Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Mariners bats heat up frozen Minnesota

First-pitch temperature of 27 degrees coldest in history for both clubs
April 7, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- When they talk about using the whole field to hit, normally the foul poles aren't included. But the Mariners extended their reach a couple important inches in Saturday's 11-4 victory over the Twins.Kyle Seager and Guillermo Heredia homered off the opposite foul poles at Target Field as the

MINNEAPOLIS -- When they talk about using the whole field to hit, normally the foul poles aren't included. But the Mariners extended their reach a couple important inches in Saturday's 11-4 victory over the Twins.
Kyle Seager and Guillermo Heredia homered off the opposite foul poles at Target Field as the Mariners offense snapped out of an early-season cold spell to top the Twins in one of the chilliest games in Major League history.
"Better fair than foul, so that was good," said Seager, whose two-run shot in the fourth got things started.
Heredia then doinked one off the left-field pole for a two-run blast in the eighth as Seattle broke the game open with five runs, bolstered by a bases-loaded double by Ryon Healy.

"We'll take it," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose club improved to 4-3. "The field is just wide enough. Between Seag's hit and Heredia late in the game, it was great to see. Kyle had a had good day offensively and it was a big hit by Healy. Great to see him come through in that situation. He's hit some balls hard and hasn't had a lot to show for it. But a big at-bat, and good to see him put a smile on his face."

Mike Leake improved to 2-0 as he allowed three hits and two runs over five frames for Seattle. After throwing a three-hit shutout in his season debut, Twins right-hander Jose Berrios took the loss, as the 23-year-old gave up six hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Temperature at first pitch was 27 degrees, breaking the previous Twins record of 31 degrees, set on April 17, 2014. It was also the coldest recorded start temperature for a Mariners game, breaking the previous mark of 34 degrees in games at Detroit in 1996 and Chicago in 2013. The coldest recorded first-pitch temperature for any MLB contest is 23 degrees in a game between the Rockies and Braves in Denver in 2013.
Servais, who grew up in Wisconsin, said it was the coldest game he'd ever taken part in, and he credited his troops for maintaining focus through the frigid conditions.
"Each inning got a little colder on the fingertips, but I still felt pretty good," said Leake. "When the wind picks up with the cold, it definitely dries out your fingers. I don't think this is baseball weather, but that's OK. We came out with a win."

After going 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position in back-to-back losses, the Mariners were 5-for-9 in this one. Seager went 2-for-5 to reach 1,000 career hits and snap a 3-for-22 slump of his own, while Healy broke out of a 1-for-21 slump to start his Mariners career with his bases-loaded double in the eighth.
Miguel Sano had an RBI double and three walks for the Twins, including a walk in the seventh that loaded the bases with one out. But reliever Juan Nicasio shut down that threat by striking out Eddie Rosario and getting Logan Morrison to pop out to preserve Seattle's two-run lead at the time.

"Juan loves to pitch and the more we see him out there, the more comfortable he gets," Servais said of Nicasio, the Mariners' primary free-agent addition over the offseason. "He's used to being in those spots. It's nice to be able to bring him in and he came through. That's the save. You don't get a save for it, but he really did save the ballgame for us."
Dee beats the defense:
The Mariners' other key blow off Berrios wasn't hit nearly as hard as Seager's line-drive homer, but Dee Gordon found just the right spot with a two-run single up the middle through a drawn-in Twins infield in the fifth. After Ichiro Suzuki singled to left and Mike Marjama doubled with one out, Gordon made it 5-0 with his grounder up the middle, a slow roller with a 62.5-mph exit velocity that had a hit probability of just 11 percent.
"Dee was just trying to stay in the middle of the field," Servais said. "The way they were defending him, it was just, 'Tap it in, just tap it through the middle,' was what [bench coach Manny Acta] was saying. And sure enough, he did. Big, big hit in the game, no question. That's what Dee does. He puts the bat on the ball and doesn't try to do too much up there and most times, it works out for him."

Twins double up: The Twins finally got to Leake with leadoff doubles in the sixth by Joe Mauer and Sano, which knocked the Mariners' starter out after 92 pitches. But Leake didn't get a lot of help from Ichiro in left field, as Mauer's hit dropped in front of the 44-year-old as he ran to his left in the gap, and Sano's got over his head. Statcast™'s catch probability was 88 percent on Mauer's double and 67 on Sano's. The Twins then cut the lead to 5-3 on RBI singles by Rosario and Eduardo Escobar off lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski before Dan Altavilla came on for the final two outs.
"The balls seemed to hang up there a while," Servais said. "There was a read on them, where he was at. They're plays that could have been made. It would have been tough, but those are plays you're probably accustomed to seeing him make. But those guys were standing out there a long time and it's 25 degrees. You're not going to have the same range or mobility you're normally going to have."

"I think it got in the sun more than anything a little for Ichi and I wasn't there to help him. Once it got in the sun, it was a little tough to call it. We didn't communicate before the pitch if the sun was n his eyes, so I thought he had it. I wouldn't put it on a 10-time Gold Glover. I'll put it on the guy [just learning the outfield]. I'll take it." -- Gordon, on the two doubles in the sixth
Cano has hit safely in all seven games and is batting .440 after going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. It's the second-longest season-opening streak of his career, behind a 10-game start in 2010 for the Yankees.

Marco Gonzales looks to follow up on a solid season debut as he takes on the Twins for the first time in his career in Sunday's 11:10 a.m. PT series finale at Target Field. The 26-year-old lefty threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball in a win at the Giants on Tuesday, which was the deepest he's gone in a game in 15 career starts.

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