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Gamel: Key is to 'let the game come to me'

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

DETROIT -- Ben Gamel isn't trying to be Mitch Haniger. Gamel just wants to be himself, and that turned out to be plenty good on Thursday as the 24-year-old rookie drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth in the Mariners' 2-1 victory over the Tigers in his second game filling in for his injured teammate.

Haniger was putting up some of the best numbers in the American League for any player, let alone rookies, when he strained the oblique in his right side and was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday.

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DETROIT -- Ben Gamel isn't trying to be Mitch Haniger. Gamel just wants to be himself, and that turned out to be plenty good on Thursday as the 24-year-old rookie drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth in the Mariners' 2-1 victory over the Tigers in his second game filling in for his injured teammate.

Haniger was putting up some of the best numbers in the American League for any player, let alone rookies, when he strained the oblique in his right side and was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday.

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Gamel was called up from Triple-A Tacoma to take Haniger's place and went 0-for-4 in his first game in right field Wednesday, but came through Thursday with a 2-for-4 that included driving in Kyle Seager with his base hit to right in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez.

For Gamel, who hit .200 in 40 at-bats after being acquired from the Yankees last August, this second opportunity is a welcome chance, and he insists that he won't be trying to replicate what Haniger has done in his first month.

"Last year, I was probably pressing a lot when I was up here, so I'm just trying to take a deep breath and let the game come to me instead of trying to go out there and do way too much," he said.

Gamel and fellow rookie Guillermo Heredia are now filling the corner-outfield spots, and Mariners manager Scott Servais said the pair will keep getting their chances.

The Mariners designated Leonys Martin for assignment on Sunday because they feel the youngsters deserve an opportunity. And while Martin was retained Thursday after clearing waivers, he was outrighted to Tacoma, and Gamel and Heredia will continue getting time in Seattle.

"We're going to keep playing those guys," Servais said. "They do have ability. They're young, but the only way you get experience in this league is to play, and we're going to create opportunity for all these guys. Heredia has really stepped up, Gamel had a nice day today. We'll get [Daniel Vogelbach] back in there. All these guys are going to contribute."

And Seager, who scored from second on Gamel's winning hit, said it's no surprise to see the newcomers come through.

"[Gamel] showed his stuff in Spring Training, too, we just had so many good options and outfielders it was unfortunate for one of them," Seager said. "But we all know he's a gamer. He's a guy that is really going to get in there and grind, and he had a really good at-bat there off a really good closer.

"When you first get called up, everything is fast and seems sped up on you," Seager said. "You get in awe of it. It's human nature. It's everybody's dream. You're seeing them starting to kind of settle down, the heart rates starting to slow, and they're playing the way they can. As athletic as they are, you see them having a big impact on the game on both sides."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Ben Gamel