SEATTLE -- The Marlins almost made history Tuesday night at Safeco Field, taking a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning before Mitch Haniger hit a one-out double off Kyle Barraclough. Still, their effort was good enough to beat the Mariners, 5-0, before 16,126.Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen was deceptive and exceptional
SEATTLE -- The Marlins almost made history Tuesday night at Safeco Field, taking a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning before Mitch Haniger hit a one-out double off Kyle Barraclough. Still, their effort was good enough to beat the Mariners, 5-0, before 16,126.
Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen was deceptive and exceptional through the first seven innings, stifling the Mariners by pitching to contact. Balls were not struck particularly hard, and most were hit right at defenders. Chen lost his perfect-game bid on a 10-pitch walk to Robinson Cano with two outs in the fourth inning, and Chen wobbled some in the seventh, walking Haniger and hitting Nelson Cruz with a pitch before escaping the jam unscathed.
By then, Chen had reached the 100-pitch mark, and even though he had not surrendered a hit, that was enough for Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who pulled Chen in favor of reliever Brad Ziegler. Chen finished with two strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. He threw 64 of his 100 pitches for strikes.
"Wei-Yin was good all night," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He just kind of kept them at bay, changing speeds on both sides of the plate. And for him, I thought it was huge given what happened in the Mets series. He got knocked around a little bit, and that one didn't go very well, but to bounce back in this one was really good, obviously, for us, but for him also."
Ziegler pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, withstanding two consecutive bunt attempts, including a close play by third baseman Miguel Rojas to get the speedy Jarrod Dyson at first to end the inning. Barraclough came in for the ninth and struck out pinch-hitter Mike Freeman, before Haniger ended the drama with a hard line drive to the gap in right-center field.
"A loss is a loss," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Haniger gave us a great at-bat at the end. I appreciate him battling and grinding and fighting. He put a good swing on it. But, we've got a chance to win the series tomorrow, and that's what our focus will be."
Mattingly's decision to pull Chen during a no-hitter brought to mind the Miami manager's similar decision April 29, 2016, when he pulled Adam Conley after 7 2/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Conley had thrown 116 pitches, 16 more than Chen on Tuesday.
"This guy had a UCL tear last year, and he's coming back," Mattingly said. "He's been healthy, but I'm not going to let him go to 130 [pitches]. And … he walks a guy and hits a guy [in the seventh], in deep counts every guy. We knew his location was leaving him, and in our minds, he's got no chance to make nine innings at that point. The best thing for us was to get a guy in there for that part of the order."
The Marlins did enough offensively to win when they scored in the first. Leadoff man Dee Gordon doubled, later scoring on an infield single by Christian Yelich. The Marlins added a run in the second on a wild pitch, and they made it 4-0 in the third when Justin Bour hit a two-run home run to left field off Mariners starter Yovani Gallardo. J.T. Riddle added an RBI sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Gallardo settled down after the first three innings, allowing no runs over the next three, to complete six. He gave up four runs on nine hits, striking out three.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bour goes deep: The Marlins scored one run in each of the first two innings, but they left runners on base both times. In the third, Bour made sure they didn't, belting a Gallardo slider over the left-field wall. The opposite-field, two-run homer was Bour's second of the season, and it gave Miami a 4-0 lead.
Mariners strand two: Seattle threatened in the seventh when Haniger walked to open the inning. Cano hit into a fielder's choice, and Cruz was hit by a pitch. Chen escaped by striking out Kyle Seager and retiring red-hot Taylor Motter on a popout to third base.
"His mix was good, he used both sides of the plate really well, when he needed to use his off-speed it was effective, and when he needed his fastball it was effective as well," Marlins catcher A.J. Ellis said of Chen. "He had the guys totally locked up back and forth on the other side. It was just a tremendous outing." More >
"There's probably part of it in your heart where you want him to keep going, and [Chen] probably wants to keep going, but at the same time, there isn't any one game in April that's worth a potential injury or anything long-term, and … I don't know all the factors that went into it, but when I saw Chen, it seemed he was in good spirits about it, so at that point I've got no problem with it." -- Ziegler, on Mattingly's decision to remove Chen after seven
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Miami threw the 17th one-hitter in club history. The last came June 17, 2016, vs. Colorado.
Marlins: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (0-1, 3.45 ERA) takes the ball for the Marlins in the series finale at 3:40 p.m. ET at Safeco Field. Volquez, who signed a two-year deal with the Marlins as a free agent in December, is 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) against the Mariners.
Mariners:Felix Hernandez (1-1, 2.95) starts in the series finale at 12:40 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Hernandez was in control in his last start, allowing one run over 7 ⅓ innings in a win over the Rangers, striking out three and walking none. Hernandez is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins, striking out 19 in 15 ⅓ innings.
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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.
Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.