It’s still a little too early to panic in Seattle, but another Mariners loss to the Houston Astros on Wednesday may have pushed fans to the brink. Seattle dropped each of the first two games in the series and came in losers of eight straight overall.
The outlook didn‘t look good here either with Houston holding a three run lead in the seventh inning, but one player and two swings turned that all around.. Third baseman Kyle Seager, who hadn’t homered in a game since Sept. 3, 2013, got Seattle on the board with a two-run homer in the seventh and then lifted them to a 5-3 victory with a three-run walk-off homer in the ninth.
It was obviously a much needed win for Seattle, who were on the verge of back-to-back sweeps against Miami and Houston. Just the same, it was a much needed confidence boost for Seager. A .260 hitter over the first three years of his career, Seager came in hitting only .156 with two RBI on the season. Despite his struggles, manager Lloyd McClendon was determined to let Seager hit his way out of it. That patience worked to everyone‘s benefit on Wednesday.
”He has a track record and I’ve said all along that he is going to hit,” McClendon said. ”Obviously, when you’re in a losing streak and the guys you expect to hit don’t hit, it’s a little frustrating but in that case you have one of two options: you can sit him or you can play him. I chose to play him and he didn’t disappoint.”
The multi-homer game was the third of Seager’s career. The five RBIs were a new career high.
STRIKEOUTS AND WACHAS: St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha had a night to remember and a night to forget in their 3-2 loss to the New York Mets. You might think that’s impossible, but consider that while Wacha recorded each of his first nine outs via the strikeout and had 10 overall, he also allowed three hits, issued a career high five walks, and was pulled after a career low four innings.
The damage wasn’t terrible. Wacha only allowed two runs, which was obviously greatly aided by the whiffs and a swirling wind that at one point knocked off his cap, but manager Mike Matheny had to think about the long-term as well. 93 pitches squeezed into four innings is enough to make any manager uncomfortable.
“He looked like he was going to have his stuff,” said Matheny. “He was just missing at times for whatever reason, getting a little bit side to side. He looked like he felt strong and was jumping at times, then the next thing you knew, you would see a beautifully executed pitch in the bottom of the zone. Then he was off wide to the side again — no good explanation. He tried a couple of adjustments, and they didn’t work.”
The Cardinals nearly rallied in the ninth when Daniel Descalso doubled home Jon Jay. Matt Carpenter was waved home as well on the play, but a perfect relay throw by shortstop Ruben Tejada and a great tag by catcher Travis d’Arnaud got him just before he touched home. The play was reviewed and upheld, and the Mets held on for the nail-biting victory.
GUSTY WINDS WREAK HAVOC AT COORS:
If you think pitching at Coors Field is a nightmare under normal circumstances, try it with a jet stream driving baseballs towards Wyoming. That’s the task starters Matt Cain and Tyler Chatwood and both bullpens were faced with on Wednesday afternoon, and the result was the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies offenses combining for nine home runs.
Six of them were hit by Giants, including Hector Sanchez’s 11th inning grand slam that helped secure their 12-10 victory. Sanchez, who got the start over a slumping Buster Posey, also temporarily gave the Giants a one-run lead with a solo homer in the eighth. Michael Morse hit two, a solo shot in the second and a three-run homer in the fourth. Brandon Belt tied Mark Trumbo for the NL lead with his seventh, while Brandon Hicks rounded it out for San Francisco with his second. Charlie Blackmon, Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau all homered for Colorado.
The nine homers are second only this season to the wild Reds-Pirates game that featured 10 home runs last week.
GREINKE OUTSHINES HAMELS IN MARQUEE MATCHUP: Zack Greinke improved to 4-0 with seven stellar innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies tallied only a single run in the second and a Jayson Nix solo homer against a fatiguing Greinke in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as the Dodgers walked away with a 5-2 victory.
Greinke also notched double digit strikeouts for the first time in a Dodgers uniform and the18th time overall, finishing with 11 compared to only one intentional walk.
Despite the tough draw offensively, it wasn’t a complete loss for Philadelphia. Returning starter Cole Hamels, who missed the first three weeks after battling biceps tendinitis, was excellent in his season debut, allowing only two runs on six hits over six innings, while striking out five and walking one.
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