The losing streak sure didn’t last long.
If there were any leftover bad vibes from the Mariners’ ugly 9-0 loss to the lowly Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, giving Seattle consecutive losses for the first time in two weeks, they evaporated quickly on a feel-good Wednesday at T-Mobile Park.
Mariners starter Marco Gonzales continued his resurgence, the Mariners had four runs before the Royals recorded an out and Seattle went on to an 8-2 victory to salvage one game in this three-game series.
“Marco pitching well and we’re hitting homers (three, including a pair by Domingo Santana), that’s a good formula,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “A nice bounce-back game today. The guys weren’t real happy with how we played the last couple of days, and you could feel it when you came into the clubhouse this morning, and we responded.”
The Mariners will now try to win consecutive games for the first time since May 13-14 (the M’s have followed their last nine wins with a loss) when the lowly Baltimore Orioles come to town for a four-game series starting Thursday.
But before looking ahead, here are three thoughts from Wednesday’s win.
Gonzales is back
After a great start to the season, Gonzales struggled mightily through most of May and in his first start in June, going 0-6 in that stretch and seeing his ERA balloon from 2.80 to 4.89.
But the memory of those troubles is beginning to fade after his third excellent start — all wins — since then.
Gonzales allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings on six hits and a walk. He struck out five and threw 99 pitches.
“Nice job again by Marco using all of his pitches,” Servais said. “He kept them in check. He had a little bump in the road in May, and was struggling on a few things, but he has cleaned it up.”
In his past three starts, he has allowed five earned runs in 19 1/3 innings.
“I found some consistency in my mechanics and just being able to throw anything at anytime,” Gonzales said of his turnaround.
Big days from the right guys
Mallex Smith, Daniel Vogelbach and Domingo Santana are each 26, and seem part of the team’s long-term plan, as does J.P. Crawford, 24.
Those four scored runs Wednesday before the Royals had recorded an out.
Smith, who is hitting .290 (29 of 100) since returning from a stint at Class AAA Tacoma, led off with a single, then Crawford laid off some close pitches to take a walk. Santana followed with a no-doubt, three-run blast to left field, which was followed by Vogelbach’s blast to right to make it 4-0.
“When these guys make mistakes, you’ve got to make them pay,” said Vogelbach, who has 18 homers. “Credit to Domingo, and credit to Mallex and J.P., for getting things going.”
Those four also played a role in the Mariners’ three-run fourth inning, and were a huge reason why Royals starter Brad Keller had the worst start of his two-year big-league career.
Santana added another homer in the sixth, the third time this season he has homered twice in a game.
For the game, those top four in the order were 6 for 14, with three homers, seven runs and eight RBI.
At least on this day, it seemed like the Mariners have some valuable offensive pieces to build around.
Rebuilding might be the right thing, but it’s not fun
The Mariners could well position themselves for long-term success with the overhaul that has taken place, and if that happens, Mariners fans will undoubtedly look back and say it was worthwhile.
While the rebuild might have been necessary, this series emphasized how difficult it will be to live through the process, with the Royals winning their first road series of the season.
It’s kind of like going a diet. You think about how much better you will look if you lost 10 or 20 pounds, but doing what it takes to get there is not a lot of fun. You have to be willing to accept pain today for a better tomorrow.
There aren’t any shortcuts, whether it’s losing weight or rebuilding a baseball team. You just have to remain focused on the big picture, as hard as that might be sometimes.
“All along, the goal the whole has been to get better,” Servais said Tuesday about the state of the team. “Certainly, our clubhouse has changed a lot, we’ve moved a few veteran players who were producing, and it’s always challenging to fill in the gaps. But we’ve got young guys who are hungry, they are getting an opportunity, and we are finding out a lot about them, and they are finding out a lot about themselves. That is the mode we are in.”