An exciting first inning paved the way for a drama-free night at the ballpark . . . and that was a good thing for the 16,000-plus Mariners fans who showed up Tuesday night. Seattle led 4-0 after the first inning, 7-0 after six, and hit six home runs on the way to a comfortable 11-4 win over the Padres. It was the largest win margin of the season and only the second time that they won by more than three runs.
3B Kyle Seager had a three-run homer in the first inning. C Mike Zunino added two more. The Mariners tied a Safeco Field record of six in a game; Seager’s was the most important.
James Paxton has a way of putting together pitching lines that make you look twice. He had six shutout innings of three-hit ball, but that doesn’t mean he was on his game. The Mariners had the bullpen going in the second inning, when Paxton walked three consecutive batters to load the bases with two outs. He got out of that jam, wriggled out of another in the fourth, and somehow got the win and a significant drop in his season ERA – from 5.08 to 4.31 – on a night when he was less than stellar. Five walks and 109 pitches in six innings was good enough for his first win of the season.
Considering that the worst thing that happened to the first six batters was leadoff hitter Seth Smith getting gunned down trying to stretch a single into a double, there was no lack of offense from the get-go. Seattle’s first six reached base, with Seager’s big blow delivering a 4-0 lead. Seattle had 15 hits, including homers from Seager, Logan Morrison, Justin Ruggiano, Nelson Cruz and two from Zunino.
The return of LHP Roenis Elias could last longer than expected. Manager Lloyd McClendon said before Tuesday’s game that RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, for whom Elias is holding down a spot in the rotation, could be out longer than expected. Iwakuma (strained shoulder muscle) is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list this week but had his return delayed by soreness in the muscle during a throwing session. It should be at least two weeks before Iwakuma is close to being ready . . . Padres 1B Wil Myers was a late scratch for Tuesday’s game . . . Mariners SS Chris Taylor returned to action Tuesday after missing Sunday’s win over Oakland with a sore right hand. … Zunino was in an 0-for-10 slump before hitting a single and two homers in consecutive at-bats.
Elias will wait another day for his next start, as the Mariners used the Monday off day and a two-game series with San Diego to shuffle their rotation. Rather than start back-to-back lefties against the right-heavy Padres, the Mariners will move RHP Taijuan Walker (1-3, 8.13 ERA) up a day and push Elias back to Thursday against the Red Sox. RHP James Shields (4-0, 4.25 ERA) is scheduled for San Diego after giving up seven home runs over his two previous May starts.
That was a fun game. I hope they do more like that!!!