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Mariners unable to overcome Gonzales' start

Lefty chased after 3-plus innings; bats rally with 5-run sixth
August 22, 2018

SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais frequently praises his starting pitchers and long relievers for keeping his team in the game.After Wednesday's 10-7 loss to the Astros at Safeco Field, he had to thank his offense instead."Today's game, obviously we got behind the eight ball early," Servais said. "Down in

SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais frequently praises his starting pitchers and long relievers for keeping his team in the game.
After Wednesday's 10-7 loss to the Astros at Safeco Field, he had to thank his offense instead.
"Today's game, obviously we got behind the eight ball early," Servais said. "Down in the game, I thought our guys didn't quit. We put some pressure on."
Starter Marco Gonzales yielded eight runs on 11 hits in three-plus innings, exiting the game after a Jose Altuve RBI single in what would become a five-run fourth by the Astros. But Seattle put together a five-run inning of its own in the sixth, making the game competitive again for the final three frames.
Mitch Haniger capped off the rally with his 20th homer of the season, a two-run shot that cut the Astros' lead to two. But the Mariners ultimately couldn't weather Gonzales' short start and were unable to score again after their big inning. Gonzales said consistency was his biggest issue.

"They had a good game plan," Gonzales said. "They mixed up their approach from at-bat to at-bat and I had trouble keeping them off balance."
Gonzales was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, but his start was pushed back in order to give him extra rest. He said that his arm felt good after the long layoff.
"I'd like to not think that [rust] was a factor, but I don't know if anybody will ever know," Gonzales said.

The lefty had become the workhorse in the Mariners' rotation -- at one point capturing a victory in five straight decisions from the end of June through July. But he earned his fourth straight loss to push the Mariners 5 1/2 games back in the American League West.
Concerns over Gonzales' workload cropped up midseason when it became clear the 26-year-old was on pace to blow by his previous season high in innings. Gonzales reached 145 2/3 with Wednesday's start, well past the 126 1/3 he totaled last year between the Minors and Majors. He also got up to 122 innings in 2014 in the Minors prior to his Tommy John surgery in April '16.
One player for whom some extra rest did work out was Nelson Cruz. The Mariners' regular designated hitter was limited to pinch-hitting duties Tuesday due to back spasms, but he finished the day 2-for-4 with with a double and a home run.
"I feel good, that's what's important," Cruz said. "It's important to show that we can come back and make it interesting. Unfortunately, what we need is a victory. We don't need to get close. We need to win."

SEGURA LEAVES GAME
Shortstop Jean Segura did not come out to play defense after striking out in the fourth inning due to an issue with his rib. Servais said he was not sure whether the injury would linger.
"Jean started the game today, didn't feel great," Servais said. "Had something up in his upper rib cage that was bothering him a little bit. Tweaked it during the game, so we got him out of there."
HOT CORNER CANO
Robinson Cano made his first Major League appearance at third base. The highlight: a backhanded stab and throw of a ball that left the bat at 105.1 mph per Statcast™.
"A tough one he made look easy," Servais said. "Robbie's a talented player, he's got good hands. I thought he handled it really well." More >

SOUND SMART
Cano smacked a two-out RBI double in the fifth inning that scored Dee Gordon. It marked the 525th double of Cano's 14-year Major League career, tying Ted Williams for 45th on the all-time list.
"It's good to accomplish something like that," Cano said. "But losing is something -- that's what we care about: winning and losing right now."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Haniger made a brilliant diving play in left-center field in the ninth inning that robbed Josh Reddick of a hit and likely saved a run. He covered 85 feet in 4.7 seconds, good for a 48-percent catch probability and a four-star catch, according to Statcast™.
"Mitch isn't a natural center fielder per se, but he's doing a great job out there," Servais said. "He closed on that ball. When he left his feet, I don't know, but he timed it just right. It was a heck of a play."

HE SAID IT
"I think we have a lot of time left. I think we have a lot of time left to get everything firing on all cylinders, and this team's done a great job. When one part struggles, the other part steps up. We're really close for everything to be firing, and we have September to get hot, and I think that's gonna be good for us."
-- Gonzales, on the Mariners not being able to get offense and pitching clicking in the same game
UP NEXT
The Mariners get a day off Thursday before traveling to Arizona for a three-game Interleague series on Players' Weekend, when the players and coaching staff will put their personalities on display with colorful uniforms and unique nicknames. Erasmo Ramirez (0-2, 5.49 ERA) gets the nod for the Mariners after holding the Dodgers to one run over five innings last time out. The D-backs will counter with Zack Godley (13-6, 4.44), who gave up six runs in five innings against the Padres in his last start. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:40 p.m. PT.

David Gottlieb covers the Mariners for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGottliebMLB.