Lopes' wild night, Beckham's slam lift Seattle

Infielder scores 2 runs, swipes bag, gets hit by pitch in 1st MLB start

July 26th, 2019

SEATTLE -- waited seven years to get to the Major Leagues, then wound up lasting just six innings in his first start for the Mariners after getting hit in the head by a 91 mph fastball earlier in the contest. But the 25-year-old provided a nice spark in his initial foray for Seattle, scoring a pair of runs in the Mariners’ 10-2 victory over the Tigers on Thursday night at T-Mobile Park.

Lopes got the call from Triple-A Tacoma this week after went on the 10-day injured list with a strained quadricep muscle in his left leg. With top second-base prospect sidelined by a broken finger, Lopes is getting an opportunity and hopes to make the most of it.

The 2012 sixth-round Draft choice was hit in the ear flap on the side of his helmet by Tigers starter Drew VerHagen in the fourth inning, but stayed in the game, stole second and then scored on ’s triple. He also scored after walking in his first Major League at-bat in the third.

After grounding out in the fifth, Lopes was replaced by utility man Dylan Moore in the seventh inning. Lopes was unavailable to talk after the game as he was being checked out for a possible concussion.

“That was scary,” manager Scott Servais said. “He got smoked pretty good. When he came out at the end, he said his jaw stiffened up and was a little sore. We’ve got to keep a close eye on that one. He got stung pretty good. People don’t realize how hard that ball is coming and how little reaction time you have. Hopefully Timmy will be OK. We’ll check on him tonight and see how he is tomorrow when he comes in.”

Lopes took a knee behind home plate after getting hit in the head as he was checked out by the athletic trainers, but told Servais he wanted to stay in and keep playing.

“After he got over the initial getting stunned by what happened, it was tough to come out of the game,” Servais said. “But he wasn’t feeling great by the sixth inning, so we just had to get him out of there.”

Servais has called this a “season of opportunity” from the start as the Mariners look to give young players a chance to show where they might fit and Lopes is just the latest example. The youngster out of Los Angeles was drafted by the Mariners, but traded to the Blue Jays in 2017.

But he signed back with Seattle as a six-year Minor League free agent last winter and put together by far his most productive offensive season this year for Tacoma by posting a .302/.362/.480 line with 10 homers and 24 stolen bases in 91 games.

Television cameras caught an emotional moment with his mom and dad prior to his MLB debut on Wednesday when he was a ninth-inning defensive replacement and Lopes was greeted by a loud ovation from the Mariners’ crowd when he came to the plate for his first at-bat on Thursday.

“It’s a great story,” Servais said. “It’s awesome. That’s what the game is about. We’ve had a few of those this year. Austin Nola, guys that have been grinding through it and you give them an opportunity. It’s an accomplishment. People don’t realize how hard it is to get to the big leagues. It’s timing, you have to be a good player obviously. You have to grind through it. Big league baseball has been going on a long time and there’s been something like 19,700 players.”

The Mariners have done their best to increase that number this season. Lopes is the 12th Mariner to make his Major League debut this season, second only to the Padres’ 13 for the most in MLB. Seattle leads the Majors in most players used with 57, with no other team having utilized more than 48.

The Mariners took advantage of a costly Tigers’ error to score five runs in the third, capped by ’s second grand slam and 15th homer of the season as Seattle (43-63) won for the third time in its past four games. Detroit has lost 14 of its last 16 in falling to 30-68, the worst record in the Majors.