NEW YORK — A night after scoring 10 runs, the Mariners were on the verge of being shut out Thursday and held to one measly hit — an inconsequential single in the fifth inning. Getting blanked would have been a fitting result for the performance.
Instead, a ninth-inning home run from Domingo Santana off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman gave Seattle a run, another hit and made the final linescore look a little more palatable after having a non-existent offense for eight innings.
Beyond the aesthetics of the game result, which was a 3-1 loss to the Yankees, the Mariners may have suffered a greater loss.
Dee Gordon exited the game in the third inning after getting hit by a pitch and could be headed to the 10-day injured list.
A 90-mph fastball from lefty J.A. Happ rode up and in on Gordon in his second plate appearance of the game. As Gordon tried to avoid the pitch, it struck him cleanly on his right wrist, sending him stumbling out of the box in obvious pain.
Gordon started to walk toward first base as athletic trainer Matt Toth and manager Scott Servais both came on the field. He kept walking away until Servais finally grabbed him. Toth checked Gordon’s wrist for a handful of minutes with Servais watching. Then they told Gordon his night was finished.
A visibly upset Gordon wasn’t angry about being hit or coming out of the game, but the location of the pitch that hit him.
“I was pissed off,” he said after the game. “It was the second time he threw up by my head. You’ve got to get the ball down. If you can’t throw that pitch, don’t throw it. I got a family. You need to get the ball, you need to get the ball the (expletive) down. That’s twice. If you can’t throw that pitch, don’t throw it. That’s how I feel.”
Dylan Moore replaced Gordon in the game as a pinch runner and took over at second base. But he too had an injured right wrist after getting hit by a pitch in Wednesday’s game.
“Sore is one way to put it,” Moore said. “It hurts pretty bad. I couldn’t swing.”
Moore wasn’t supposed to play in the game other than as a pinch runner. The wrist also bothers him when throwing. So when he saw Gordon leave the game, he knew he had to play.
“It was probably the worst-case scenario,” Moore said. “But you have to do what you have to do.”
The Mariners will have to do something with their roster going into the weekend series in Boston. They can’t carry two infielders that are day-to-day with injuries while also having an eight-man bullpen.
“We’ve got a few guys banged up,” Servais said. “We have to look at our roster quick tonight and see what we have heading into Boston.”
It will be a long night for Servais, who is going to fly to Mississippi on Friday for his daughter’s college graduation. He’ll miss the first two games of the Boston series.
At least one, if not both of the infielders will need to go on the injured list. Gordon will fly with the team to Boston and undergo more tests on his injured wrist. The X-rays taken after the game were inconclusive.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “But I played with a broken bone in my foot all last season.”
In Tacoma, shortstop J.P. Crawford was removed from the starting lineup just before game time. The assumption is that Crawford will be called up to play shortstop with Tim Beckham sliding over to second base. If the Mariners need to add a second player, they could go with veteran Kris Negron over prospect Shed Long. Negron has played the utility role for most of his career and is comfortable at shortstop. But he’s also not on the 40-man roster. The Mariners do have an open spot available to select Negron’s minor league contract. Calling up Long wouldn’t require a 40-man roster move, but it would start his service time clock. That won’t be a major issue since he’s wouldn’t be expected to stay up with the team for the rest of the season. Long’s primary position is second base, but he can also play third base and left field.
Despite being unable to swing, Moore gave the Mariners their best scoring chance in the first eight innings.
After drawing a leadoff walk in the sixth inning against right-hander Adam Ottavino, Moore stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Gary Sanchez.
“I was trying to bunt and anything close I was going to take,” Moore said. “He threw me four balls before he threw me three strikes.”
But with one out, Ottavino pitched around Edwin Encarnacion and walked him and then got Domingo Santana to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Mariners didn’t let Moore go to the plate in his next at-bat. Jay Bruce pinch hit for him with two outs, flying out to center to end the eighth. With Gordon and Moore out, Servais moved Encarnacion from first base to second base. While he played third base early in his career, he’d never played second in a big league game. Of course, the first ball of the inning was hit near him. Encarnacion made a diving attempt and rolled over his glove hand, also injuring his wrist slightly. He remained in the game and Servais said he hopes he’ll be fine for Boston.
Mike Leake delivered an outstanding performance only to take the loss. He pitched seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The Yankees only had four balls in play with exit velocities of more than 100 mph. They were all outs. The hardest was Gary Sanchez’s line drive in the third inning that came off the bat at 112.6 mph and was gloved by Braden Bishop in center field.
Leake’s only run allowed came in the second inning. Clint Frazier led of with a crisp line drive to center for a single. Leake appeared to get a possible double play ground ball off the bat of Gleyber Torres, but Ryon Healy mishandled it at third base and didn’t get an out on the play. After retiring the next two batters without letting the runners advance, Leake gave up a broken bat liner to shallow right field off former teammate Cam Maybin. The ball landed just inside the right field line and went for an RBI double.
From there, Leake allowed just three more hits and only one runner to reach second base.
But he was rewarded with zero runs of support by his teammates.
Happ didn’t allow a hit for the first four innings, though he walked two batters and hit Gordon. His only hit allowed came in the fifth inning when Tom Murphy singled through the left side.
With Happ’s pitch count at 94 after five innings, Yankees manager Aaron Boone went to his formidable bullpen that’s still missing Dellin Betances.
Boone went inning by inning, sending out a new arm for each — Adam Ottavino in the sixth, Tommy Kahnle in the seventh, Zack Britton in the eighth and closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.
The Yankees added two insurance runs in the eighth off Mariners’ reliever Connor Sadzeck, who gave up a two-out, two-run single to Gio Urshela.