Servais on Roenis Elias’ dominant outing: ‘He really saved the game for us.’
The derby just continues for the Seattle Mariners.
Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park, Daniel Vogelbach, Tim Beckham and Mitch Haniger each teed off against the Oakland A’s, pushing Seattle’s MLB-leading home run total to 83, and lifting the Mariners to a 4-3 win and two-game series sweep.
“We went through a little skid there where we didn’t swing the bats as great as we wanted to, but it’s not like they went anywhere,” Vogelbach said. “Guys in the lineup can all hit. It’s baseball. You go through ups and downs, and I think things have kind of started to turn a little bit for the better.”
Seattle (22-23) has homered at least once in 39 games this season, has launched multiple long balls in 22 of those, and currently has a modest four-game home run streak. The Mariners set the MLB record for consecutive games to start a season with a home run (20) earlier this season, and are 10-4 in games with three or more homers.
Haniger hit the decisive two-run dinger in the sixth inning to give the Mariners a two-run lead they never lost. After J.P. Crawford drew a one-out walk, Haniger watched three consecutive balls and one strike pass before crushing Brett Anderson’s 3-1 fastball to the upper deck in left field.
The 428-foot homer was Haniger’s second in as many days — he led off Monday’s win over the A’s with another shot to left — and his 11th of the season.
Vogelbach gave the Mariners their first lead in the second, sending a sinker into the right field seats after working back from an 0-2 count. The solo shot was also Vogelbach’s second long ball in two games, and his 11th of the season. He cranked a game-tying three-run homer to center against the A’s on Monday night.
Beckham pushed Seattle’s early lead to 2-0 three batters later with a solo shot to right center. His eighth homer of the season came on a first-pitch sinker from Anderson (4-3, 4.19) and traveled 425 feet. Beckham emphatically flipped his bat before rounding the bases, and greeted a fired up Vogelbach when he returned to the dugout.
“He’s got a good sinker, Anderson really does,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We got him in some good counts. Beckham jumped him early. Nice to see Vogey turn around a left-hander. And then Haniger got a good pitch in a good count and certainly didn’t miss it.
“Again, it was nice to win a game where you don’t have to score six, seven, eight runs.”
Mariners starter Mike Leake (3-4, 4.00 ERA) regrouped from losing his past four decisions, completing 6 2/3 innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out six and walking one.
He worked 1-2-3 innings in the first, fourth and sixth before being pulled after allowing his only earned run of the game with two outs in the seventh. He recorded a third consecutive quality start.
“As long as I can hit the spots that they don’t like to swing (at) the most, and can’t hit the best, that’s what I attack, and that’s what I attacked tonight, and beat them to the punch for the most part,” Leake said.
Oakland tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth on a throwing error by Beckham, who started at second base in place of injured regular Dee Gordon. Gordon, who has missed six consecutive starts with a right wrist injury, later returned to second base after pinch-running for Beckham in the seventh.
With two outs in the fifth, and runners at second and third, Beckham tracked down a grounder up the middle by Marcus Semien, but made an errant one-hop throw to first that Edwin Encarnacion could not scoop up.
Beckham continues to lead the majors with 12 errors this season, while the Mariners, who have a league-leading 47 errors, remain on pace to commit 169 as a team this season.
The A’s threatened again in the seventh, inching closer on a two-out RBI single by Robbie Grossman that cut Seattle’s lead to 4-3. Leake’s night ended at 99 pitches following that at-bat, and right-hander Cory Gearrin — who made an adjustment in his delivery Monday night — allowed another single and walk in relief to load the bases.
Seattle called on left-hander Roenis Elias to try to work out of the jam, and Elias blew three consecutive fastballs by A’s pinch-hitter Chad Pinder to retire the side.
Elias then struck out the side in the eighth, facing the heart of Oakland’s order. He got Matt Chapman with a curveball, Khris Davis with a changeup and Matt Olson with a fastball. Each of the first four batters Elias faced, he struck out, throwing an efficient 16 pitches.
“He had really good life on his fastball tonight, no question about it,” Servais said. “Changup has really become a weapon for him. Was great to see him drop the curveball in against Chapman. I don’t think Chapman was looking for it. I know we weren’t on the bench.
“He’s got all three weapons, but the fastball-changeup combo’s been very effective for him.”
Elias returned for the ninth, issuing a leadoff walk to Stephen Piscotty before striking out Ramon Laureano on three pitches. Pinch hitter Mark Canha then reached after sending a liner back at Elias. The ball hit Elias’ glove, and Crawford grabbed it, but Gordon dropped the throw to second, resulting in Seattle’s second error.
But, Josh Phegley grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on the next pitch to end the game. Elias, who has a spotless 2-0 record and 2.78 ERA, recorded his team-leading fifth save of the season.
“I’ve been working really hard, and I’m not trying anything different, I’m just trying to go after guys and throwing the ball over the plate,” Elias said through interpreter Manny Acta.
The Mariners have an off day Wednesday before beginning a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins. Rookie right-hander Erik Swanson (1-4, 6.35) is scheduled to oppose Twins right-hander — and former Mariner — Michael Pineda (2-3, 5.85) in the opener Thursday.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports Northwest and 710 ESPN radio.