ADDITIONAL NOTE 5:48 p.m.: Brad Miller left tonight’s game with a mild strain of his left hamstring. He’s day-to-day.
Kendrys Morales led off the eighth with a 433-foot solo blast to center field off Tyler Lyons to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead.
5:43 p.m.: Cards starting pitcher Michael Wacha had pitched 23 2/3 scoreless innings before Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run double to the left field corner in the fifth to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead. Wacha allowed a leadoff single to Mike Zunino, then walked (!?) James Paxton on four pitches. Brad Miller the got a bunt down — finally, somebody on the Mariners did that, though Paxton would have been a dead duck at second had Wacha been more alert — to move the runners over and Gutierrez delivered.
By the way, Miller has now left the game as we start the bottom of the fifth. We’ll find out why soon enough, but Carlos Triunfel is now in at shortstop.
4:05 p.m.: This will be the second career start for James Paxton and it’s a doozy. Here in St. Louis, facing a first-place Cardinals team with about 40,000 folks in the stands and his own club on a five-game losing streak. The real good chance for the Mariners to win a game here came last night. Now, with some real wild-card mound options the next few days, it could get real rough.
Nick Franklin isn’t playing tonight after his foibles last night. Dustin Ackley is at second base.