The Mariners earned a 3-2 win against the New York Mets on Saturday afternoon, just one day after the M’s let a similarly close game slip away.
Nobody would argue Saturday’s game was pretty, least of all Mariners manager Scott Servais. But what it lacked in style and grace it accounted for with result: a 3-2 win against the Mets, just one day after the Mariners let a similarly close game slip away.
“A good win today,” Servais said. “It really was. A hard-fought, grind-it-out type. It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”
The Mariners got it done despite facing the Mets’ hard-throwing ace, Jacob deGrom; despite losing outfielder Mitch Haniger after he took one of deGrom’s fastballs to the face; despite having Kyle Seager get thrown out at second and, later, at home; and despite the bullpen wavering through the game’s final innings.
Sometimes you just have to win ugly.
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“That’s just baseball, period,” Mariners outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. “Every game is going to be a grind, I feel like. At least you’re thinking that going into the game. I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk for nobody. So we know what we’re up against, we know what we have to do, so just going out there and grinding it all together and trying to come out with a win.”
Dyson’s two-run single in the second inning gave the Mariners the lead, but it also came immediately after Haniger got hit in the face. Haniger will go on the disabled list, Servais said, but he suffered no broken bones or missing teeth.
The scene of Haniger on the ground sent an eerie silence through Safeco Field.
Dyson’s single gave the crowd something to cheer about and also gave Mariners starter Yovani Gallardo the lead.
In just his second start since rejoining the rotation, Gallardo had one of his most effective outings this season. One of the problems that led to Gallardo’s demotion to the bullpen was his inability to avoid the big inning; somewhere along the way — sometimes early, sometimes later — he’d find trouble that changed the whole outlook of his start.
Gallardo cruised through four innings, and then he started to stumble in the fifth inning. He allowed the first two hitters to reach. It had the feel of another inning about to go off track, but instead he retired three straight batters.
“I thought Yovani was awesome today,” Seager said. “He was the story for me. He was phenomenal. That’s a good lineup, and he navigated through it. He threw a really, really good game.”
Gallardo got two quick outs to start the sixth inning, but then gave up two, two-out singles. Servais called on Tony Zych, who walked the first two batters he faced on nine pitches. He also walked in a run.
But Zych salvaged the outing by getting Jose Reyes to fly out.
Gallardo’s final line: 52/3 innings, five hits, one run.
The Mariners have been looking for a fifth starter for most of the season, either because of performance or injury or both. An effective Gallardo, one who can avoid big-time damage, could be huge.
“Going into it, you know it’s going to be a low-scoring game,” Servais said. “You’ve got to outpitch them, and we outpitched them today.”
The Mariners tacked on another run in the third inning thanks to a costly error from Mets second baseman Neil Walker. With a runner on first, Walker fielded a ground ball and threw to second. But his throw sailed, and the Mariners ended up with runners on second and third.
Nelson Cruz drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
“We didn’t tear the cover off the ball by any means,” Servais said, “but we got key hits in key spots and continued to grind it out.”
In the ninth inning, the Mariners wobbled a final time. Edwin Diaz allowed a leadoff double to Wilmer Flores, who scored with two outs on a single that slipped by Robinson Cano.
But Diaz struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the game, preserving the grind-it-out win the Mariners needed after blowing a late lead in Friday night’s loss.
“That’s how you have to play, man,” Dyson said. “Every day, you’ve got to go in there thinking win.”