SEATTLE – The Mariners returned home Sunday night after a nine-game road swing, itching to cook at home to get their troubled season headed in the right direction.
In other words, it might be a good time for the A’s to stop at T-Mobile Park for four games this weekend.
The Mariners returned to .500 with a 3-2 win over the A’s on Tuesday, winning for the second time in as many days to start a 10-game homestand that could potentially gain momentum.
“We’re off to a good start, and (hopefully) we’ll continue it for the next couple of series,” Mariners shortstop JP Crawford said. “We’re back here and we’re in a good place now.”
The Mariners (24-24) certainly weren’t in a good place early Tuesday, falling 2-0 in the first inning to the A’s (10-40). But Crawford hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning that tied the game. Ty France then followed with a home run of his own to put Seattle on top for good.
France’s home run took a module (think lightly) of the ballpark’s out-of-town scoreboard in left-center field, as it flashed the Rangers’ score. The letter hit? The ‘X’ in Texas.
x marks the place pic.twitter.com/2UAhSlypXe
– Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 24, 2023
It was a rare one-run victory for the Mariners, who led the major leagues last season in one-run victories (34). That hasn’t been the case this season, as the club is just 5-12 in games decided by one run.
“Great win. We are used to playing a lot of games. This year, a lot of those haven’t gone,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “But we got it done tonight.”
A home run in the fifth inning by Crawford and France provided the winning margin, but the pitching was the difference maker. Seattle starting pitcher Marco Gonzales, coming off an outing last week in Boston where he allowed eight earned runs while striking out five, allowed two runs in the first inning Tuesday. But instead of being buckled down by the A’s, Gonzales went back to doing what he did best during his tenure with the Mariners – working in and out, mixing up his pitches while frustrating hitters.
“I just feel like in Boston, I didn’t give myself a chance to really execute,” said Gonzales. “They jumped on me right away. I was just trying to get my confidence back this past week and flush that out and get right after them. “
Gonzales has 12 swinging strikes on his fastball, changeup, slider and his cutter. He got eight ground-ball outs, including a double play to end the third inning and the sixth inning.
“I think Marco has settled in. His cutter is effective, his changeup down low can keep you off balance,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said.
Trevor Gott, Justin Topa and Paul Sewald combined to retire the last nine hitters they faced, with five strikeouts. Sewald pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 10th save of the season.
“He’s in a great place right now,” Servais said of Sewald. “He’s a year old. Finding the fastball and getting the slider over the plate. That’s Paul Sewald. We are lucky to have him.”
The night was not a complete success. In the eighth inning, France was hit in the left wrist by a 95-mph fastball from A’s reliever Trevor May. France stayed on the ground for a minute or two before undergoing a series of tests from the team trainer. France took his base but was later replaced by pinch-runner Sam Haggerty. Tests after the game did not reveal a fracture but rather a contusion with significant swelling. France is daily.
“He smokes,” Servais said. “Anytime you see a player like that, you hope everything is going to be OK but you never know. He’s a big part of our offense. He’s just a stabilizer.”
(France Photo: Steven Bisig / USA Today)