The Mariners started their final road trip of the season in style. After slowly clawing away at the Minnesota Twins starter, Kyle Gibson, the M’s offense exploded. The team would eventually pile on ten runs in the dominating display. The game would finish10-1.
Everything worked just the way the Mariners would have hoped last night. James Paxton was dominate over his seven innings on the mound. The heart of the lineup was the source of most of the offense. And, with the win, the M’s held their ground in the Wild Card race. They sit just two games back of the final spot.
Yet, there was much more for Mariners fans to cheer about by nights end. Here are three things we learned last night in the 10-1 route.
Paxton Was In Top Form
Despite his 1-1 record over his last three starts, Paxton was quality for the third outing in a row. Last night happened to be the best out of the three. His unwavering command of his pitches and mid-nineties fastball kept Twins batters guessing all night.
His dancing curve-ball and extra fiery fastball helped Paxton to strike out a career-tying second best, nine batters. They also helped him allow just five hits. It was the seventh time this year that the Mariners faithful saw Paxton surrender five hits or fewer.
It has been no secret that the Mariners entire rotation has exceeded expectations this month. Paxton is one of those pitchers. Mariners fans knew that the Canadian could pitch, but last night, Paxton was near his best.
The 7th Inning Was The Luckiest
It took a while for the Mariners offense to finally explode. Behind the small ball of Robinson Cano, the M’s confidence grew. And, in the seventh inning, we saw the entire team firing on all cylinders.
The Mariners were able to bat around that frame. In total, they would amass six runs on five hits, two walks and two errors. It took the Twins an astonishing four pitchers in that inning alone to dispose of the locked in M’s.
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The inning was highlighted by Cano’s RBI infield single, Nelson Cruz’s two-RBI double and Kyle Seager’s RBI double.
Mariners fans should hope that this is just the beginning of this kind of offensive production. With five games left on the road trip (nine in all), the M’s will need every run they can get to keep themselves in the playoff race.
It Was Time For Streaks To End
Everyone knows that all good things must come to and end. Well, so to must all bad things. Thankfully for Cruz and Seager, they were able to snap their prolonged hit-less streaks.
Before Cruz broke his streak in a big way, he took a 0-13 -and an extended 3-24- into the seventh inning. It would be just before the seventh inning stretch when Cruz would decide to say, “enough is enough”.
His two-RBI double was one of the biggest plays of the inning, but it was just the start for Cruz.
Later in the game, he would hit a monster home run shot, almost hitting diners in the restaurant that looks over the field. In total, the ball would travel 454 feet before being stopped by the concrete wall.
Meanwhile, as Cruz was finally settling back into form, so was Seager. The third baseman had also been battling a cold spell of late. He too was in an 0-13 slump and an extended 3-21 spell.
After grounding out in the first, Seager became patient. Watching pitches go by, his less aggressive approach earned him two consecutive walks. His next at-bat he would finally see a pitch he liked, and capitalized on the opportunity. Seager would hit that RBI double that I referred to earlier. Unlike Cruz, Seager would not get another hit in the ballgame, but his streak was snapped.
The Mariners need these two men -who are part of the team’s three-headed offensive monster- if they want to have any shot at the final Wild Card spot.
Everyone knows about the announcer’s curse. Few know it better than the announcers themselves.
Over the years, Dave Sims has made amazing call, after amazing call. But, he has not be immune to the curse. Last night, Sims proved that the curse doesn’t just apply for the team he announces for; it will cross state-lines if it has to.
Sims had been giving score updates from around the league all game. Midway through the ballgame he had let Mariners fans know that there was a perfect game going on in Oakland.
The Athletics pitcher, Kendall Graveman, had finished six innings of flawless throwing. That was until Sims opened his mouth.
As soon as Graveman took the mound after Sims call, he gave up a hit. He didn’t just give up a hit later in the game, or even later in the inning. It was the very first batter after Sims made his announcement.
This is just more evidence that the announcers curse is real, and it may be as strong as it has ever been.