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Lewis' 1st homer 'like an out-of-body experience'

@gregjohnsmlb
September 11, 2019

SEATTLE -- Kyle Lewis made sure his first hit in the Majors was memorable, blasting a home run over the out-of-town scoreboard in left field at T-Mobile Park in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over the Reds. For a youngster who had to overcome a major knee injury

SEATTLE -- Kyle Lewis made sure his first hit in the Majors was memorable, blasting a home run over the out-of-town scoreboard in left field at T-Mobile Park in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over the Reds.

For a youngster who had to overcome a major knee injury in his first year in pro ball after being drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 2016, this was a sweet start.

Box score

"It’s just another part of my story,” Lewis said. “I’m going to continue writing my story every day. You don’t know what that entails each and every day, but I”ll continue to give it my best shot every day and see where I end up.”

Kyle Seager made sure Lewis’ hit came in a winning effort by launching a go-ahead two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the eighth to help break Seattle’s six-game losing streak.

Seager has been red hot of late, batting .314 with 16 home runs in 43 games since July 22, but the 31-year-old seemed more thrilled for his young teammate.

“That was pretty special,” Seager said. “First day, the jitters and everything ... to get that first hit out of the way, and for it to be a pretty loud one was pretty cool.”

Lewis’ shot was projected at 426 feet with an exit velocity of 106.2 mph -- the Mariners’ hardest-hit ball of the night -- according to Statcast, as the rookie turned around a 94-mph fastball on a 2-0 count.

“Lewis has big-time power,” said manager Scott Servais. “I’m super excited for him. It’s a great experience for these young kids. They’ve worked really hard to get here and they need to enjoy it. When you get your first hit as a homer, he should have a smile on his face.”

“It was a lot of fun,” said Lewis. “Just trying to keep it as simple as possible, trying not to make things bigger than they are. But when I hit that, it was definitely like an out-of-body experience a little bit, for sure.”

The only thing missing was fellow rookie Justus Sheffield’s first MLB victory, as the Reds came from behind with a two-run homer by Brian O’Grady -- off reliever Austin Adams in the seventh -- to eliminate the left-hander as the pitcher of record.

Sheffield gave up seven hits and three walks over six innings, but limited the Reds to one run with the help of four double-play grounders. The Mariners’ No. 9-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, remains 0-1 with a 4.43 ERA after four starts.

Having played with Lewis in Double-A Arkansas earlier in the season, Sheffield also was relishing his teammate’s moment in the sun.

“That was the highlight of the night for me,” Sheffield said. “Even when I was in the game, I was still pumped up, fist pumping. Just seeing what he has been through these past couple years, and getting to play with him in Arkansas, it’s nothing but joy on this side. I’m just very happy for him and glad he’s up here.”

Sheffield and Lewis are two of the youngsters Seattle is building its future hopes around, and both performed well as Seattle improved to 59-86.

The Mariners used nine rookies in the game, including Donnie Walton -- another Tuesday callup -- as a ninth-inning defensive replacement. Lewis and Walton became the 64th and 65th players used by the Mariners this season, which breaks the MLB record of 64 by the Rangers in 2014.

“It doesn’t matter where we’re at in the standings, or what our win-loss record is, when you’ve got guys that are debuting and guys that are young and just getting here, there’s an excitement level there,” said Seager. “There’s a learning level. Every day brings something new. It can be a lot of fun, and there are certainly a lot of teaching moments.”

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