Patient Mariners show they can punch back in opening win over Giants
It took a while for the Mariners’ offense to get going, but thanks to a patient approach and some timely hitting, Seattle took the 2021 season opener over the San Francisco Giants 8-7 in dramatic fashion.
Giants starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was on his game, and the Mariners did next to nothing off him, managing just one run and two hits in his 6 2/3 innings.
“His command to the glove side with his fastball was outstanding,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after the game. ” … He was on top of his game. That’s No. 1 starter stuff.”
But once Gausman got pulled, the Mariners went to work.
After entering the eighth inning down 6-1, the Mariners recorded three walks, a hit by pitch, three hits and a reach-on-error to score six runs. Servais said the biggest play of the game was rookie Taylor Trammell working a walk off of lefty Jarlin García, including laying off a really close 2-2 slider on the outside corner.
Servais credited Trammell, who was making his MLB debut, with being able to slow the game down.
“Taylor certainly to this point has shown us he can do that,” Servais said.
Trammell’s walk scored a run, making it 6-3. Then Dylan Moore hit the first pitch he saw off of Tyler Rogers, who pitches sidearm.
Moore said Rogers can be “funky” with his mechanics but that he throws a lot of strikes, so he wanted to be aggressive. It paid off as his double scored two runs and made it 6-5.
“I put a good swing on it,” Moore said.
After Jake Fraley was hit by a pitch, José Marmolejos pinch hit for Tom Murphy and hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play to first baseman Brandon Belt, but Belt’s throw to second base was off line and the Mariners scored two more runs.
The Mariners couldn’t wrap it up there, however. Closer Rafael Montero gave up a solo home run to pinch hitter Andy Dickerson to lead off the ninth, but Seattle was able to keep San Francisco from scoring in the 10th, and Fraley walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning to give Seattle the win.
Fraley had three walks, and the Mariners as a whole walked nine times.
“We made them work,” Servais said.
The Mariners preach controlling the strike zone, and they led the MLB in walks in spring training. Because of that, Servais wasn’t surprised that his team remained patient and made San Francisco pay.
“We did it all spring,” he said.
Eventful debut for Taylor Trammell
Trammell didn’t record a hit but did walk twice, including the aforementioned key free pass in the eighth inning.
While Servais thinks that was the biggest moment of the game, Trammell instead pointed to Moore’s double. That wasn’t the only time he pushed praise onto his teammates.
In the top of the fourth, Evan Longoria hit a ball into the right-center field gap. Trammell roamed over, got the ball and threw Longoria out at second base. That saved a run, which turned out to be key in the one-run extra-inning win.
An early lesson about running on Taylor Trammell: pic.twitter.com/SKlwKTeDiO
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 2, 2021
The throw was on the money, but Trammell insists that Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford was the key to that play.
“That play in general was fun,” he said. “J.P. made that play … I just got the ball in.”
Trammell, who described himself as a “wreck” ahead of the game due to nerves and excitement, was thrilled with how his team was able to claw back and compete despite things appearing bleak entering the eighth inning.
“People thought we were out, but we weren’t,” he said.
Now Trammell and the Mariners are 1-0, with Trammell playing a key role in his team’s win in his ML B debut. It’s certainly something the young outfielder isn’t going to forget.
“It seems surreal,” he said.
Fans are back and making an impact
There may have been just 8,174 fans in attendance, but that was a sellout. And even though that’s not a lot of fans overall in terms of how many people can fit in T-Mobile Park, the Mariners want it known that they loved the energy those 8,000-plus brought.
“Our players felt it and the other team felt it,” Servais said.
Marco Gonzales, who went six innings and allowed five runs, thought the 8,143 fans brought their A-game.
“It didn’t feel like (8,000) people at all,” he said.
What’s on tap?
The Mariners resume the series against the Giants on Friday at 7:10 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. Left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi gets the ball for Seattle while the Giants will roll out Johnny Cueto.