ATLANTA (AP) Andrew Albers is making up for lost time.
After going 1,463 days between big league victories, he now has two wins in less than a week.
”I try not to count that high,” Albers quipped after working into the sixth inning to lead the Seattle Mariners past the Atlanta Braves 6-5 on Monday night. ”I knew it had been a while.”
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The 31-year-old left-hander sounded more excited about the first hit and RBI of his career – in his first big league at-bat, a bouncer off the pitching hand of Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz that wound up being an infield hit.
After admiring the ball in his locker, Albers (2-0) quickly pointed out he also has two sacrifice bunts, leaving him with a career average of 1.000.
”I better sit on that one as long as I can,” he said. ”It’s only gonna go down from there.”
Albers beat his former organization, having spent most of the season at the Braves’ Triple-A club. He went 12-3 but never got a call to the big leagues.
Instead, Albers was dealt to the Mariners for cash on Aug. 11. He was called up by Seattle to make a start four days later, working six strong innings in a 3-1 win over Baltimore.
This time, he surrendered six hits and three earned runs in five-plus innings, helping to bolster Seattle’s injury riddled rotation.
”He’s been huge for us,” catcher Mike Zunino said. ”We’ve used a ton of guys this year.”
Zunino was part of a disputed play at the plate that help preserve the win for Seattle, which came into the night just 1 1/2 games out of an AL wild-card spot.
With the Braves trailing 6-2 in the sixth, a catcher’s interference call sparked a three-run rally. Ozzie Albies hit a two-run triple over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin and scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly. Pinch hitter Lane Adams reached on an infield single, stole second and raced for home when an infield dribbler was bobbled by second baseman Robinson Cano.
Cano retrieved the ball and threw home to get Adams. The Braves challenged the call, and it looked as though Adams may have gotten a toe on the plate a split-second before he was tagged. But the replays, from several different angles, weren’t definitive enough to overturn the call.
”That was a great job by Robby not to give up on the play,” Zunino said. ”That little bobble and recovery may have saved us the game.”
Edwin Diaz pitched the ninth for his 28th save. He surrendered a leadoff single to Ender Inciarte, but the Atlanta runner was thrown out attempting to steal second with slugger Freddie Freeman at the plate.
Freeman grounded out to end the game.
Foltynewicz (10-9) had another rough out for the Braves. He gave up nine hits and all six Seattle runs in 5 2/3 innings, losing for the fourth time in his last five starts.
”A little bit of tough luck early on in the game, and after that I sort of fell behind some people,” he said. ”It was a tough whole month. I need to regroup and focus a little more and get back out there.”
The Mariners had a dismal night defensively with four errors, but the Braves only took advantage of one.
In the first, shortstop Jean Segura botched a grounder and Mitch Haniger bobbled away the ball in right field trying to throw, but a double play kept Atlanta off the board.
The interference call on Zunino allowed the Braves to score an unearned run in the sixth, but they failed to take advantage again when first baseman Yonder Alonso dropped a routine throw that should have been the final out of the eighth.
Kurt Suzuki hit his 14th homer leading off the bottom half of the second, yet another blow for Atlanta’s surprisingly effective catching duo.
He has combined with Tyler Flowers for 25 homers and 81 RBIs.
Felix Hernandez and James Paxton are set to begin throwing workouts this week, a step toward returning to Seattle’s rotation.
Hernandez (5-4, 4.28 ERA) has battled shoulder issues much of the season. Paxton (12-3, 2.78 ERA) went on the DL with a strained pectoral muscle after an Aug. 10 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzalez (0-0, 8.44 ERA) has yet to last more than 4 1/3 innings in his three previous starts for Seattle.
Braves: RHP Lucas Sims (1-3, 5.24 ERA) makes his fifth start for Atlanta after spending much of the season in Triple-A. He is coming off his first big league win at Colorado.
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