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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Andres Munoz escapes jam, Mariners hold off Padres to complete sweep

By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SAN DIEGO – For a brief moment, it looked like the Mariners’ monthlong quest to win a series would continue into extra innings or possibly into the upcoming series in Anaheim, California.

After cleaning up Ryne Stanek’s mess in the eighth inning with a strikeout of Padres All-Star Jurickson Profar, Andres Muñoz had created his own mess with back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the ninth. With the Mariners only up two runs, it meant that the next three hitters would come go to the plate as the winning run.

Muñoz got Donovan Solano to ground out to J.P. Crawford for the first out, but both runners moved up 90 feet, meaning the tying run was in scoring position at second. He struck out rookie Jackson Merrill on a nasty slider in the dirt for the second out.

When veteran hitter David Peralta fought off back-to-back two-strike pitches and then got enough of a slider to send a soft line drive to center, the announced crowd of 39,611 roared at the possibility of game-tying bloop single.

But as the late-afternoon shadows started to cover Petco Park on Wednesday, Crawford got a perfect read on a ball that grew more catchable as it traveled, making an easy catch to close out a 2-0 victory over the Padres.

It gave Seattle a sweep of the now traditional two-game series interleague series between the two “natural rivals,” and ended a stretch of six consecutive series lost.

It was Muñoz’s ninth multi-inning appearance this season and his sixth save of more than three outs.

“I think something weird about today is I didn’t have that same energy in my second inning,” Muñoz said. “That is something that never happened to me before. Probably that was why I was a little bit off in the second inning. In the first inning, I had that energy going because I had two men on base and I had to get it done.”

Muñoz found the energy after the two walks in the ninth and made the adjustment.

“The adrenaline just kicked up,” Muñoz said. “Obviously, you don’t want to wait for that to happen, but it happened today. I’m going to work on it to make it sure it doesn’t happen again.”

M’s manager Scott Servais got Tayler Saucedo and Trent Thornton both up and warming after Muñoz walked the first two batters, hoping he wouldn’t have to use them.

“Andres Munoz has been incredible,” Servais said. “The first half of the season. It’s a shame he’s not on the All-Star team. I certainly hope he gets added to it because the number of four-out and five-out saves that he has gotten us this year, it’s just been a difference maker. He was a little bit on the edge and didn’t have great command there early, but he found it and that’s what you have to do in those spots.”

The Mariners got a strong start from Bryce Miller, who found some success away from T-Mobile Park. All of the offense was provided by Jorge Polanco – yes, Jorge Polanco – was the catalyst for both runs, including the lone RBI .

Miller came into the game with a 2-4 record and 6.28 ERA in eight road starts. But knowing that the Padres were going to swing early and put the ball in play, he delivered strikes early in counts to take advantage of their aggressiveness.

“I thought we would have to pitch extremely well to win this series and we did exactly that,” Servais said. “Hats off to Bryce Miller. He really executed his game play today.”

Miller pitched six scoreless innings, allowing five hits with no walks and one strikeout. That lone strikeout came in the final hitter of his outing, when he fired a 96-mph fastball past Jake Cronenworth to the end the sixth.

“I would have been upset if I had zero strikeouts, but I can deal with one I guess,” he said. “One is better than zero. I don’t know if I’ve had a game with just one strikeout, but we won, so I’ll take it.”

After watching Logan Gilbert’s outing in person Tuesday, Miller went and rewatched it on his iPad at the team hotel, noticing that quality strikes early would lead to soft contact. He allowed only one ball in play with an exit velocity of more than 100 mph.

“I will take all the weak contact I can get,” he said.

Miller got plenty of help from his defense.

In the second inning, he allowed three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. When Ha-Seong Kim hit a fly ball to center field, it looked as if the Padres might pick up their first run.

But Julio Rodriguez got into a primed position to make a throw home after making the catch. He delivered a strong and accurate throw, Cal Raleigh made a clean grab on the two-hopper and applied the tag on Donovan Solano for the third out.

Mariners outfielder Canzone lands on injured list

After he was removed with discomfort in his groin area after hitting a double in Tuesday’s 8-3 victory over the Padres, Dominic Canzone was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right adductor strain.

Canzone suffered the injury while making a diving catch in Sunday’s loss to the Blue Jays. He tried to play through some minor discomfort but felt it while running the bases. He underwent an MRI in San Diego to assess the damage.

Outfielder Jonatan Clase was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to take Canzone’s place on the active roster.

Clase gives the Mariners some speed off the bench. With the Angels starting left-handed pitchers in the first two games of the upcoming series, Clase could get a start in the outfielder.

Woo returns to rotation Friday: Bryan Woo will be reinstated from the injured list on Friday afternoon to start later that night in Game 2 of the four-game series vs. the Angels.

Servais announced the slotting of the rotation prior to Wednesday’s game. The Angels have also made changes to their rotation ahead of the series.

The Angels, who are piecing their rotation together due to injuries and poor performance, announced that right-hander Jack Kochanowicz will be recalled to start on Thursday in place of a Davis Daniel, who was optioned to Triple-A. They also haven’t listed a starter for the series finale on Sunday.

Kochanowicz, 23, will be making his MLB debut vs. the Mariners. Rated as the No. 7 prospect in the Angels’ organization, he was a third-round pick in the 2019 draft. In 16 starts for Double-A Rocket City, he’s posted a 5-6 record with a 4.55 ERA. In 91 innings pitched, he struck 79 batters with 23 walks.

The pitching probables for the series at Angel Stadium:

Thursday: Luis Castillo, RHP vs. Jack Kochanowicz, RHP

Friday: Bryan Woo, RHP vs. Tyler Anderson, LHP

Saturday: George Kirby, RHP vs. Jose Soriano, RHP

Sunday: Logan Gilbert, RHP vs. TBA

With Gilbert pitching on Sunday, he will be ineligible to pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game at Globe Life Field. A pitcher will have to be added to take his place on the AL roster. It may open a path for closer Munoz to make the team. Gilbert has been lobbying for his teammate openly since being selected.