Mike Montgomery isn’t just another left-hander to fill out the rotation anymore. The rookie starter turned in his finest outing Tuesday night at Safeco Field, a complete-game shutout helped by three hits from Dustin Ackley, as the Mariners pounded Kansas City 7-0 (box score) for their most convincing shutout victory of the season.
For all of Ackley’s heroics (3 for 4 with a fifth-inning homer), the key came when Montgomery pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first by getting a strikeout and inning-ending double play. The rookie southpaw was teetering in the early innings, but his ability to escape unscathed set the tone.
Montgomery won’t forget this performance for the rest of his career – and not just because he spent five years toiling in the Royals’ farm system before being traded to Tampa Bay in 2011. Three hits, a hit batter and an error on 1B Logan Morrison led to five Kansas City base runners in the first two innings, but Montgomery got out of that jam and never sniffed trouble again. He retired 16 batters at one point. The Royals’ only two runners after the second inning came after an error on SS Brad Miller and a two-out Kendrys Morales single in the ninth. It marked the fourth time in five career starts that Montgomery has held an opponent to two runs or fewer.
Anyone who saw LF Dustin Ackley in the lineup may have done a double-take. The fading regular had fallen so far into exile that his only start in the previous eight games came as a last-minute replacement for 2B Robinson Cano Thursday. But manager Lloyd McClendon saw Ackley’s 6-for-10 career against Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie and had a hunch he was due to break out. Ackley did that: Double, single and the two-run, game-breaking homer in the fifth.
“It was a cool experience . . . I felt really confident. After that third inning, a switch flipped, and I really had confidence in all my stuff.” — Montgomery
The shutout was the 15th in Mariners history by a rookie; the most recent was Roenis Elias against Detroit June 1, 2014 . . . DH Nelson Cruz was in the lineup, which came as somewhat of a surprise after he came out in the seventh inning of Monday’s loss with a displaced pelvic bone. Cruz had the bone popped back into place during the game and was back in action Tuesday – albeit as a designated hitter . . . Montgomery spent his first five seasons in the Kansas City organization without getting a cup of coffee. He was traded to Tampa Bay in 2011, and the Rays dealt him to Seattle at the end of spring training for RHP Erasmo Ramirez.
The Mariners’ Roenis Elias (4-4, 3.56 ERA) and Kansas City’s Danny Duffy (2-3, 5.87 ERA) will have a battle of lefties Wednesday night at Safeco Field. Kansas City’s Duffy is making his first start since May 16 and has spent almost a month on the disabled list with tendonitis in his left biceps. Elias has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his 11 starts since being called up from Triple-A in late April.
Great game, non? Chapeau to Montgomery for a great performance. And who listened to the post-game show? Shannon Drayer interviewed Dustin Ackley. I paraphrase:
SD: “We saw you down there in the dugout talking to Edgar Martinez – what did you two talk about?”
DA: “He told me to ‘get greedy.’ At that point, I had three hits, but he meant don’t be complacent – go up to bat and get greedy – get another hit.”
THAT is the attitude that should pervade that clubhouse. Win the first two of a three-game series? Don’t let up. Get greedy – win that third game. Get another hit, score another run, retire another batter, win another game. Get greedy.
That attitude is the only thing that will make up ground in the division and get us close to the playoffs. That attitude is the key to winning in the playoffs. That attitude is key to winning the whole thing. Listen to Edgar – get greedy.
Agreed regarding Edgar’s influence here. I have heard people questioning the timing of his hire, but I think it’s genius.
And I’ll bring out the broken record, one more time, and say I can’t wait for the day when we will never again see Miller at ss.
Genius and and M’s baseball decision? A rare statement.
Edgar didn’t invent the phrase, but maybe these guys never heard it. Not sure Edgar can change much, but I’m never sure how batting coaches help or hurt.
Montgomery is making a strong case at staying in the rotation when Kuma returns. In a Bob Wolcott-esque performance he settled down after rocky start. No easy feat to do against a team like the Royals. At this point do you let Paxton back in the rotation when he’s ready to return?
Also happy for Ackley, going a triple short of the cycle. As much heat he takes, if he can come anywhere close to meeting the admittedly high expectations that came with being the #2 pick of the draft he’ll be sticking around.
Can’t see them dropping Montgomery, Elias or Walker from the rotation. That leaves only Happ. Unless there is a trade. I have to believe Kuma will be back with the M’s in a week or two and starting games. They have to find out if he’s solid and recovered before anyone is dealt. They have 7 pitchers now and Triple A is not right for any of them.
A contending team will be in the market for all of them but I’m not sure if they’ll get what the M’s would want. For example Paxton might fetch Jay Bruce. Whoop de doo. Now, if Kuma had been healthy and in the Cy Young conversation he could maybe get a top flight prospect. Maybe the Dodgers would be willing to part with Corey Seager. If you’re in a 7 game series you need pitching. It’s going to be a matter of what Jack is willing to part with.
What Jack is willing to part with is the scary seminal decision.
Ha-ha! Indeed. But I have a hunch someone is getting dealt for a top of the order guy. But I’m clueless who that is going to be, emigrant and immigrant.
Dodgers aren’t parting with the best Seager in baseball.
No onr in April would have written that M’s had seven quality starters.
Best hitting team in MLB has 10Ks. That’s what impressed me. Not sure how Kuma fits in given his recernt record before injury.