Mariners score early, Sheffield shines in win over D-backs
PHOENIX (AP) — Ty France and José Marmolejos hit homers, Justus Sheffield pitched seven quality innings and the Seattle Mariners snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-3 on Saturday night.
The Mariners jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning off Arizona starter Zac Gallen, who has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. France started the scoring with a solo homer, which was his second in two days. The next three runs came with two outs when Marmolejos hit a run-scoring double and Luis Torrens added a two-run double.
“Nice ballgame all the way around tonight,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I thought the pitching side, offensively, we did a lot of good things early in the ballgame. Can’t get much better effort than we got out of everyone tonight. Got the results we were looking for, too.”
Sheffield (3-3) avoided trouble for most of the night, giving up two runs on five hits. The one exception was the fourth, when the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with no outs. Wyatt Mathisen hit a one-out, two-run single to pull the D-backs within a 5-2 margin, but Sheffield struck out Carson Kelly and retired Pavin Smith on a ground out to end the threat.
The 24-year-old Sheffield has thrown seven innings in back-to-back starts. He struck out seven and walked three on Saturday.
“I feel like the whole game my fastball was, by far, my best pitch tonight,” Sheffield said. “I was able to locate inside and that was the plan, to jam them.”
Marmolejos hit a two-run homer in the fifth to push the Mariners lead to 7-2. It was the rookie’s fifth homer of the season. France is hitting .379 (11-of-29) since coming to the Mariners in a mid-season trade from the Padres.
“Getting consistent at-bats, getting settled at the plate, it’s made a huge difference,” France said. “To come in and contribute right away feels good.”
Gallen (1-2) set a big-league record last week after giving up three runs or less in the first 23 starts of his career. That streak was broken on Monday when he gave up four runs over five innings against the San Francisco Giants.
The right-hander had more trouble against the Mariners, giving up seven runs on seven hits, including two doubles and two homers. He walked five and struck out six, needing 98 pitches to get through five innings.
“This one was a little uncharacteristic,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Gallen’s outing. “He had a few misfires early and had trouble getting started. I think he’s going to get back on the right track.”
The Diamondbacks became the first team in the National League with 30 losses, falling to 17-30 for the season.
It’s been a disappointing 2020 for Arizona, which expected to be a contender for an NL West title. They made several big moves in the offseason, signing left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner to an $85 million, five-year deal, signing power hitting outfielder Kole Calhoun to a two-year deal and trading for center fielder Starling Marte.
They started the season 13-11 but lost 18 of their next 20 to fall out of playoff contention. GM Mike Hazen dealt several veterans at the Aug. 31 trade deadline, including Marte, and the team has called up several young players to see what options they have 2021.
SMITH’S MLB DEBUT
Arizona’s Pavin Smith made his big-league debut on Saturday, starting in right field. He got his first career hit in the ninth inning, hitting a ground ball through the left side of the infield for a single.
Smith was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 draft after a stellar college career at Virginia. He’s the second player from the D-backs’ 2017 draft class to make it to the big leagues, joining catcher/outfielder Daulton Varsho.
Mariners: Seattle wraps up the three-game series with RHP Justin Dunn (3-1, 4.09 ERA) on the mound. He’s given up just two earned runs over his past 18 innings.
Diamondbacks: Arizona counters with RHP Luke Weaver (1-6, 7.12). He’s started nine games this season but hasn’t made it six full innings in any of them. He’s averaging just over four innings per start.
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