Final: Mariners 4, Reds 3 (8)
Justin Dunn continued to make a strong case for the Mariners’ final rotation spot Friday night.
Dunn featured an improved fastball that topped out at 97 mph (ish) and a biting slider, which he used to strike out Cheslor Cuthbert swinging on his 55th and final pitch of the night.
Dunn worked three innings, allowing one run (unearned), three hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
Facing the top of the Reds’ lineup, Dunn was particularly sharp in his second inning of work. He struck out former teammate Dee Strange-Gordon, the Reds’ leadoff hitter, swinging at a slider. Dunn then blew a 95-mph fastball past Jesse Winker for a swinging strikeout.
“I felt pretty good, man,” Dunn told reporters afterward. “It was weird coming out of the ‘pen, to be honest with you. I haven’t done that in a long time, so the body was a little tight in the first (inning he worked). The slider, it got better toward the end. The first inning, I really couldn’t get it down, so (Tom) Murphy and I really put an emphasis on that the second and third inning, getting that down.”
Also vying for the final rotation spot is left-hander Nick Margevicius, who got the start against the Reds on Friday night and also worked three innings. He worked a crisp 1-2-3 first inning, then allowed one run in each of the next two innings.
Margevicius’ final line: 3 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, 3 strikeouts.
- Tom Murphy got the Mariners’ first hit with one out in the fifth inning. He hustled to second on an overthrow, then scored the Mariners’ first run on a Donnie Walton single.
- The Mariners added two runs in the sixth inning off ex-Mariner Art Warren.
- Because of the wet conditions in Peoria, Mitch Haniger was a late scratch as a precaution.
- Top prospect Julio Rodriguez, batting eighth and playing right field, struck out in his first at-bat. He worked a 3-2 walk in his second at-bat and then another walk in his third at-bat. As he took that 3-2 pitch outside, he nodded his head in approval as he headed to first base. He then stole second base and scored the winning run on Eric Filia’s RBI single.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Dunn. He was already the favorite to win the sixth spot in the rotation, and he nudged further ahead in that competition.
“One of the great revelations in camp thus far has been the transformation of Justin Dunn’s stuff. Tonight he was 93 to 97 (mph). We’ve seen the good slider. We’re still waiting for the polish on that changeup, but what he’s been able to do physically and to put those kind of power pitches together in the fastball-slider is so exciting to see and such a different look than what he had going last year.” — Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, via ROOT Sports during Friday night’s telecast
The M’s next two games will air on ROOT Sports — Saturday vs. the Rockies at 12:10 p.m. PT and Sunday vs. the Brewers at 1:10 p.m. PT.