SEATTLE -- Somewhat lost in all the commotion of the Mariners' 7-6 win over the A's on Saturday, was the performance of Marco Gonzales, who provided a boost to the club and his own confidence with four scoreless innings of relief."I thought Marco Gonzales really saved the day," Mariners manager Scott
SEATTLE -- Somewhat lost in all the commotion of the Mariners' 7-6 win over the A's on Saturday, was the performance of Marco Gonzales, who provided a boost to the club and his own confidence with four scoreless innings of relief.
"I thought Marco Gonzales really saved the day," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He deserved in the win, didn't ultimately get it, but [an] outstanding job. Used his pitches both sides of the plate, was aggressive, attacked, great pickoff move … really positive outing from him, which is great."
Gonzales, who struck out five, followed a shaky start by Yovani Gallardo and a rough outing from Casey Lawrence, who was initially inserted for long-relief duty.
It was what was needed for Gonzales, too. The southpaw, acquired in a trade with the Cardinals in July, owned a 7.40 in five starts with the Mariners before the addition of starter Mike Leake last week relegated him to the bullpen.
But Saturday was a chance for Gonzales to reset.
"I was really just trying to let it rip," Gonzales said. "I wasn't trying to think about too much, just try to fill up the zone. Just be effective, give us a chance to win. It was pretty simple, I was just trying to throw everything for strikes. Just let it rip.
"I don't want to settle on [Saturday's outing,] either. I want to keep getting better and keep building and keep doing the little things right."
The root of Gonzales' problems since the trade has been the ineffectiveness of his sinker, which he throws more than any other pitch with a 47.5 percent usage rate. Opposing hitters were hitting .409 and slugging .750 off the pitch, which got him into trouble in his starts.
While his sinker is his most-used pitch, his changeup is his most deadly, as it generates a whiff about 16 percent of the time. On Saturday, his changeup was responsible for all five of his strikeouts.
Saturday's outing showed glimpses of the player the Mariners believe they acquired in July: someone who can contribute for them this season and beyond.
"We believe in him. He has a bright future," Servais said. "It's been a rough start [for] him here. Excited for him to have a really good outing, and hopefully he can build upon that."
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.