SEATTLE -- Ryon Healy smacked a pair of three-run homers and Marco Gonzales flirted with a no-hitter en route to a 8-2 series-clinching victory over the White Sox on Sunday at Safeco Field.Seattle is now baseball's fourth team to reach the 60-win mark, following the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros.Gonzales'
SEATTLE -- Ryon Healy smacked a pair of three-run homers and Marco Gonzales flirted with a no-hitter en route to a 8-2 series-clinching victory over the White Sox on Sunday at Safeco Field.
Seattle is now baseball's fourth team to reach the 60-win mark, following the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros.
Gonzales' no-hit bid lasted until the sixth inning, when Chicago center fielder Adam Engel sent a slow chopper up the middle for an infield single. After the game, Gonzales said he thought his no-hitter had been broken up on a 109.6 mph Matt Davidson line drive in the second inning that had actually been ruled an error on shortstop Jean Segura.
"It was actually great, because I didn't know," Gonzales said. "So it was actually pretty good for my psyche, I think."
Things began to unravel for the Gonzales after Engel's hit. Two pitches later, he mislocated a changeup to shortstop Tim Anderson, resulting in a two-run homer. Gonzales was pulled after allowing a pair of singles in the following inning.
But the White Sox couldn't catch the Mariners, thanks to a breakout performance by Healy, who entered Sunday in a 4-for-25 rut -- all singles.
Healy first launched a 106.3 mph blast on a 2-1 fastball in the first inning, capping off the Mariners' first five-run inning in over two months. The first baseman added his second three-run homer in the eighth inning after battling back from an 0-2 count, eventually putting a 2-2 pitch into the Mariners' bullpen.
"I just think it's getting into better counts, getting good pitches to hit, fouling off tough pitches or taking tough pitches," Healy said. "Getting yourself the opportunity to get in that hitter's count and not miss your mistake … just trying to be on time for a fastball."
Hitting behind Healy was catcher Mike Zunino, who made a return from the disabled list after missing 12 games with a bruised ankle. Though Zunino went 0-for-4, manager Scott Servais praised his catcher postgame.
"Zunino had a really good day, even though it doesn't show up in the box score," Servais said. "What he does behind the plate -- not just with Marco, obviously they work really well together, he knows him well -- but the relievers, coming in, reading swings, reading the bat, knowing when to stay with the fastball or go to the offspeed. Really, really important part of our team and nice to see him. … Big impact in the game today. I thought he had a lot of energy today and it really helped."
Servais went with matchups in the seventh inning, allowing lefty James Pazos and righty Juan Nicasio to each face and retire one batter before regular setup man Alex Colome tossed a scoreless eighth. Closer Edwin Diaz -- tied for second in MLB in appearances -- began warming up, but took a seat after Healy's second homer. Nick Vincent fired a scoreless ninth to seal the victory.
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The Mariners showed off their athleticism in the middle infield on a nifty double play that kept Gonzales' no-hitter intact in the sixth inning. Segura dove to keep the ball in the infield and flipped the ball from the ground so second baseman Dee Gordon could complete the double play.
"There's a reason there's a lot of good defensive plays made behind Marco," Servais said. "He works very quick, he's throwing the ball over the plate, he keeps attacking. Our fielders are on their toes, I thought our defense today was outstanding."
Seattle has the worst run differential (plus-1) of any team to win 60 of its first 100 games in MLB history. The next-closest team: the Brooklyn Dodgers, who went 61-39 with at plus-14 in 1954.
"We're plus-6 today," Servais said. "I worry about today, day-to-day, you guys can worry about the other stuff … plus-1 on Tuesday, that's what I'm shooting for."
Games against the White Sox serve as an interesting case-study of Seattle's improbable run. The Mariners won the season series 4-2, but were outscored 20-21.
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The Mariners ran into a couple of outs on the basepaths in the third inning. Denard Span got caught in a rundown between third and home, and the White Sox were able to tag out both Span and Healy on a 5-2-5-1-6-7 double play to end what was a two-on, one-out jam.
HE SAID IT
"I'm not a guy that needs to try harder; I think I almost try too hard at times. … I want to help this team win every single day, whether I'm in the lineup or not, and I'm going to find a way to do that. When [Robinson] Cano comes back, or whatever, I don't care. I want to compete, and I want to win, and I want to go where this team hasn't gone before, and I know I'm going to be a big part of that, so I'm excited for that opportunity and my job is to make their job as hard as possible when that opportunity comes." -- Healy on reports that suspended star Cano will likely play first base when he returns in mid-August
After seeing James Paxton's recent bullpen session, Servais said he has no hesitation about bringing his ace back from what will be a 12-day stint on the disabled list (lower back) to face the Giants in the series opener Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. PT. Paxton is 8-4 with a 3.70 ERA this season. The Giants will counter with rookie lefty Andrew Suarez, who has posted a 2.50 ERA in his last six starts.
David Gottlieb covers the Mariners for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGottliebMLB.