A new emphasis on his cut fastball has Seattle Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar looking like his old self.
“I’m going to give some credit to TC (pitching coordinator Terry Clark) down in the minor leagues,” Farquhar said. “He told me I needed to start throwing it — just throw it. Trust it. That’s kind of what I did a little bit.
“I think it’s up a tick or two maybe.”
That’s no small thing.
“It gives the hitter less time to react,” he said. “I think (the increased velocity) has it breaking a little bit later, maybe. They don’t see it early. I think it makes a difference.”
Farquhar pitched a one-two-three eighth inning Tuesday night in protecting a one-run lead against Texas. That came two days after he worked a one-two-three inning in closing out a marathon victory in Boston.
“That was the Farquhar of old,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Where has he been? It was nice to see it again. I saw command. The first three months, all I saw was ball one, ball two and 3-1.”
Farquhar amounts to a microcosm of the Mariners’ bullpen over the past two seasons. A year ago, he contributed a 2.66 ERA over 66 appearances to a lockdown unit.
This year, in three previous big league tours, he had a 6.23 ERA in 25 games. The overall bullpen ERA has slipped from last year’s club-record 2.59 to its current 4.30.
Farquhar said he found his form in his most recent stay at Triple-A Tacoma; he had eight scoreless outings in 10 appearances while compiling a 2.13 ERA overall. That prompted his recall last Saturday from the Rainiers.
“I went down to Triple A and got some confidence back,” he said. “I’m just rolling with it.”
CRUZ COUNT AT 30
Nelson Cruz extended his career-best streak of reaching base safely to 30 games when he singled through the left side in the sixth inning.
Cruz’s streak is the longest of the season by an American League player and the longest current streak in the majors. Three National League players had longer streaks earlier in the season:
▪ St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday had a 45-game run from April 5 to June 1.
▪ Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went 41 games while playing for Colorado from May 26 to July 20.
▪ Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto had a 32-game streak from May 20 to June 25.
Cruz’s streak includes only two games when he failed to get hits. He is batting .363 in his surge with 23 runs, 15 doubles, 15 homers and 22 RBIs.
PLANS FOR PAXTON
Left-hander James Paxton is tentatively slotted to begin his minor league rehab assignment with the Rainiers on Sunday against Memphis at Cheney Stadium.
Paxton reported no day-after problems following a 30-pitch effort Tuesday in a simulated game over two innings. He is recovering from a strained tendon in his middle finger, suffered May 28 against Cleveland.
McClendon said Paxton will have a light throwing session Friday and, barring a setback, head to Tacoma, where he is expected to make two or three rehab starts before rejoining the major league rotation.
AFTER THE NO-NO
Hisashi Iwakuma continued a Mariners tradition established by Randy Johnson, Chris Bosio and Felix Hernandez by following up his no-hitter with a strong effort Tuesday in a 3-2 victory over the Rangers.
The four pitchers, who had complete games in their no-hitters, were a combined 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in their next starts.
Cruz is also the first player in nine years to hit 35 or more homers in back-to-back years with different clubs.
Cruz leads the majors with 36 homers after leading the majors last year with 40 while playing for Baltimore.
The last players to provide such power for a new team were Troy Glaus and Alfonso Soriano.
Glaus hit 37 homers for Arizona in 2005 and 38 for Toronto in 2006; Soriano hit 36 for Texas in 2005 and 46 for Washington in 2006.
Triple-A Tacoma infielder D.J. Peterson hasn’t played since Aug. 1 because of a strained Achilles but hasn’t been shut down for the season, general manager Jack Zduriencik said.
It’s been a tough season for Peterson, who was the Mariners’ first-round pick in 2013 and entered the year ranked No. 2 on The News Tribune’s Top 10 list of the organization’s prospects.
Peterson, 23, batted just .223 with seven homers and 44 RBIs in 93 games at Double-A Jackson before the Mariners sought to jump-start his season by promoting him to Tacoma on July 29.
He played just four games for the Rainiers prior to his injury.
Peterson batted .297 last season when he split time at Advanced-A High Desert and Jackson with 31 homers and 111 RBIs in 123 games.
It was 25 years ago — Aug. 20, 1990 — that first baseman Tino Martinez made his major league debut by getting a single to right in his first at-bat.
It came against Bobby Witt in the second inning of a 6-5 loss at Texas. Martinez, 22, went 2 for 4.
The Mariners selected Martinez with the 14th overall pick in the 1988 draft. He spent six years with the club before a Dec. 7, 1995 trade sent him to the New York Yankees.
The Mariners should have the results Thursday from the latest examination to determine why lefty reliever Charlie Furbush has been slow to recover from biceps tendinitis. He hasn’t pitched since July 7. … Mark Trumbo has five career homers against Texas lefty Derek Holland. … Jesus Montero snapped a 0 for 18 skid with a double in the fifth inning. He also had a single in the seventh. … The Mariners are 24-24 against the AL West. … Iwakuma, by winning Tuesday, improved his career road record to 20-8. He is 23-14 at Safeco Field.
The Mariners have an open date Thursday before starting a six-game homestand at 7:10 p.m. Friday (Root Sports, 710-AM) with the first of three weekend games against the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field. Friday’s game offers a marquee pitching matchup: right-hander Felix Hernandez (14-7, 3.65 ERA) against Chicago left-hander Chris Sale (11-7, 3.32).