Coming into Tuesday’s appearance, Mariners reliever Pazos had allowed runs in six of his previous seven appearances and had a 16.20 ERA over that span.
So much could’ve been written on the Mariners’ 6-5 win in 13 innings over the Red Sox on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning.
It was a game filled with so many different interesting story lines and angles.
For example, the Houdini escape act that left-handed reliever James Pazos pulled in top of the 11th inning was certainly critical in the win.
Brought in with the game tied at 4-4, Pazos found immediate trouble when Robinson Cano allowed Jackie Bradley to reach first on a fielding error to start the inning. The Red Sox tried to sacrifice bunt Bradley Jr. to second. Instead of taking the free out, Pazos walked Xander Bogaerts on four straight pitches. The go-ahead run scoring seemed inevitable.
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“Honestly, all I was thinking was ‘just try and get a ground ball,’ ” Pazos said. “The way things have been going for me and I’ve been struggling a little bit lately, I just wanted to get ahead in the count and get a ground ball.”
Pazos dug in. He got pinch-hitter Chris Young to fly out to shallow right for the first out. He probably should’ve had an inning-ending double play on Sandy Leon’s ground ball to short after a 10-pitch at-bat. But Jean Segura bobbled the ball slightly and only got the force out at second. But Pazos didn’t panic. He struck out touted Red Sox prospect Rafael Devers on three pitches.
“I don’t know if I started to loosen up or it was that I didn’t want to lose the game for us,” he said. “The ball started to go where I wanted it to and the slider was there. It’s been tough to get the fastball by people lately.”
Coming into Tuesday’s appearance, Pazos had allowed runs in six of his previous seven appearances and had a 16.20 ERA over that span.
“He’s got good stuff,” said catcher Mike Zunino. “I think he settled in and started trusting his stuff. That’s the biggest thing, when you are questioning your stuff and how you are feeling that day, it’s easy to lose focus.”
The Mariners hope that inning of work and can help Pazos regain some of his early dominance.
“I definitely think it does just seeing that you can get out of those jams,” manager Scott Servais said. “We were in a situation where we had to let him go. You never feel comfortable when he isn’t commanding the ball. Hopefully it’s a confidence-builder. He just needs the work.”
Besides getting the walkoff hit in Tuesday’s win, Jean Segura also walked twice in the game, giving him a combined three walks in Monday and Tuesday’s wins. Before that, Segura had walked just 14 times in 70 games. His last walk before Monday came on June 27, a span of 21 games played for him. But don’t expect him to be walking once or twice a game.
“It’s not part of my game,” Segura said. “It’s not what I’m looking for. For me, the more easy way to get on base is to get a base hit. Some players have the ability to do that. I don’t. I’ll keep working, but I can’t go up there just trying to get a walk. I’m always aggressive.”
Servais had been pushing for him to be more selective and swing at pitches in the strike zone, feeling he was a little too aggressive. Coming into the series against the Red Sox, Segura was hitting .143 (5 for 35) over his past eight games.
“It’s no secret, I’ve been struggling swinging the bat lately,” Segura said. “It’s part of the game. It’s hard to hit .340 or .350 all year long. I know there will be moments when the slump is going to come. I just have to keep focused and keep playing my game. I’m still hitting .330. Those are pretty good numbers with two months left in the season.”
Segura knows he won’t walk his way out of a slump. He’s a guy that swings and hits. But swinging at better pitches will only help.
“I don’t want to lose my aggressiveness, because at the end of the year, everybody says, ‘OK, he took a lot of walks, but he hit .240,’ ” he said. “I don’t walk too much because I’m aggressive all the time in the strike zone. I don’t want to lose that to get walks.”
• Ben Gamel notched two hits in the game to improve his hit streak to 13 straight games. During that span, Gamel is hitting .327.
• Mariners top prospect Kyle Lewis returned to the lineup for Class A Modesto after being removed from Monday’s game with knee soreness and sitting out on Tuesday. Lewis had an RBI single in his first at-bat.