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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Tom Murphy’s home run helps Mariners, George Kirby beat Texas

May 9, 2023 Updated Tue., May 9, 2023 at 9:43 p.m.

By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SEATTLE — The smile on Tom Murphy’s face as he was handed the Mariners’ home run trident was one of pure delight. He’d been patiently waiting his turn to hold and hoist the weapon turned celebratory prop.

All he needed to do was put a ball over the fence.

That moment came in the seventh inning against a pitcher he’d homered off a few times in his career.

Murphy’s towering two-run blast off Texas starter Andrew Heaney provided some much-needed cushion for the Mariners’ bullpen to protect the gem thrown by their starter, George Kirby, in what would be a 5-0 win for Seattle on Tuesday.

Besides his homer, Murphy was a part of two other Mariners runs. He led off the third inning with a double to left and later scored along with Sam Haggerty on Ty France’s two-run single.

But considering the Mariners’ struggles to score runs this season, turning a two-run lead into a four-run lead was critical.

And the trident, well, that was just fun.

In the dugout, he let out a primal scream, eyes wide and menacing, pointing the trident toward the camera well as his teammates laughed in delight or terror.

Realistically, there is no player on the Mariners’ roster who would be more equipped to use the weapon of the sea for its true intended purposes than Murphy.

Salmon, anyone?

The Mariners, and really no team in baseball, have a celebration for a starting pitcher after the delivery a quality outing. Considering how strong Seattle’s starting pitching has been this season and in seasons past, perhaps it should look into finding one because Kirby’s performance was certainly worthy.

He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits with no walks (of course) and nine strikeouts.

Facing one of the most productive offenses in baseball, Kirby attacked hitters without fear of repercussion, overwhelming the strike zone. He had just one count in which he threw three balls.

Texas’ one threat to score came in the third inning. With two outs and Marcus Semien on first, Ezequiel Duran hit a sharp line drive to right that Jarred Kelenic couldn’t quite catch. It put runners on the corners. But Kirby coolly got Nathaniel Lowe to ground out to end the inning.

From there, he allowed just two more base runners.

The Mariners added another run in the eighth on a sac fly and got scoreless relief work from right-handers Justin Top and Juan Then to close out the shutout.

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