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Seager's homer sparks offense in series opener win over Pirates

7/26 at PIT by TOM HAYDEN

PNC PARK, PITTSBURGH, PA. ----

In the first few innings of this one on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, it wasn't looking so good for RHP Felix Hernandez and the Mariners, who gave up 3 runs in the first inning alone. However, Felix and the M's got their command back, and put up 6 unanswered runs on the now 51-48 Pittsburgh Pirates. Our Mariners, also at a W-L record of 51-48 thus far in the season, sure looked solid Tuesday night in PNC Park. RHP Felix Hernandez made just his second start since being on the disabled list (his twelfth start of season) and as I said before, started off slow, but gained command. Big nights at the plate came from 3B Kyle Seager and LF-RF Franklin Gutierrez. With the win, the Mariners have advanced to only 6.0 games behind the 58-43 Texas Rangers, and 2.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West standings. For a Wild Card spot, the Mariners need to climb a 4.0 game ladder, but the only teams ahead of them are the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and the Houston Astros. 

In the 7-4 win over the Pirates, RHP Felix Hernandez made his 12th start of the 2016 season. Hernandez wasn't sharp at first, but he turned things around after Mariners offense came alive in the top of the third inning. Felix went 6.0 innings strong and gave up 4 runs on 9 hits (all earned) while striking out 3 and walking only 1. Hernandez gave up homers to PIT RF Gregory Polanco (solo) and PIT RHP Francisco Liriano (solo). By the way, you didn't read that wrong, right-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano hit his first homer of the season in the second inning of the ball game, off of Hernandez. Felix looked like Felix from that point on, however, and earned himself his 5th win of the season. His ERA is now a decent 3.45 with a W-L record of 5-4. In relief  of Hernandez were LHP Vidal Nuño (3.08 ERA), RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (7.89 ERA, Hold- 5), RHP Edwin Diaz (1.99 ERA, Hold- 11) and RHP closer Steve Cishek (2.88 ERA) who earned his 24th save of the season. Relief combined to have a fantastic night, giving up 0 runs on only 3 hits. Relief combined to strikeout a pair of Pirates, RHP Tom Wilhelmsen had both for the M's, and continues to look sharp in his relief spot. 

Offensively for Seattle on Tuesday night, the M's put up a solid 11 hits after being 1-hit in Toronto on Sunday afternoon. 3B Kyle Seager (.288 AVG) continues to look good at the plate, and is putting up some career numbers for himself this season so far. In his last 7 games, Kyle is batting a .296 AVG with 8 hits and 5 RBI, with 2 home runs. Seager connected for his 20th homer of the season on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, a 2-run blast in the third inning of the ball game off of Liriano. Kyle also connected for his 28th double of the season on Tuesday night. With the 2-RBI night in a 3-hit ball game for Kyle, he now has 67 RBI on the season, which is a team high. SS Shawn O'Malley (.235 AVG, 8 RBI), 2B Robinson Canó (.303 AVG, 62 RBI), RF Nelson Cruz (.285 AVG, 66 RBI), and LF-RF Franklin Gutierrez (.244 AVG, 26 RBI) each connected for 1-hit nights with 1 RBI each for Seattle. Now that's some team work offense right there. Gutierrez's hit was a solo home run in the third inning of the ball game for his tenth of the season. CF Leonys Martin (.246 AVG) also contributed offensively with a 2-for-4 night at the plate for a pair of hits and an RBI. Martin now has an even 30 RBI on the season so far for the M's. 

WHAT'S NEXT? :

The Mariners will look to get themselves a quick 2-game sweep in this quick 2-game series with the Pirates on Wednesday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. LHP James Paxton (3-4, 4.18 ERA) who was lights out in his last start (last Friday, 7/22 at TOR) will make his tenth start of the season on Wednesday night. Paxton (3-4, 4.18 ERA) and the M's will take on well known PIT RHP Gerrit Cole (5-6, 2.99 ERA). Be sure to catch all of the action on ROOT Sports NW or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio! Also, Wednesday night's game is MLB.tv's FREE GAME OF THE DAY! Be sure to tune in, first pitch start time- 4:05 PM PAC, 7:05 PM ET!

Mariners 365 NOTES :

The Mariners have acquired RHP reliever Drew Storen from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for RHP reliever Joaquin Benoit. Storen had a W-L record of 1-3 with an ERA of 6.21 in 38 games so far this season with the Blue Jays. 

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue. 

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