Per Jake’s series preview, the Mariners had a 40% chance of winning tonight’s game, which honestly felt about right, especially considering the fact that they were coming off a 14-inning slog the day before. Andrew Heaney is objectively the best starter the Angels will roll out during this three-game set (although watch out for that TBD guy, I hear he’s tough), and the last time the Mariners faced him, he struck out 10 and only Edwin Encarnacion managed to do any real damage against him.
Meanwhile, the Mariners were sending Marco Gonzales to the hill. Gonzale’s recent struggles have been well-publicized. After starting off the year strong, Marco’s last handful of starts have been...not great. In his most recent start against these Angels, just five days ago, he lasted only 4.2 innings and gave up a career-high 10 runs. Tonight, Marco wasn’t his best—he needed 109 pitches to get through 5.2 innings, and only threw 67 of them for strikes—but he was good enough to earn his first win since April 25, surrendering just two runs (one on a Cole Kalhoun solo HR, and one inherited runner scored when Cory Gearrin took over for him in the sixth). He still walked three to just five strikeouts, which is not ideal, but overall it was an encouraging outing from the lefty.
More importantly, the Mariners bats propped up their starter, although it took a while. Mac Williamson blooped an RBI single in the fourth to tie the game, and then Domingo Santana hit a go-ahead blast in the fifth to give the Mariners the lead. The big blow, however, came off the bat of Tom Murphy in the sixth, with two runners on:
The Angels would get one back in the sixth when Marco Gonzales got into a little trouble and Cory Gearrin didn’t so much act as the fireman as he did blow gently on the burgeoning flames, but that would be all the Angels could muster tonight. Domingo Santana felt very possessive of that run and insisted on taking it right back:
As encouraging a night as it was for Marco, it was equally so for Santana, who continues to look much more at home in right field. Not only did he hit the ball with authority, but he also contributed the most entertaining aspect of a game that was frankly kind of a snoozer:
No win this season can be taken for granted; every one must be savored, because you don’t know how long it will be until the next one. It feels both like a lost opportunity and cheap or piker-ish to not really relish each win, even the ones that happen on a quiet Friday night in a lost season against a similarly bad team where the lead is mostly safe.
Thanks, Domingo, for making tonight’s win at least a little memorable.