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Mariners use daring new homerun hitting strategy to defeat Orioles, 2-1

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Justin Dunn battles Orioles, strike zone, emerges victorious; bullpen holds the door for the win

Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles - Game 2
fire me up key!
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Working with a postage-stamp sized zone from home plate umpire Ryan Wills, Dunn was sharp as he’s ever been over five strong innings, striking out six and walking just two. Honestly, Dunn probably could have collected a few extra strikeouts if not for the insanely tight zone, which was especially tight at the top, all but eliminating Dunn’s high fastball as a called strike. The young hurler adjusted and battled back, though, with his most impressive inning being the fourth, where he struck out the side on three exceptionally ugly swings:

Of the 20 batters he faced, Dunn threw first-pitch strikes to 15 of them, and with that head start was able to keep himself ahead in the count and go after batters with aggression—or as Dunn described it in his postgame interview, “here it is, hit it.”

This was an exciting glimpse at the kind of nasty pitcher Dunn has promise to be, and the sharpest he’s looked at the major league level. Fingers crossed he carries this forward into his next start.

Again the Mariners offense was sluggish; their two lone runs came on two solo shots. The first was Dylan Moore, carrying forward some momentum from his base hit in Game One:

Dylan Moore returning to form would literally do so much for this lineup. Please please let this be the start of something good for him. I miss our slender-hipped prince defying physics and making surprisingly loud noises with his bat.

The Mariners’ other run came from, who else, Mitch Haniger. This baby went 412 feet and came off the bat at 109.7 mph, a near mirror image of his home run from Game 1. The Comeback Player of the Year campaign rumbles on unabated.

Fun fact: with that second home run, Mitch Haniger became the first Mariner ever to homer out of the leadoff spot in both games of a doubleheader. Mitch has been so good so far this season other outlets are already proposing various trades to acquire the slugger, to which I say: Hands off our Mitch! At least until there is at least one (1) other capable hitter in the lineup to replace him.

Unfortunately two runs was about all this lineup could muster offensively, which meant the job of protecting a one-run lead fell to Will Vest and Keynan Middleton. First up was Vest, who came in for Justin Dunn after the latter walked his first batter in the sixth inning and therefore had to deal with a little traffic on the bases immediately. No problem for Vest, who, did you know, is a former shortstop?

That’s some fine reactin’ by Vest, although the unsung hero here is J.P. Crawford, who is cutting towards first base hard to make the play and has to redirect his feet and shift his entire body momentum back to second to field the ball. Pretty, pretty nifty.

Keynan Middleton came in to shut the door and did make us a little nervous as he danced around the strike zone but then settled in and also found his good-good fastball.

He also found the time to snark at Angels fans after the game, which is the energy we love to see. Talk your shit, Key. FIRST PLACE BAYBEEEEEE!