Mariners fall to Giants 6-3 despite outstanding performance from Kikuchi
SEATTLE (AP) – Buster Posey and Evan Longoria both homered for the second straight game, and the San Francisco Giants took advantage of the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen issues for a 6-3 win Friday night.
Giants 6, Mariners 3: Box Score
Posey went deep leading off the third inning and Longoria added a two-run shot off starter Yusei Kikuchi in the sixth to tie it at 3.
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Posey pulled his homer down the left-field line on opening night and drove his second of the season out to deep right-center. It was the first time Posey – who opted out of the shortened 2020 season – homered in consecutive games since May 2017.
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“No matter the year it’s always nice to to get one early,” Posey said. “Particularly the way I turned on that pitch, I don’t think I have done that in a while. And even the one tonight I felt like I really stayed through it well, so it was nice to see.”
A night after San Francisco’s bullpen struggled late, it was Seattle’s turn to have problems with one of its relievers.
The Giants scored three times in the seventh off Drew Steckenrider (0-1). Donovan Solano had the big blow with a two-out, two-run double, but a pair of walks earlier in the inning created the problems for Steckenrider. Longoria also had an RBI single.
“Just the one inning got us with our bullpen,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We’ll figure it out. It’s gonna happen once in a while.”
Wandy Peralta (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief of starter Johnny Cueto to get the victory. Cueto tossed 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on 105 pitches. Jake McGee pitched the ninth for his first save.
Kikuchi was outstanding, getting ahead in counts and putting away batters. The left-hander threw 67 strikes in his 89 pitches, and his 10 strikeouts matched his career-best total from a 2019 game against Cleveland. Kikuchi walked only one and reached 97 mph with his fastball.
“All spring I was told from everyone … to be aggressive in the zone and attack the zone and I think that was something I was able to do,” Kikuchi said through an interpreter.
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The problem for Kikuchi was the long ball. Posey ripped the first pitch from Kikuchi, and Longoria stayed with a misplaced fastball and drove it out to right. Longoria last homered in back-to-back games in July 2019.
Luis Torrens had an RBI double and Evan White added a two-run single as Seattle jumped to a 3-1 lead. The Mariners managed just four baserunners – three walks and a single – over the final six innings.
“It’s a good reminder that you’re going to have some bullpen blow ups from time to time and it’s important to turn the page and get those guys right back out there,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.
Giants: LHP Alex Wood (back) threw a simulated game Thursday at the Giants’ alternate site location in Sacramento. Kapler declined to give specifics about Wood’s outing. “We texted about it and sounds like he came out feeling really good. We’ll just continue to build him up,” Kapler said.
Mariners: Seattle expects CF Kyle Lewis (knee) to begin hitting in the batting cage early next week, Servais said. Lewis is on the 10-day injured list with a bone bruise in his right knee. “The final hurdle obviously will be out on the field running around and seeing how it happens there chasing some balls in centerfield, things like that, and he’s a ways away from that,” Servais said.
Giants: RHP Logan Webb makes his 2021 debut. Webb was 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 11 starts last season for the Giants but had a sharp spring training.
Mariners: RHP Chris Flexen will start in the majors for the first time since Aug. 24, 2019. Flexen spent last season pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization for the Doosan Bears and went 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA.