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Take away one frustrating inning for Roenis Elias and he and the Mariners might have had a very different Tuesday night. But a three-run second inning torpedoed the start for the rookie left-hander.
Elias gave up four doubles in the second inning, including three in a row to start the inning that put the Mariners in a 3-0 hole.
“He didn’t really make quality pitches in that inning,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Elias characterized it as baseball.
“They hit the ball well that inning,” Elias said through translator Fernando Alcala. “There were a few pitches that were high, but there’s nothing you can do about it now. This is baseball. Sometimes it’s the pitcher’s day and sometimes it’s the hitters’ day.”
Said catcher Mike Zunino said: “A little bit up in the zone with his pitches. We got away from being fine on the corners and he left some mistakes out over the middle. Tip your cap to them, they didn’t miss them.”
Facing a line-up featuring nine right-handed hitters, Elias thew 6 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
“He did a good job of bouncing back,” Zunino said. “I know he had the one tough outing. He found his changeup and curveball and showed what he could do against all those righties
A three-run deficit is far from insurmountable for most major league teams. But with Mariners’ offense it just depends on the game. Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes it isn’t. This was somewhere in between. Down 3-0, they tried to chip at lead that that Angels kept adding to.
“Quite frankly, we battled back in that ball game, but we were probably hit a from getting back in it,” McClendon said.
Facing Angels’ ace Jered Weaver didn’t help matters. Using a fastball that never went above 87 mph, a curveball in the mid 60s and a change-up somewhere in the middle, Weaver pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts to improve to 6-3 on the season.
“With his command, you just have to see the ball up, whether it’s his fastball or his offspeed stuff,” said Mike Zunino said. “He does a good job of mixing everything up and staying down in the zone.”
Weaver has wins in five of his last six starts.
“Weave, I think he really pitched without his best stuff tonight and got through six innings,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “The fastball command wasn’t quite the same; he was pitching in well that’s a good comeback for some lefties. He wasn’t able to bring his changeup into the game like he can and he just mixed and matched. Weave’s got great feel out there and felt his way through six innings.”
From Baseball by Brooks ….
The hitting highlights included:
In the bottom of the second, Dustin Ackley doubled to right off Weaver and scored on Nick Franklin’s liner to right field.
Down 4-1, the Mariners answered in the bottom of the fourth. Justin Smoak crushed a Weaver fastball, sending a line drive over the wall in right field for his seventh homer of the season. They also added a run a wild pitch.
“He’s starting to pick it up again,” McClendon said of Smoak. “His at-bats are starting to look better, particularly from the left side. He’s made some adjustments with HoJo (hitting coach Howard Johnson. I think we are going to see some good things from him.”
Seattle trimmed it to 6-4 on a two-out RBI single up the middle from Cano off of closer Ernesto Frieri. Smoak, who represented the tying run, drew a walk. But Seager, the winning run, flew out to left-center to end the game.
*** Talked with James Paxton postgame. He was obviously a little disappointed with the shoulder inflammation diagnosis and being shut down.
“It’s frustration,” he said. “It’s some inflammation. Hopefully we can get it to calm down pretty quick so I can get back to throwing and keep on the program.”
Paxton felt like he was inching closer and closer to being back in the starting rotation.
“It’s tough when you get that close to being back and you have something hold you back a little bit,” he said. “I just have to take it one day a time so I can get back as soon as possible.”
As for the cause of the inflammation?
“I think it’s just from upping the intensity after not throwing for a while,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a big, big deal. We just have to give it a little bit of time.”
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