SEATTLE -- Two months ago, nobody could possibly have imagined writing a Mariners script where Sam Gaviglio throws six strong innings and Tyler Cloyd picks up the victory in relief in a key game against the Blue Jays in front of an electric atmosphere at Safeco Field.Neither Gaviglio or Cloyd
SEATTLE -- Two months ago, nobody could possibly have imagined writing a Mariners script where Sam Gaviglio throws six strong innings and Tyler Cloyd picks up the victory in relief in a key game against the Blue Jays in front of an electric atmosphere at Safeco Field.
Neither Gaviglio or Cloyd were even in the Mariners' Major League camp in Spring Training. Gaviglio, who pitched Double-A ball last year, has played a huge role as a midseason fill-in during Seattle's lengthy run of rotation injuries and is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in six appearances, including five starts, after his latest effort in Friday's 4-2 victory.
Cloyd is even more of a long-shot contributor, as the 30-year-old right-hander opened the year pitching in Independent ball and only was signed to pitch for Triple-A Tacoma when general manager Jerry Dipoto was scrambling to add arms after five starters went down with injuries.
But there he was Friday, called on by manager Scott Servais to pitch the seventh inning, and he wound up getting the win after a scoreless frame that was aided hugely by a great relay play from center fielder Jarrod Dyson to shortstop Taylor Motter to catcher Mike Zunino to nail Kevin Pillar trying to score from first on a Josh Donaldson double.
After putting up a 1.10 ERA in four starts in Tacoma, Cloyd was called up seven days ago to serve as a long reliever if needed, but had yet to pitch until being thrust into a game trailing 2-1 with a largely pro-Toronto crowd creating a frenzy.
And when the Mariners rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh after his scoreless frame, the former Phillies starter earned his first Major League win since June 6, 2013.
"Unbelievable," said Cloyd, who spent 2015 pitching in Korea and sat out 2016 following Tommy John surgery on his elbow. "The goal since 2013 has been to get back. And to finally be back, obviously I was a little antsy out there in the bullpen waiting to get in. But I knew I had to just keep my body in shape and be ready to go in at any moment. They called down and you get locked in and ready to go."
Servais used most of his front-line relievers in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Twins and didn't want to burn the same group in another 2-1 deficit, so he called on Cloyd in a bit of a surprising move.
"You can only pitch James Pazos and Dan Altavilla so many nights in a row," Servais said. "So we went to Cloyd and if we hadn't scored, we were going to keep running him out there. He certainly throws the ball over the plate, handles himself well and is very competitive. It was great to get him in there tonight."
As for Gaviglio? The youngster has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his five starts and proved cool under pressure in an interesting situation with the raucous crowd of Canadians.
"I can't say enough," Servais said. "He was a little on the edge early and they certainly had plenty of chances to put a big number up there, but he kept it in check. Then he got it going pretty good there in the fourth and fifth.
"After two innings, I didn't think we were going to get six innings out of him. But credit to him. That's really what he's done since Day 1 when he got here. He hasn't been over-amped and let it get away from him. He's kept it in check and given us a chance to win."
The youngster from Oregon sounded like a grizzled pro when asked about the crowd, which World Series veteran Jarrod Dyson said was like a playoff atmosphere.
"It was fun, but I wasn't really paying attention a whole lot," deadpanned Gaviglio. "It was just another baseball game."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [