Look, I had some big-time doubts about the Mariners going into this game against the red-hot Padres. AND YET. Our boys in blue pulled off a win against the Most Fun Team in Baseball, no this title is not up for argument and I will be taking no questions at this time. All hail the Seattle Mariners, the (temporarily) Most Fun Team in Baseball.
J-OBP Crawford led off the game with a walk, and while you want to see him hitting more, not going empty on plate appearances is the ticket to staying atop the lineup. KLew extended his hit streak by knocking a Chris Paddack changeup into right field, moving Crawford to third, and then Kyle Seager sacrificed him home—on a hit that was shallow enough, it should be noted, that it wouldn’t have been a guaranteed run with Mariners past. Austin Kyle Nola kept up the Kyle offensive with a line drive of his own, and then Evan White collected yet another RBI for his collection with a nice single off a fastball that caught too much plate:
When he was captaining the SS Struggle, White was getting out in front of pitches; lately at the plate he’s looked much more relaxed, letting the ball come to him and then making the necessary adjustments, using his incredible arm strength to redirect the ball. This was a 95 mph fastball running in on him that White deposited into the opposite field for an RBI. Evan White rounding into the hitter he looked like he could be in AA would be…just delightful.
The Mariners would continue the fun parade in the second with a Dee Gordon single (!) followed up by J.P. Crawford getting his first longball of the year, a shot dead center that traveled 420 feet (off a fairly terrible middle-middle pitch from Paddack, but still). J.P. tries to keep it cool but you can see the smile lighting up his face from space:
Meanwhile, Marco Gonzales worked around some traffic on the bases—nothing really hit hard except for an Eric Hosmer lineout snared by J.P. Crawford that came off the bat at 112 mph—until the third inning, when he gave up back-to-back hard hits to Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, the latter being a home run. After a close play was overturned on a Wil Myers double, Marco had to continue to throw pitches, and Ty France doubled to bring Myers home and pull the Padres to within a run. Marco would give up yet another double in the fourth, but be bailed out by a generous strike call coupled with some excellent framing from Austin Nola:
Marco would then put a bow on the inning, striking out Tatís:
He added another swinging strikeout of Ty France to close out the fifth inning, but at 98 pitches (70 strikes), that was the end of the day for Marco. No walks and five strikeouts is a pretty typical MarGo line, but nine hits, including four doubles and a home run, is not very Marco, indeed.
After a few quiet innings the Mariners got to Chris Paddack again in the sixth, with an Austin Nola home run and an Evan White double that just missed being a home run serving as…whatever closes a paddock? A gate? Some kind of latch? Whatever, it stretched the Mariners’ lead to 5-3.
Paddack was replaced by sidearmer Tim Hill, who promptly hit Jake Fraley and gave up a double down the left field line to J.P. Crawford, scoring White and increasing the Mariners’ lead to 6-3. They would add another run off Javy Guerra in the seventh, when Seager-Nola-White all singled—and for White, that hit marked not just another RBI, but also his first-ever career three-hit game. He would also walk in the ninth to put himself on base four out of five times with just one strikeout! All the first-time benchmarks falling! Tim Lopes would get a hit off a rare misplay by Tatís Jr. leading to the Mariners’ eighth run of the night.
That was all the Mariners needed; Hirano, Altavilla, Fletcher, and Gerber all worked scoreless innings to put away the red-hot Padres and secure the victory. The Mariners aren’t where the Padres are, yet. But tonight was a fun glimpse of what might be, if everything continues to break in their favor.