Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Cruz, Dee key Seattle to 3rd straight win

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- You can excuse Andrew Triggs if the A's right-hander doesn't send Nelson Cruz a birthday card when the burly Mariners designated hitter turns 38 in two months.

Cruz continued tormenting Triggs with a three-run homer Tuesday and Dee Gordon cranked out a 5-for-5 night with two stolen bases as the Mariners maintained their recent roll with a 6-3 victory in the series opener between the American League West rivals at Safeco Field.

View Full Game Coverage

SEATTLE -- You can excuse Andrew Triggs if the A's right-hander doesn't send Nelson Cruz a birthday card when the burly Mariners designated hitter turns 38 in two months.

Cruz continued tormenting Triggs with a three-run homer Tuesday and Dee Gordon cranked out a 5-for-5 night with two stolen bases as the Mariners maintained their recent roll with a 6-3 victory in the series opener between the American League West rivals at Safeco Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"Definitely we're doing a lot of good things," Cruz said. "The offense is clicking when we need it. When you've got Gordon in the front of the lineup and [Jean] Segura, that makes it more fun. And our pitchers are doing the job. Everything is clicking."

Video: OAK@SEA: Crus discusses his 3-run homer in win

Cruz has just 10 plate appearances against the 29-year-old Triggs, but is 4-for-8 with three home runs and a pair of walks. The latest damage came after Triggs battled Felix Hernandez to a 1-1 tie into the fifth inning and then retired Robinson Cano on a deep drive -- projected at 404 feet by Statcast™ -- that Mark Canha hauled in at the center-field wall.

But on the next pitch, Cruz cleared the bases by going even deeper with a 410-foot shot over the fence, his sixth homer of the season despite missing nine games with a sprained ankle.

"Just one pitch. Bad pitch," Triggs said. "Everybody's got to wiggle out of situations here and there, you get Cano out and you really like your chances to go out there and execute and make a nice pitch to keep things even there at 1-1. It was the right pitch, bad location. And he did what good hitters do with that."

Or as Mariners manager Scott Servais said: "Cruz does what the Boomstick does. He ran into one tonight. That was the big hit in the ballgame."

Hernandez improved to 4-2 with a 4.89 ERA as he gave up three runs on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts over six-plus innings.

"Felix was right on tonight," said Servais. "Command of the fastball, curveball and we started the see the changeup come back tonight and be a real weapon for him. That was probably one of the sharper outings he's had all year to this point, which is a great sign."

Video: OAK@SEA: King Felix tosses 6-plus solid innings

Triggs (2-1, 5.20) took his first loss as he allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

The Mariners have won eight of their past 11 games to move within 1 1/2 games back of front-running Houston in the AL West at 17-11. The A's lost their third straight in falling to 14-15.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Hernandez only allowed two hits through six innings, but the A's chased him with a leadoff walk by Khris Davis and a double by Matt Olson in the seventh. Oakland pushed both runners home against reliever Nick Vincent on an infield single by Canha and a groundout by Chad Pinder, but Vincent got out of the frame with a pair of strikeouts, Juan Nicasio fired a 1-2-3 eighth with two more K's and closer Edwin Diaz finished things off with his MLB-leading 12th save.

Video: OAK@SEA: Diaz freezes Pinder for the save

DEE GETTING IT DONE
Gordon became just the third Mariner with four or more hits in back-to-back games as he went 5-for-5 from his leadoff spot after a 4-for-5 outing Sunday in Cleveland. The only previous Mariners player to achieve that feat were Kendrys Morales in 2013 and Ichiro Suzuki, who did it three times in his earlier years in Seattle. Gordon has hiked his average from .277 to .339 over the past three games by going 11-for-14 and he leads the AL in stolen bases with 12.

"I'm just trying to do my job, do my part and make everybody else's life easier," said Gordon, who came up one hit shy of Raul Ibanez's club record of six hits in a game. "That's what I'm here to do."

Video: OAK@SEA: Gordon gets 5 hits, 2 SBs, scores a run

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager started an excellent double play in the second inning, backhanding a shot down the line by Matt Chapman and firing to Cano, who finished things off with a quick turn at second base to help Hernandez out early.

"The key tonight really was our defense," Servais said. "The guys don't get enough credit. The 5-4-3 double play that Seager started and Cano turning. The strike-'em out, throw 'em out by Zunino was a big play in that [fifth] inning. It's really what we need to help our pitching out and we've got the guys capable of doing it."

Video: OAK@SEA: Seager makes backhanded stop to start two

HE SAID IT
"We talk about all the power and home runs and strikeouts and how the game is changing. But it goes to show you, putting the bat on the ball and what speed can do. The eye-hand coordination Dee Gordon has is really remarkable. He hits pitches all over the strike zone and hits them all over the field. It's really fun to watch." --- Servais, on his red-hot leadoff hitter

UP NEXT
James Paxton (1-1, 5.12 ERA) gets the ball for Seattle in Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. PT game against the A's, who will promote veteran lefty Brett Anderson from Triple-A Nashville to make his first start. After a rough season opener, Paxton is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 27 innings over his last five starts and tied his career-best with 10 strikeouts in a six-inning, two-run no-decision at Cleveland on Thursday.

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