Varsho homers, has 4 RBIs to help Diamondbacks beat Mariners
SEATTLE (AP) — Daulton Varsho homered and drove in four runs and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Seattle 7-3 on Saturday night to snap a six-game losing streak and deal a blow to the Mariners’ wild-card hopes.
Varsho’s two-run homer finished off a four-run fourth inning against starter Chris Flexen (11-6). Varsho added a two-run double in the sixth off Justus Sheffield, finishing 3 for 4 while batting ninth.
Arizona had lost 11 of 12 entering the game and snapped Seattle’s two-game winning streak. The Mariners had a chance to move into the second of two AL wild-card spots when the day started, but lost ground to Toronto and New York.
Varsho said the Mariners’ postseason hopes provided the Diamondbacks with a little more motivation after being swept last week by Seattle and falling 5-4 on Friday night.
“I think a lot of teams we play here at the end are in the playoff hunt,” Varsho said. “Knowing that, we’re all trying to spoil their celebration. ... It’s nothing personal, but it’s just kind of the way that this game works.”
Varsho, a catcher who also plays the outfield, displayed his versatility in the game, tracking down Jake Bauers’ fourth inning fly ball with an athletic grab just after his homer.
“He seems to really be on the baseball, impacting the baseball, and doing it at really critical times and that’s what we ask our players to do, to be at their competitive best when it’s needed most,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “He made a terrific play in right field, He just was all over the diamond, and that’s what he’s capable of.”
Humberto Castellanos (2-1) gave up a two-run home run to Mitch Haniger – his 300th - two batters into the game.
“He was maybe a little nervous, (dealing with) a little adrenaline rush early on,” Lovullo said.
But Castellanos settled down in his first road start and retired 10 straight at one point before allowing a solo homer to Jarred Kelenic in fourth. He struck out four and scattered four hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Pavin Smith and Seth Beer each had an RBI in the decisive fourth inning and David Peralta also drove in a run. Relievers Joe Mantiply, Sean Poppen, Noe Ramirez and J.B. Wendelken pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, holding the Mariners to two hits while striking out four.
“Unfortunately, these games happen,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I know we want to win every game here down the stretch, but realistically that’s tough to do. It’s probably not going to happen. We’ve got to come back at it tomorrow, got to win the series, we’ll need a good effort by everyone tomorrow.”
After Flexen buzzed a fastball over rookie Seth Beer’s head to start the second inning, Lovullo called the umpires over for a conference about the pitch.
“Look, any time a ball travels up near somebody’s head, I don’t like it, period,” Lovullo said. “I don’t think there’s a place in this game for a baseball up around somebody’s neck-chin-head.”
Flexen’s first pitch of the inning just missed Beer’s head and bounced off his bat a night after the rookie opened his career with a home run. Lovullo felt the pitch was no accident.
“I know that this pitcher has a 3% walk rate against left-handed batters, so we can all draw our conclusions from that,” he said.
Diamondbacks: RF Cole Calhoun (left hamstring) participated in five live at-bats and started his baserunning program on Saturday. Calhoun has been out since Aug. 11 when he injured his hamstring. He had surgery on the same one in April. … RHP Merrill Kelly (COVID-19) will throw 25 pitches in a bullpen session Monday and will be evaluated for a return. … RHP Tyler Clippard (COVID-19) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and is “feeling better and better,” manager Lovullo said. “The symptoms he felt have decreased substantially.”
Mariners: OF Jake Fraley (right shoulder inflammation) appeared Saturday night as the designated hitter for Triple-A Tacoma in a rehab assignment. If all goes well, he will probably appear in the field on Sunday, Servais said.
Diamondbacks: LHP Tyler Gilbert (1-2, 3.12) makes his sixth career start and second against the Mariners in the series finale. He earned a quality start against Seattle on Sept. 5, giving up three earned runs in seven innings.
Mariners: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-8, 4.32) tries to stop a two-game losing streak in his first career start against the Diamondbacks.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports