BY SPNW Staff 05:53PM 05/28/2018

Gonzales extends Mariners’ mound dominance

The offense is still sputtering but Marco Gonzales continued the Mariners’ stellar starting pitching in a 2-1 over Texas Monday, their ninth win in the past 10 games.

Marco Gonzales shut down the Rangers Monday. / Alan Chiitlik, Sportspress Northwest file

Marco Gonzales hasn’t given up an earned run in three games, including Monday. when he throttled the Texas Rangers for 6.2 innings in a 2-1 triumph (box) at Safeco Field that was the Mariners’ fourth in a row and ninth in the past 10. At 33-20, the Mariners are a season-high 13 games above .500 and remain a game behind the Houston Astros in the American League West.

The 16th win in a one-run game is an MLB high this season. It was also their 16th come-from-behind win, one fewer than AL leader Boston. In 14 of those, the Mariners have taken the lead in the sixth inning or later.

Another a day of minimal offensive production — six singles — was nevertheless enough. They bunched four in the sixth, including from DH Nelson Cruz and 3B Kyle Seager for RBIs that stood up.

The Mariners welcomed newcomer Denard Span, who saw his first action when he started in left and hit second. He went 0-for-4 but reached base on a fielder’s choice and came around to score the first run on Cruz’s single.

In a trade Friday, Span and closer Alex Colome were acquired from Tampa Bay to create quality depth on a team hurting from injuries. SS Jean Segura is expected to be back Tuesday for the second game of the series after recovering from a concussion in a basepath accident Friday, and 2B Dee Gordon may return Thursday after 10 days on the disabled list with a broken great toe.

After James Pazos earned the final out in the seventh, Colome and Edwin Diaz finished out the Rangers, Diaz getting his 19th save. The hard-throwing tandem gives the Mariners an increased shot to close down games after the seventh, and takes pressure off Diaz to be out there every ninth inning with the game on the line.

Gonzales, who gave up four hits and four walks, aided his cause by picking runners off second base twice. His recent outings validated what the Mariners saw in him a year ago, when he was acquired from St. Louis for top minor leaguer Tyler O’Neill, a move criticized by many.

“There were a lot of questions from a lot of people,” said manager Scott Servais. “I’m really happy for him. This is what our scouts saw when we made the trade for him. The guys in the front office recognized that if we get this guy back completely healthy (he had Tommy John surgery in 2016) and in a good environment, he could be a guy that could carry innings.”

Since April 24, Mariners starters have posted a 3.08 ERA with 173 strikeouts and 46 walks in 32 games.


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