Four shutout innings Saturday night could earn left-hander Marco Gonzales another look in the Mariners’ rotation over the closing weeks,
"I thought Marco Gonzales really saved our bacon (Saturday) night," manager Scott Servais said. "He did some things that he hadn’t been able to do as far getting the ball consistently to the glove side on righties, which opened up his changeup.
"He did a lot of things. Great pickoff move. That was a big out in that game. It was really nice to see the positive outing."
The Mariners trailed by four runs when Gonzales began the fifth inning but rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
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"I was just trying to let it rip," he said. "I wasn’t trying to think about too much. Just fill up the zone. Hopefully be effective and give us a chance to win."
Gonzales’ outing came in his first relief appearance after he lost his spot in the rotation when he failed to make it through five innings in five straight starts while allowing 17 runs and 34 hits in 20 2/3 innings.
"For as long as I’ve been playing baseball," he said, "the biggest thing I’ve learned is adversity definitely makes you stronger. I've been trying to take things from every outing — little and big, positive and negative — and build on that."
Gonzales also pitched solely from the stretch Saturday in limiting the Athletics to two hits while striking out five and walking none in a 54-pitch outing.
"He just has a little bit of a windup anyway," Servais said. "But out of the stretch, his direction is better. His arm gets on top quicker. I think that helped him (Saturday) night as well.
"As far as the rotation goes, we’ll talk about it and see what fits best. I like the way Marco threw (Saturday) night."
The most at-risk candidate in the rotation is veteran Yovani Gallardo, who labored Saturday through 80 pitches in three innings. Gallardo is winless in his last six starts while allowing 23 runs and 32 hits in 28 1/3 innings.
Gallardo’s next scheduled turn is Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Mariners acquired Gonzales, 25, from St. Louis in a July 21 trade for minor-league outfielder Tyler O’Neill. A first-round pick in 2013, Gonzales missed nearly all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
"I know there are pitches in his repertoire that he’s not really using right now because he is coming off Tommy John," Servais said. "I definitely think there’s more in the tank there as far as what he’s able to do with his pitches."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners