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Gonzales shows growth, aims to work deeper

Lefty logs 4 2/3 innings vs. Braves, avoids major damage
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Although he didn't have his best stuff Tuesday night, Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales took strides toward becoming a complete pitcher by working around some mistakes in a 4-0 loss to the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Making his fourth start since joining the Mariners via trade from St. Louis, Gonzales allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He walked three batters and threw 99 pitches, 59 for strikes. However, he also overcome adversity to keep the Mariners in the game after a leadoff home run in the fourth by the Braves' Nick Markakis.

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ATLANTA -- Although he didn't have his best stuff Tuesday night, Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales took strides toward becoming a complete pitcher by working around some mistakes in a 4-0 loss to the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Making his fourth start since joining the Mariners via trade from St. Louis, Gonzales allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He walked three batters and threw 99 pitches, 59 for strikes. However, he also overcome adversity to keep the Mariners in the game after a leadoff home run in the fourth by the Braves' Nick Markakis.

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"With every outing, I am getting more experience and trying to learn through those innings," Gonzales said. "Those are great learning experiences for me. Trying to make it through the fifth inning is tough, but with every outing I am learning more and more to use towards the next one."

Gonzales has not made it out of the fifth inning in any of his starts this year. Tuesday, he got two quick outs but surrendered a walk to Freddie Freeman after a lengthy battle. Gonzales then gave up a single to Braves outfielder Matt Kemp before departing from the game.

As he reflected on the inning, Gonzales thought he made some good pitches to Freeman. Yet, he knows that he has to locate better and be more efficient on the mound.

"I am really trying to fine-tune those pitches and not trying to pick my spots too early," Gonzales said. "I want to fill the zone a little better and hopefully, it can help me lower my pitch count and help me through the fifth inning."

Mariners manager Scott Servais thought Gonzales pitched well, praising him for working through humid conditions against a tough lineup.

"I think he has a bright future ahead of him and he has things to learn," Servais said. "That third time through the lineup is a challenge, like for all guys in the league right now. He has to just get over the hump there."

Video: SEA@ATL: Servais on lack of offense in loss to Braves

The Mariners could use Gonzales to log more innings with some of their key starters recovering from injuries. With Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, and Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list, the team is counting on their young starters to step up.

Against the Braves, Gonzales showed he can avoid big innings. Now, he needs limit the walks and go deeper into games.

"I am going to take every experience out of this one and just try to learn and grow to get better," Gonzales said.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

Seattle Mariners, Marco Gonzales