Mariners push streak to 6 on Healy's hot night

July 1st, 2018

SEATTLE -- If is going to "Turn Ahead the Clock," he'd like it to land on a playoff finish for his Mariners. The long-time Mariner ace's best days might be in the past, but a postseason berth could finally be in his future if Seattle continues churning out wins.
The Mariners made it six in a row with Saturday's 6-4 victory over the Royals on a fun promotional night at Safeco Field with players from both teams wearing futuristic uniforms, Dee Gordon spending the entire night with a backward cap and Hernandez shaking off a rough start to improve to 8-6 despite a career-high 5.11 ERA.
"We're just living a dream, man. We're having fun," said Hernandez, who has done seemingly everything in his career except play in the postseason. "This is the best team I've ever been on in 14 years. I love these guys. They're pretty good. They never quit, they always grind. It's fun."

snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a 4-for-4 night with three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the second to pace a 14-hit night for the Mariners.
The win pulled Seattle within a game and a half of Houston for the American League West lead at 53-31, the first time the club has been 22 games over .500 since the final game of 2003. The Mariners remain seven games ahead of Oakland for the second AL Wild Card berth.

Hernandez continued having first-inning issues as he gave up four straight hits -- including a three-run homer by Mike Moustakas -- to open the game before settling in. He's allowed 27 hits and 20 runs in 18 games in the first frame for a 10.00 ERA, while giving up five homers and a .342 opponent's batting average.
The Venezuelan veteran hurt his back working out two days earlier and it took a little while to loosen up, but he said not starting was never a question.
"The last two days, it was real tight," he said. "It was bad. I put heat packs on it between innings, I couldn't sit. I had to stand the whole game. But I'll be fine. I had to go out there and wear these uniforms. That was pretty cool.
"The only problem was the umpire wouldn't let me wear my hat backward. He said it was too much distraction. The jersey out, the hat backward, the earrings. Before he said something, I said, 'Dude, this is the future. Relax.' But that was fun."
It was more fun once Hernandez got rolling as he retired 13 of the final 16 batters he faced. The 32-year-old wound up going five innings with six hits and three runs on 81 pitches. Four Seattle relievers preserved the lead, with closing out the ninth for his Major League-leading 31st save.

In addition to Healy's career-high-tying four hits, Mitch Haniger was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI as the Mariners roughed up Royals starter (2-10, 5.56 ERA) for six runs and 13 hits in six innings. Kansas City finished June with a 5-21 record and dropped to 25-57 overall.

The Royals scored once off in the seventh to cut the lead to 6-4 and then had two on and two out against Alex Colome in the eighth when ripped a 104-mph shot up the middle. But Dee Gordon dove quickly to his right to glove the grounder and flipped the ball to second for the forceout to end the threat.
"That was a big play in the ballgame, no doubt," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I thought Colome was making pitches and certainly not giving in, but Dee picked us up. He's done an outstanding job coming back in at second base. The range, the instincts, he wants the ball hit to him. Here's a guy that didn't have a great offensive night and he knows how to separate it from his defense. Dee impacts the game every night. It's amazing."

The Mariners are now 39-0 in games where Diaz enters with a lead. The 24-year-old closer's 31 saves are already a Mariners record prior to the All-Star break and he's on pace for 60 for the season, which would be the second-most in MLB history.
"I can't leave Dee out because he put so much into it and I respect the heck out of him for it. But , with those arms, my goodness, you can't really deny that. I think he's going to take the trophy home, but Dee gets an honorable mention." -- Healy, on which Mariner wore the "Turn Ahead the Clock" uniform the best
"I'm going down as the best-dressed player in history. Nobody has ever rocked that uniform better. You're welcome, Mr. Griffey." -- Gordon, after doing his backward hat tribute to the former Mariner legend
(7-2, 3.65 ERA) pitches on his bobblehead day in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT series finale against Royals right-hander (2-2, 2.25). Paxton is 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA in five career starts against Kansas City, including a no-decision in April this year when he gave up six hits and two runs with 10 strikeouts over six innings in a 4-2 win.