It doesn’t really matter in the context of the season. Still, a 16-hit, 8-1 victory to push a winning streak to four games is going to make the manager happy.
“You’re going to have ebbs and flows throughout the season,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said Saturday. “This is all about the players. I tip my hat, I’m really happy with the group, the fact that they’re working as hard as they are, they’re enjoying each other.
“We’re 15, 20 games under .500, but we come to work every day and expect good things to happen,” Servais said of his 45-63 squad. “That’s what I’m most happy about — these guys are getting rewarded for the time and effort they’re putting in.”
The effort was definitely rewarded Saturday afternoon as the Seattle offense got rolling in a big way in a blowout victory over Detroit.
It was an offensive effort led by newcomers that turned on midgame adjustments. Five Mariners had multi-hit games, led by rookies Austin Nola and Ryan Court.
Nola got the scoring started in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-run triple. He added a double in the bottom of the seventh.
“It’s an amazing transformation he’s made in his offensive game,” Servais said of Nola. “When he’s doing it at this level, facing everything he’s been through in his career, it’s awesome to see.”
Court earned his first MLB start in right field — a position he hasn’t played since at least high school. But the story is more what he did at the plate, lacing his first big-league hit in the fourth to score Nola and tacking on a two-run ground-rule double in the seventh.
“To see him, what he’s going through, and the day he had, was phenomenal,” Nola said. “I couldn’t be more happy for him.”
After the game, Court got to meet up with his family, which managed to get to the park to see his first career start.
“It’s so much more than about me,” Court said. “Having them here, the emotions that they’ve gone through this whole process too, it’s been awesome. It’s good to have them here.”
By the time the clubhouse was opened to media members, the ball from his first hit was in a case in his locker.
Both teams struggled early, then got the offense going during their second pass through the order. But while the Seattle offense continually came alive, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales clamped down after allowing a run during a five-at-bat span that included four hits between the third and fourth innings. Once Seattle took the lead, Gonzales (12-8) buckled down, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced — the only exception being a Kyle Seager error in the fifth.
“Once he smells the finish line or sees the light at the end of the tunnel, he puts his foot on the gas pedal,” Servais said of Gonzales. “He certainly can smell wins. When we get a lead for him, he’s the guy you want out there.”
Meanwhile, after the Mariners went 0 for 7 their first time through the order against Tyler Alexander, they made the adjustments, putting together eight hits in their next 13 at-bats to score four runs and force the Tigers to go to their bullpen in the fifth inning.
“That’s how the game goes sometimes,” said Seattle’s Tim Beckham, who finished with three hits and a walk after striking out in his first at-bat. “Just seeing him one time through, you get one hit, then you get another hit, and sometimes it can just be contagious.”
Now, the Mariners have a chance for their second four-game sweep of the season.
“It was a good game all-around,” Beckham said. “That’s today, and we’ll come in and finish it tomorrow.”
Daniel Vogelbach took a fastball squarely off his right elbow in the bottom of the second inning. He stayed in the game, but got pulled for a pinch runner in the seventh inning.
“It swelled up a little bit on him,” Servais said. “We’ll see how it is tomorrow.”
Mariners acquire Broxton
Between the first and second innings, news came down that the Mariners had claimed outfielder Keon Broxton off waivers from Baltimore. To make space, Seattle moved reliever Connor Sadzeck to the 60-day injured list, keeping the active roster at 40.
So far this season, Broxton is hitting .184 with four home runs and eight stolen bases.