J.P. Crawford went 3 for 5 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs as the Mariners defeated the host Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday night.
The Mariners won for the second straight night in Milwaukee and for the sixth time in their past seven games. The Brewers lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc (5-2) improved to 3-0 in five starts this month – when Seattle started using a relief pitcher as an opener for him. Right-hander Matt Carasiti pitched a scoreless first before handing the ball to LeBlanc, who went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias pitched two scoreless innings for his 10th save of the season.
The Mariners scored twice in the first and once in the second against Brewers right-hander Adrian Houser (2-2).
Mallex Smith led off the game with a triple to center field and scored on Crawford’s double to center. With one out, Daniel Vogelbach walked and Omar Narvaez then lined a run-scoring single to right.
The Mariners made it 3-0 in the second as Dee Gordon led off with a walk and stole second. He advanced to third on Smith’s deep fly to left field and scored on Crawford’s triple to right.
The score stayed that way until the sixth, when Mike Moustakas led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to right-center field, his 23rd home run of the season. With one out, Ben Gamel hit a fly ball down the left-field line that just eluded outfielder Mac Williamson’s diving attempt. The ball bounced over Williamson and rolled all the way to the wall, with Gamel sliding into home plate just before the throw for an inside-the-park home run. It was the fifth homer of the season for Gamel, who played the previous three seasons in Seattle.
The Mariners added an insurance run in the ninth as Smith singled with two outs and scored on a double to left by Crawford.
In the past seven games, M’s leadoff hitter Mallex Smith and No. 2 hitter J.P. Crawford have combined for a .410 average (25 of 61) with 18 runs, seven doubles, three triples, one home run and 15 RBIs. The M’s have averaged 7.43 runs per game over that stretch. … During that same span, the M’s bullpen is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA, with five of the six runs allowed coming in one loss to Baltimore. In the past six wins, the bullpen is 1-0 with a 0.33 ERA. … Omar Narvaez’s first inning single extended his hitting streak to nine games, a career-high. Narvaez had three previous eight-game streaks.
By the numbers
13: Number of starting pitchers the M’s have used this season after RHP Matt Carasiti served as the opener Wednesday. That total includes five relievers who have pitched in the opening inning.
Our take from Right Field
LeBlanc had another strong outing as the “bulk” pitcher, as the M’s have dubbed the player who replaces the opener. Crawford seems to impress more every day, with Smith not far behind (although fly balls to center field are still an adventure).
The M’s will go for a sweep of the three-game series in Milwaukee at 11:10 a.m. Thursday. RHP Mike Leake (7-6, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to start against Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson (3-2, 4.70).
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