A day after walking in the go-ahead run and allowing a two-run single in the 12th inning, reliever gives up one hit.
To many people watching, they were two inconsequential innings in Monday’s 7-2 loss already ruined by rain, a roof, mud and Mark Teixeira.
But for Dominic Leone, it was something more. The young right-hander got to take the mound again, a day after one of his most disappointing outings of an already frustrating season.
The Mariners were down five runs and it was mop-up time, but Leone threw two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
“I thought he was much better,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I was very pleased.”
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It didn’t offer redemption for an awful Sunday outing that saw him walk in the go-ahead run and allow a two-run single in a 6-3 loss to the Indians in 12 innings. He had no command with any of his pitches and couldn’t do anything to change it.
“It’s a terrible feeling,” he said. “You feel like you are standing naked in front of a crowd of thousands.”
He didn’t have that feeling Tuesday night in the lower-leverage situation. He was crisp and efficient. It gave Leone some confidence and a reminder that he can still get outs at the major-league level.
“I think it was huge,” he said. “I wanted to get back on the horse, regardless of the past outings. Sometimes it’s difficult to do that. It’s difficult to suck it up and get back out there and not think negatively. Seeing Felix (Hernandez) struggle after the three dominant innings, I got the sense that I might get into the game. I was like, ‘Let’s go, you can’t back down from anything.’ The key was I just wanted to be aggressive and do what I wanted to do.”
Leone hasn’t been able to do what he’s wanted to do on the mound much of the season. Mechanical and command issues got him optioned to Tacoma three days before opening day. He was called up on April 13, but has struggled, posting a 0-3 record with a 5.40 ERA in eight appearances. A year ago, he was brilliant, posting an 8-2 record with a 2.17 ERA in 57 appearances. He’s still trying to find that form this season.
“I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there,” he said. “Yesterday was a big step up. I felt good with a lot of stuff, my slider was sharp even though I only threw one or two of them. I felt the fastball was good yesterday, especially command-wise. Velocity, I’m not even concerned about at this point. I just want to make sure I’m hitting my spots and throwing strikes and let these guys play behind me.”
• Hisashi Iwakuma will throw a bullpen session Thursday and another one Sunday. He’ll throw one more bullpen session in Cleveland and then if all goes well, he’ll pitch in a simulated game, most likely in Houston.
• Reliever Danny Farquhar made the start Tuesday night for Class AAA Tacoma. Why?
“It’s to straighten him out more than anything and get him on the right path,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “When you work one inning, it’s hard to get things figured out. Hopefully he’ll work three or four and get a feel for his pitches and get it going.”
Farquhar pitched 32/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with four strikeouts.
• Austin Jackson has been thrown out in his last three stolen-base attempts. He has stolen six bases and been thrown out five times.