The Mariners have been one of the most cursed teams in baseball this season, losing some of their top players to injury.
But as the Mariners keep loading up the DL, they keep doing something else — winning. Their latest victory, a 7-1 win over the Padres Sunday, is their seventh victory in eight games.
That's impressive for a team that has some of its best players watching from the trainer's room.
The latest Mariners star to go down was shortstop Jean Segura, who suffered a sprained ankle Thursday and could miss extended playing time. He joined fellow Mariners Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Mitch Haniger, Drew Smyly and Shawn O’Malley who are in various stages of recovery on the DL.
In the meantime, the Ms are getting the proverbial team effort to help survive the injury crisis. Sunday, left-hander Ariel Miranda emerged as the hero, scattering four hits and striking out nine in a complete-game victory.
First baseman Danny Valencia hit safely in his first two at-bats, giving him hits in nine-consecutive at-bats, tying a Mariners record (Raul Ibañez, 2004).
Saturday, Mike Zunino carried the team. Hitting in the No. 9 hole, the catcher homered and drove in seven runs in Seattle's 9-2 victory.
"From where we were about seven or eight days ago to reach the point we're at right now says a lot about our team," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Sunday's game. "It’s about the players and they’ve stepped up."
The Mariners' resilience puts them in good shape to contend for a wild-card spot as the season wears on (no one is going to catch the AL West-leading Astros, who have the best record in baseball). And soon, the team's stars will begin returning from the DL. Hernandez, who's been out with shoulder bursitis since late April, will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Tacoma. Iwakuma, a 16-game winner last season who hasn't pitched since May 3 because of a shoulder issue, threw two innings in a simulated game Saturday.
Drew Smyly, acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade earlier this year, hasn't played for the Mariners yet because of a flexor strain, but could be ready for action by late June.
Stud of the Night
Ender Inciarte had a pretty good day in the Braves' 13-8 win over the Reds. The center fielder went 5-for-5 with a home run, five RBIs and two runs scored. Braves left fielder Danny Santana, who also put up some seriously crooked numbers (4-for-5, with a home run and three runs and RBIs) also gets a shout-out.
Dud of the Night
Reds left-hander Amir Garrett has a pattern this year of alternating quality starts with bad outings. Sunday he was dreadful. He gave up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, on seven hits (including three home runs) and three walks.
Justin Upton crushed a David Robertson pitch for a three-run walk-off home run in the Tigers' 7-4 win over the White Sox. What made it even sweeter for Upton is that Robertson walked J.D. Martinez to face him.