CHICAGO — There was no drama or reason to panic. Off the bat, he knew it wasn’t going to be caught and he finally had his hit.
After appearing in seven games and failing to achieve the baseball rite of passage, Mariners rookie utility player Dylan Moore got his first big-league hit Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field in Seattle’s 9-2 victory over the White Sox.
It came in the fourth inning off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. After grounding into a double play in his first plate appearance of the game, Moore smacked a 2-2 change-up for a crisp line drive into center field. He’d gone hitless in his first 10 plate appearances to start the season.
“I hit the ball hard, it went up the middle and it’s a hit, that’s all I can remember,” Moore joked.
But it was a little easier run to first base knowing it was a clean single off the bat.
“You know what to do after you get that single,” he said. “I’ve been doing my fair share of turns back to the dugout. It was nice get that first one out of the way.”
Moore got the start at second base when Dee Gordon was a late scratch from the starting lineup with groin tightness.
“He’s feeling much better today, but he’s not at 100 percent,” manager Scott Servais said before the game. “Kind of where we’re at in the season, I don’t want to do anything crazy where we might lose him for 10 days or so.”
Gordon thought he would be able to play Saturday, but tested it before the game and admitted he wasn’t 100 percent. He could play Sunday or they may wait until Monday night’s game in Kansas City.
“You trust the veteran guys, but they need to be honest,” Servais said. “Talking with him today, he’s honest to where he’s at, so we’ll give him another day.”
The rare start offered Moore an opportunity for a game full of at-bats to get that first hit. Admittedly, getting that first hit out of the way should help him relax at the plate.
“Baseball is never easy, but it does help to get that monkey off your back,” he said. “Just to be able to go out there and know that first one is out of the way and just play baseball.”
There was no special celebration plans for Moore. He got the “everything” beer shower from teammates postgame.
“Nothing crazy,” he said. “I will go home and celebrate it with my family. It’s obviously one of those big moments in my life. I’m just happy I kind of got it over with.”
It’s been an interesting start to the season for Moore, who beat out veteran Kris Negron in spring training to win the opening-day utility spot. He had the memorable game against the Red Sox where he committed errors on three consecutive plays in a wild ninth inning of a win March 30.
The team signed Moore as a free agent this offseason on an MLB contract to be their utility player despite never having played in the big leagues.