When the M’s needed a big week against a couple of subpar ballclubs, they stepped up and got one. They finally improved to two games under .500 after a week’s play, after being 4 games under after the last two weeks concluded. They went 4-2 on the week, and came from behind in each series to get the series win.
The M’s opened up a week homestand starting Tuesday when the Angels came in town for a three game stand. In the opener James Paxton was on the hill and didn’t have his sharpest outing. He went 5.1 innings and allowed just one earned run, but walked five hitters and threw 105 pitches. The game went back and forth, and was deadlocked at 2-2 until Danny Valencia homered to left to make it 4-3. Kole Calhoun then sent one into the right field seats in the bottom of the 8th to make it 4-3 before Robbie hit a game tying single in the 9th. But when the game went to extras the Angels scored two runs in the 11th to put the game away. The M’s would lose 6-4.
In game two the Mariners jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to homers from Robinson Cano and Jean Segura and an RBI single from Nelson Cruz. But Hisashi Iwakuma and rookie Emilio Pagan combined for a disastrous sixth inning, as the Angels would score six runs in the sixth. The damage could have been much more substantial if not for a robbed home run, courtesy of Guillermo Heredia. But the M’s would come through in the 8th to take an 8-6 lead thanks to a game-tying double from Jarrod Dyson and a 2 RBI single from Jean Segura. Despite Kole Calhoun having Edwin Diaz’s number for the second night in a row when he hit a solo shot in the 9th, it was not enough for a comeback. The M’s would hang on for an 8-7 victory.
In the rubber match it was all Seattle. Ariel Miranda, who has turned into one of the most consistent arms on the Mariners staff, had another sturdy performance, going 7 innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits. On offense, the Mariners scored one in the 1st, three in the 3rd, two in the 4th, one in the 6th, one in the 7th, and thee in the 8th to take the game 11-3 and win their third straight home series.
On Friday the Rangers came into town for a weekend series. Game one turned out to be a major pitchers duel. Yovani Gallardo went 6 innings for the Mariners, allowing just one earned run on four hits, while Rangers ace Yu Darvish threw seven innings of one run ball, surrendering just six hits. The game was tied at 1 going into extras, with the only runs coming from a misplayed ball from Ben Gamel and a solo shot from Robbie Cano. After the M’s used seven relievers, with two of them getting injured in Jean Machi and Evan Marshall, Rougned Odor hit a two-run bomb in the top of the 13th and the M’s would lose 3-1 after failing to reciprocate in the bottom of the inning.
In Saturday’s game the Mariners dominated for a solid 8-2 win. Chase De Jong thrived in SafeCo going six innings, allowing just one run on a 428 foot homer to Joey Gallo. But the M’s exploded for seven runs in the 7th highlighted by singles from Danny Valencia, Taylor Motter, and Ben Gamel.
Sunday’s game consisted of toughness and grit out of the Mariners. Being down 3-0 in the 7th, they scored three runs in the bottom of the 7th on four walks and a 2 RBI single from Danny Valencia. Then in the 8th Kyle Seager hit his second homer of the year to give the M’s a 4-3. Edwin Diaz had no trouble in the 9th, sending the Rangers down 1, 2, 3 to give the M’s another series win at home and improve them to a 15-17 record.
The Mariners have now won four straight home series and have really made the best of their situation, given all of their injuries.
Speaking of injuries, one more crucial one was tacked on to their list this week. James Paxton was placed on the DL after straining his forearm. But he is expected to miss minimal time and be back during the next homestand, along with Felix and Mitch Haniger.
The Mariners will spend a week on the road as they travel to Philadelphia for a quick two game stand with the Phillies before heading north to Toronto for a four game series with the Blue Jays. This is another week that the M’s can and should definitely use to their advantage, playing two struggling teams. It is very plausible that they could finally bring their record above .500 by the end of the week.
MVP: This week’s MVP is a tie for the first time ever, as two players were both more than worthy. The first recipient has to go to Jean Segura. The guy really is a hitting machine. This week he hit .481 on the week, collecting a whopping 13 hits in six games, along with a homer and 5 RBI’s. He also had the RBI walk that gave the Mariners their first run on Sunday. The other is Danny Valencia, who is finally starting to come into his own, raising his average 46 points this week, along with two homers and clutch RBI singles on Saturday and Sunday in both of the Mariners big rallies.