 4:10 p.m. at Comerica Park. Felix Hernandez (2-1, 3.65) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 5.94).
What others are saying (and writing)
The win was not the big news yesterday. That was supplied before the game when the M’s designated Leonys Martin for assignment. Their starting centerfielder last season and at the beginning of this is no longer with them. … Segura will be back Tuesday, but Motter will play somewhere. … Yovani Gallardo pitched well. … The A’s didn’t like seeing their long winning streak snapped.
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