Brewers spoil Griffey's night behind Gorzelanny
Southpaw pitches into seventh for first time in more than two years
SEATTLE -- Kyle Lohse's runs came early. Tom Gorzelanny's came late.
The result was the same, a blowout victory for a Brewers team no less battered by injuries, but suddenly swinging the bats with abandon. The latest rout was a 10-0 win over the Mariners on Saturday night at Safeco Field that began as a celebration of Ken Griffey Jr. and ended as an affirmation that these Brewers can still hit, even without the regular core of their lineup.
The Brewers won behind Lose on Friday, 10-5, then rewarded Gorzelanny's seven-inning gem on Saturday by scoring six runs in the seventh inning and four more in the ninth for the Brewers' fourth victory in the last five games of this long road trip.
Before this weekend, the Brewers had not scored 10 runs in back-to-back games since April 29-30, when they were 14-11 and harboring hope of contending in the National League Central.
"It's like we were talking about, the season is not lost," said Gorzelanny, who delivered his best start in more than two years. "Obviously, playoffs seem to be out of the picture, but there's still a lot to be done this season and a lot to be proven. Guys aren't giving up."
Scooter Gennett's three-run home run highlighted the Brewers' six-run seventh, and Jonathan Lucroy's fourth hit of the night came in the four-run ninth. Even though they had been limited to three hits through the first six innings by Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, eight different Brewers accounted for the team's 16 hits, and seven different players drove in a run.
The Brewers' first run was the most talked about. With Gorzelanny and Iwakuma locked in a scoreless tie, Carlos Gomez led off the seventh with a bunt single, then took second on Caleb Gindl's hit-and-run infield single and broke for home on Khris Davis' grounder to third.
Instead of trying to slide, Gomez turned his right shoulder into Mariners catcher Humberto Quintero, jarring loose the ball. As Quintero lay in the grass, nursing a right leg injury, Gomez touched the plate for a 1-0 Brewers lead.
Quintero remained in the game for what would become a big inning. Juan Francisco, Yuniesky Betancourt and Gennett followed with successive run-scoring hits, Gennett's second Major League home run glancing off Mariners right fielder Michael Morse's glove and clearing the fence to make it 6-0. All of those runs scored in the span of seven Iwakuma pitches.
When Gomez stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning, Quintero had sharp words for him.
"I don't mean to hurt any player, but if he's in front of the plate, what am I going to do?" Gomez said. "You don't even have a second to think, you run over [him] and after that, the guy says, 'That's not a clean play.' I say: 'What are you talking about? What do you mean? You're in front of the plate.'"
Quintero, Gomez said, argued that he'd given Gomez an opening to slide. Gomez disagreed.
"He's mad," Gomez said. "He talked to me in bad language, and I talked to him back, too. I said: 'Hey, come on. Keep it cool. You're in front of the plate, what do you want me to do?' And especially, I know what kind of catcher he is. I know he likes to drop the knee. I think it's best to defend myself.
"I respect he has a lot of time and a lot of years in this job, but he has to take it like a man, not [complain] about [things]."
Did Gomez worry the disagreement would spill into Sunday's series finale?
"I don't think so," Gomez said. '"I didn't do nothing wrong. … If they want to go [further], I'm ready for it."
Those fireworks and the Brewers' big night at the plate overshadowed the team's second consecutive premium pitching performance. Primarily a reliever in the past two seasons, Gorzelanny had not worked past the sixth inning in a start since June 1, 2011, for Washington against Pittsburgh, his second straight seven-inning outing at the time.
On Saturday, showing no ill effects from the line drive off his pitching elbow in his previous start that pushed back this outing by three days, or the Ken Griffey Jr. retirement ceremony that pushed back the start of the game by 27 minutes, Gorzelanny pitched seven innings again. He held Seattle scoreless on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
The Mariners have scored just 134 runs against left-handed pitchers, compared to 337 against righties. Gorzelanny proved particularly difficult for Seattle.
"Gorzo's really good against lefties," said Morse, who was a teammate of Gorzelanny in Washington. "He was working in and out of the zone, he was going soft-away, hard-in. Typical stuff, but he kept the ball down."
"He threw the ball well, you can't take anything away from him," acting Mariners manager Robby Thompson said. "He shut us down. Once again, we struggled against a left-handed pitcher on the mound, so we've got to do a better job of that."
The Brewers will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Manager Ron Roenicke would not mind another offensive onslaught.
"It makes it fun to sit back and watch it," Roenicke said. "There were a lot of good at-bats tonight."