Cubs 8, Mariners 5 at Sloan Park
With his focus on pushing pitch count into the 80s and working to throw his fastball with more conviction, particularly in on right-handed hitters, Marco Gonzales pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. He had a few bad breaks as Julio Rodriguez lost a fly ball in the sun that helped open up a four-run fourth inning for the Cubs that included a two-run homer from Seiya Suzuki.
“It was good,” Gonzales said. “I felt the adjustment I wanted to make with my fastball this week, it felt a lot better. Just have more conviction in the zone with it. I felt like I was kind of pulling and kind of missing left and right. Today, I really felt it on the glove side into righties. I felt really confident. I threw some good ones away to (Jason) Heyward too and just lived at the top of the zone with it.”
Rodriguez had what manager Scott Servais labeled as “a learning day.” After ripping a ground-rule double to right-center on Drew Smyly’s first pitch of the game, Rodriguez failed to score on Ty France’s single up the middle. As he sprinted toward third base on France’s ground ball, Rodriguez got deked by veteran third baseman Jonathan Villar, who acted as if a throw was coming toward him and even acted like he was going to make a tag. Rodriguez, who didn’t see third-base coach Kris Negron waving him home, and instead dove headfirst into third. It cost the Mariners a run as Jesse Winker popped up in foul territory, Mitch Haniger struck out and Eugenio Suarez grounded out to short.
Rodriguez also struck out in his next three plate appearances, not seeing a hittable fastball and chasing off-speed stuff mostly out of the strike zone.
Player of the game
Jarred Kelenic had a pair of singles — a ground ball up the middle and a line drive into right field that scored a run — to show more signs he’s starting to find his timing.
“He had a really good day,” Servais said.
“He’s learning, that’s part of it. We give these young guys opportunity and hopefully they can take it, run with it and learn from it. He smoked that leadoff double on the first pitch of the game and after that he got an assortment of off-speed and breaking pitches thrown away from him. He didn’t really make a good adjustment today, but he’ll be back in there tomorrow.” — Servais on Rodriguez.
The Mariners will return to Peoria Stadium for a Thursday night matchup with the Cleveland Guardians. Right-hander Chris Flexen is scheduled to start for Seattle, while Cleveland will go with right-hander Aaron Civale. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. The game will be televised live on ROOT Sports Northwest and broadcast live on mariners.com and Seattle Sports 710-AM.