On a beautiful weekend at Safeco Field in Seattle for Griffey Weekend, the Mariners came into Sunday's game seeking a series finale win, to complete the 3-game weekend sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That's exactly what they did as LHP James Paxton was dominant in 8.1 innings of work, and offense was able to pull through to a 3-1 win over the Halos. With the win, Seattle has advanced to a W-L record of 57-53 on the season, and have taken control of a second place spot in the American League Western division standings, surpassing the 57-54 Houston Astros. The M's still trail the first place 65-47 Texas Rangers by 7.0 games in the standings, but for a Wild Card spot, the Mariners only trail by 3.5 games. Only the Boston Red Sox are ahead of Seattle in the race, and the Detroit Tigers sit in the spot currently.
Offensively on Sunday afternoon, the Mariners put up 3 runs on 7 hits off of LAA RHP Matt Shoemaker. DH Nelson Cruz (.276 AVG) went 1-for-4 at the plate, notching a single to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning for an RBI. Cruz now has 70 RBI on the season which is tied for a team high with 2B Robinson Canó. Also in the bottom of the fourth inning, CF Leonys Martin (.244 AVG) was robbed of a Grand Slam by LAA CF Mike Trout, but he did knock in a run via the sacrifice fly out, giving Seattle the lead. Martin went 0-for-3 at the plate, and his RBI was for his 35th of the season. 2B Mike Freeman (.176 AVG), recently acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, made his Mariners debut on Sunday. In fact, Freeman was my pick for offensive player of the game on Sunday as he notched a pair of hits for an RBI in a 2-for-3 day at the dish for the M's. The RBI was Freeman's first of the season for Seattle! Also contributing offensively for the Mariners were 3B Kyle Seager (.282 AVG), RF Seth Smith (.265 AVG), and 1B Adam Lind (.236 AVG). Seth Smith and Adam Lind connected for a base hit, and each scored a run for the M's in this one (Smith- 1-for-4 at plate, Lind- 1-for-3 at plate). Kyle Seager had himself a 2-hit day going 2-for-4 at the dish and also scoring a Mariner run on Sunday.
On the mound, LHP James Paxton took the ball for his 13th start of the season. Paxton was dominant, going 8.1 innings strong giving up only 1 run off of 5 hits while walking only 1 Angel and striking out 6 in the great outing. James Paxton struck out LAA CF Mike Trout 4 times on Sunday, which happened to be Trout's birthday. Paxton is the only pitcher to ever strike out Mike Trout 4 times in a single game. Of course, James earned himself a win, and he now has a W-L record of 4-5 in 81.2 innings pitched this season. Paxton's ERA now sits at a decent 3.53. In relief on Sunday for the rest of the ball game was RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (7.74 ERA) who tossed the next 0.2 innings of work. Wilhelmsen, who was once a closer, closed out the game on Sunday earning himself his 1st save of the season, but the 68th save of his career! Tom walked 1 Angel in his outing.
WHAT'S NEXT? :
The Mariners will now begin one of the most important series of the season starting Monday night in Seattle against a hot 61-50 Detroit Tigers ball club. The Mariners trail the Tigers by 3.5 games in the American League Wild Card standings, so every game is CRUCIAL. The Mariners have the perfect arm to start off this crucial series with RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (12-7, 3.79 ERA) seeks his eighth straight win at home this season. Hisashi and the M's will take on DET RHP Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.40 ERA). Be sure to tune into ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio to catch Kuma's 23rd start of the 2016 season in game one of this crucial series!
MARINERS 365 NOTES:
The Mariners have added RHP Arquimedes Caminero to the 25-man roster, while optioning RHP Taijuan Walker to AAA Tacoma. Manager Scott Servais basically said in a press conference that Walker has been sent down because of inconsistency, and he's hoping that he comes back with "a chip on his shoulder". Arquimedes Caminero was acquired recently from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a PTBNL.
This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue.