MARINERS POUND OUT 16 HITS – ZUNINO, GAMEL, SEAGER ALL HOMER
What happened: Felix Hernandez returned from the disabled list with a “W” and the offense kept humming as the Seattle Mariners crushed the Houston Astros 13-3 in the first of a three-game weekend series at Safeco.
Hernandez turned in six mostly-solid innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits and one walk with six strikeouts. He gave up a homer to Jose Altuve in the first, which is fairly typical when the pair face off, and a hard hit double in the next inning, but was mostly able to control the plate appearances in his first start back from the disabled list.
Yovani Gallardo made his first relief appearance since 2007 and provided three scoreless innings, earning a save in a 10-run ballgame.
Seager, Zunino and Gamel all had multi-hit performances to go with their home runs, and Danny Valencia went 4 for 5 with two RBIs.
- As per usual, Jose Altuve punished Hernandez right from the jump, homering off a floating 1-0 changeup in the top of the first. Hernandez allowed a one-out double and walk in the second but no runs.
- The M’s evened in in the bottom half. Kyle Seager led off with a line-drive single, took second on Danny Valencia’s single up the middle and scored on Jarrod Dyson’s sharp double to right. The really died after Mike Zunino K’d and Jean Segura grounded to short.
- They went rigth back to work off Musgrove in the third. Ben Gamel extended his streak to 15 games with a leadoff single. After Robinson Cano struck out, Nelson Cruz bounced one through up the middle. Seager was plunked, then Mitch Haniger’s single to center plated Gamel.
- Valencia followed with a ground ball single to left and two runs scored as the throw home bounced just past the infield dirt. Dyson struck out, but Zunino followed with a big fly to left, his 10th homer of the season, to put M’s up 7-1.
- That gave Zunino 29 RBIs for June, tying Jim Presley for second most RBIs in a month for a Mariner. Edgar Martinez holds the record with 32. His nine homers in the month lead the American League.
- The Astros got one back in the fourth, but Gamel responded with an opposite field homer in the bottom, his fourth of the year, to restore a six-run lead. Two outs later, Seager launched an absolute bomb – 20 rows deep in the right-field bleachers for his eighth of the season.
- Things got a little wild in the bottom of the seventh, as in: two wild pitches by reliever James Hoyt allowed three runs to score. Valencia singled and Dyson doubled to lead off. Hoyt uncorked one that went to the backstop. Valencia scored easily and Dyson raced all the way around from second, just beating the tag. With one down, Segura doubled off George Springer’s glove on a diving attempt going away from home plate.
- Tyler Motter pinch-ran and went to third on Gamel’s groundout. With Cano batting, Hoyt bounced a slider that Brian McCann couldn’t handle and McCann’s relay bounced off Motter’s shoulder, allowing him to score.
Hernandez wasn’t spectacular, but he was solid. He gave up some contact, but struck out six over six innings and only walked one. He’s a vital part of this rotation even though he isn’t the dominant Felix of previous years, and it was good to see him work without limitations. Beating the top team in the division handily could serve as motivation to a team that has work to do if they want to make the postseason.
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Players of the Game
Hero: Mike Zunino. Still getting it done. Could very well break team record for most RBIs in a month after spending a couple of weeks in May in the minors.
Goat: Robinson Cano. 0 for 5 with two Ks.
Houston Astros (50-25) at Seattle Mariners (39-37) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field. Sam Gaviglio (3-1, 3-43) hosts Lance McCullers, Jr. (6-1, 2.58)
What others are saying (and writing)
The highlight of the game was Dyson’s dash home from second on the wild pitch. It seems to be exactly the type of thing Jerry Dipoto was going for when he tried to increase the team’s speed. … No matter what, Hernandez’s return to the mound was the most important aspect of Friday’s 13-3 win. … To put Hernandez on the roster, Andrew Moore was optioned to Tacoma, where he can also stay on schedule for his next start. … The M’s top draft pick visited Safeco en route to Everett. … The Astros aren’t too happy with Musgrave’s start.
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