A Kyle provided the Mariners with their first run on a night when few were expected with his first homer in his first major-league game for his first big-league hit. Another Kyle provided the game-winning runs with the 197th homer of his MLB career in his 1,244th big-league game.
Kyle Lewis and Kyle Seager, the rookie and the veteran, led the Mariners to a 4-3 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park to open the six-game homestand.
With the Mariners trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Seager stepped to the plate with two outs and Austin Nola on first base. The Reds brought in left-handed closer Amir Garrett to face Seager. But as he shown before, the left-vs.-left matchup doesn’t intimidate Seager. Garrett threw Seager nothing but sliders in the at-bat — seven total. The last one was a mistake that got crushed into the right-field seats for the decisive homer.
“That was certainly not a comfortable at-bat,” Seager said. “I’ve never faced him before. I’m glad it worked out.”
It was Seager’s 22nd homer of the season and his 70th career homer off a left-handed pitcher. He has 11 homers off lefties this year.
Called up to the big leagues earlier in the day, Lewis got the start in right field and a standing ovation in his first at-bat. A former first-round pick who has battled through the effects of a gruesome knee injury suffered just a month into his first professional season, he put together a solid season with Class AA Arkansas, playing in 120-plus games and earning a call-up this week along with three other teammates.
His introduction to the big leagues featured a matchup against talented right-hander Trevor Bauer. While Bauer has struggled since being traded from the Indians to the Reds, he still possesses elite-level stuff, including an array of offspeed pitches and a willingness to throw them whenever.
But Lewis was able to find a fastball from Bauer in his first at-bat, hitting a rocket ground ball to third base that was gloved by Eugenio Suarez for an out. The ball registered a 100-mph exit velocity, which was a sign of things to come.
With Bauer holding the Mariners hitless through the first four innings, Lewis stepped to the plate in the fifth. He worked the count to his advantage, refusing to chase two balls off the plate. Up 2-0, Bauer threw a 94-mph fastball to the upper inside quadrant of the strike zone. Lewis was ready for it and smashed a towering fly ball into the Mariners bullpen. His first big-league hit was a homer, dashing the possibility of a no-hitter from the story line of this game.
“I was trying to keep it as simple as possible,” he said. “I was trying not to make things bigger than they are. But when I hit that it was definitely like an out-of-body experience.”
With his mom and dad in the stands, he provided an unforgettable moment.
“It was really special,” he said. “They were really nervous before the game. I was glad I was able to get a hit for them. I just wanted one hit.”
The Mariners got another useful start from Justus Sheffield. The rookie left-hander pitched six innings, allowing one run on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Thanks to his sinking fastball, he was able to generate timely ground balls that allowed the Mariners to turn four double plays. They were key in helping limit damage.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight, and I was falling behind in counts,” he said. “I just wanted to let my defense work behind me, and that’s exactly what happened.”
He was in line to get his first big-league victory, exiting with a 2-1 lead.
But his replacement, right-hander Austin Adams, couldn’t keep it. After two quick outs, Adams walked No. 9 hitter Tucker Barnhart. Reds manager David Bell called on left-handed-hitting pinch-hitter Brian O’Grady. The rookie crushed a 95 mph fastball from Adams into the open-air seating of the Hit It Here café in the second deck of right field. It was O’Grady’s first big-league homer as well.