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Gallardo finding footing as reliever

Mariners veteran allows one run in three innings of relief
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- It's not something he's used to, but Yovani Gallardo has been solid out of the bullpen for the Mariners since being removed from the starting rotation.

Gallardo wound up being a silver lining in the Mariners' 7-3 loss to the Royals, allowing one run on one hit in three innings of relief. His only blemish came off a two-out triple in the ninth to Jorge Bonifacio -- which right fielder Ben Gamel nearly caught on the warning track until it tumbled out of his glove as he slammed against the wall -- and a wild pitch in the ensuing at-bat to bring him home.

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SEATTLE -- It's not something he's used to, but Yovani Gallardo has been solid out of the bullpen for the Mariners since being removed from the starting rotation.

Gallardo wound up being a silver lining in the Mariners' 7-3 loss to the Royals, allowing one run on one hit in three innings of relief. His only blemish came off a two-out triple in the ninth to Jorge Bonifacio -- which right fielder Ben Gamel nearly caught on the warning track until it tumbled out of his glove as he slammed against the wall -- and a wild pitch in the ensuing at-bat to bring him home.

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All in all, Mariners manager Scott Servais likes what he's seen.

"I thought he threw the ball very well," Servais said of Gallardo, who's allowed one run in six innings since moving to the bullpen. "I think he was more up and down in the strike zone instead of in and out, which is a good sign. I think that's when he's most effective."

Video: KC@SEA: Servais on offensive struggles, Hernandez

Gallardo is producing better results than he was a starter, even in a small sample size. He has a 1.50 ERA and .136 batting average against as a reliever, a stark improvement from his 6.30 ERA and .285 batting average against as a starter.

Tuesday was only Gallardo's fifth Major League relief appearance in his 11-year career. The full-time transition to the bullpen is helping him with his approach and avoid big innings, which troubled him as a starter.

"I think it's helped me maybe a little bit," Gallardo said of being a reliever.

Gallardo's two appearances have come in low-pressure situations, with the Mariners leading by six runs against Houston in his first appearance and the Royals leading by four on Tuesday. Even so, Gallardo hasn't relaxed his approach or mentality on the mound.

"I'm going to do whatever I can to get guys out," Gallardo said. "No matter what the score is when I enter the situation that I'm in. We all know that everything can happen in this game. The last thing you want to do is really just give up multiple runs."

Being a great reliever isn't what Gallardo is fixated on just yet and he said he still considers himself a starter. But he's committed to helping the team win, which is something Servais has noticed and appreciated.

"He knows that's his role right now and he'll take the ball whenever he's asked to do it. And he's had a good attitude about it."

It's been noticed by his fellow bullpen members, too, from the day he joined them.

"He's a pro," reliever Steve Cishek said. "He knows how to go out there and get the job done. … he's just fit right in perfectly and, as you can see, he's throwing the ball great out there."

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Seattle Mariners, Yovani Gallardo