On Kingdome/Safeco Field Snowglobe night, I braved the unforgiving Seattle streets to park down in Pioneer Square for some pre-gaming at The Lodge as I waited for gametime. Yes indeed, I opted to go to the game with a couple friends, because SOMEONE had to do SOMETHING to stop this blasted losing! By gar, you knew the players alone wouldn’t be able to get it done without my help!
It also came in handy that James Paxton was on the mound. I don’t know if he was his old dominant self – I saw plenty of fastballs in the 93mph range, but he did start getting up there towards the end of his outing – but it looked like he had good command of his off-speed pitches to get lots of flailing swings and misses. 9 strikeouts overall in his 7 innings of work, giving up just 2 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs.
For a while there, it looked like that might JUST be enough. Nelson Cruz had a couple of RBI singles in the first and third innings, and Seager had a sac fly also in the third, to take an early 3-2 lead that held up through those seven innings, as Oakland’s starter Sean Manaea also settled down to go 7 innings. After Nick Vincent bridged the game in the eighth with a perfect inning of work, it looked like we were headed towards a nailbiter of a finish.
But, in the bottom of the eighth, all hell broke loose. Valencia (who had 3 more hits today as he’s snuggling into the 2-hole in the lineup) doubled to lead off the inning, followed by a Cano walk (he also had a hit and 2 runs scored), setting the table for the hero of the day. Nelson Cruz capped off his 3-hit, 5-RBI day with a 3-run blast – the 300th of his career – as the crowd went wild and cheered on his curtain call. THAT is the Nellie I hope to see more of in the second half.
A Haniger double and a wild pitch set up Seager to get his second sac fly of the night to put the game out of Grand Slam Harm’s Way at 7-2. From there, it was a matter of getting some of our better relievers some work. Scrabble came in, threw one pitch, and gave up a single. As Diaz warmed up in the bullpen, Steve Cishek came in and locked it all down with a double play and a lineout.
In Pre-All Star Break Transaction News: Sam Gaviglio was sent to Tacoma, since he won’t be needed in the rotation with the break coming up. Emilio Pagan was brought back for a little bullpen help (what with Gallardo’s heavy workload of late). We’ll see what happens after next week; will Gaviglio return? Will Gallardo get his old job back? Ooo, the intrigue!
The long national nightmare is over; the Mariners won a home game. There are two more very winnable games this weekend before the break, so let’s make sure we get this shit done, huh? Don’t make me come back over there!