The trade-deadline additions currently boosting the Seattle Mariners didn’t all come through trades.
Shortstop Chris Taylor is batting .370 with a .426 on-base percentage in 19 games since his July 24 promotion from Triple-A Tacoma.
“I’ve definitely been fortunate,” said Taylor, who batted .328 in 75 games for the Rainiers. “The balls I’ve been putting in play are finding holes somehow. Hopefully, that continues.
“I know it’s not going to last forever, but it’s nice while it does.”
More important, perhaps, is Taylor’s impact on the Mariners’ defense.
Advanced metrics from Baseball Information Solutions show Taylor, entering Saturday, had already saved three runs above average and was playing at a plus-27 pace for 1,200 innings (the comparative standard).
In contrast: Brad Miller is rated at minus-3 and minus-5 for his 90 games this season at shortstop, while Mariners’ shortstops, as a whole, were an aggregate minus-11 and minus-9 for 2013.
“(Taylor) is pretty solid with the glove,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He moves well. He’s a natural shortstop. Even that error he made (Friday) night, he never really let it affect him.
“The next play, he just (glove-)flipped it over (to second base for a force out). That shows you the confidence that this kid possesses.”
Taylor turned sheepish when asked about his glove-flip — “I’ve never really done that before. It kind of just happened.” — but was matter-of-fact in breaking down his subsequent play on a grounder deep into the hole.
The Tigers had a run in with two outs in the third inning with a runner at second. Victor Martinez pulled a grounder deep into the hole that Taylor smothered with a diving stop, saving a run, before throwing to first.
The throw bounced, but first baseman Logan Morrison fielded it cleanly while retreating over the base. Morrison held on the the ball when his movements created a collision with Martinez.
“I knew it was hit hard enough to where I had a shot at first,” Taylor said. “I ended up giving LoMo an in-between hop, and he made a great play just to keep it in front. But he actually made the play and got the out.”
It was spectacular stuff on both ends. It also snuffed the Tigers’ best threat of the game. The Mariners went on to a 7-2 victory. Taylor had two hits and a walk in four plate appearances.
“He has excellent arm strength,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “He made a number of plays ranging to his right.”
The glove, the bat and the Mariners are 13-6 when Taylor plays.
“It just feels great,” he said. “This is where you want to be, especially the way we’re playing. We’re in the playoff hunt. The atmosphere is great in the clubhouse. It’s an awesome experience.”
McClendon was ejected in the second inning by home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo and, if anything, he was more steamed after hearing Randazzo’s explanation.
The ejection came with McClendon on the bench, which brought him onto the field for a discussion that soon grew heated.
“He thought it was me (saying something from the bench),” McClendon said, “and it wasn’t me. That upset me more than anything.
“Then when I went out there to ask him why was I thrown out, he said, `Well, I’ve seen your act before.’ I don’t think that’s called for. That’s not fair.
“If you think I said something about a ball or strike, throw me out of the game. I get that. To talk about the past, that’s not fair.”
McClendon admitted he chirped at Randazzo over balls and strikes in the first inning but stopped after getting a warning. The complaints in the second inning, McClendon said, came from several points of the Mariners’ bench.
“It is what it is,” McClendon said. “It’s over with, and we’ll just move on.”
Second baseman Robinson Cano flashed a thumbs-up sign when asked about his bruised foot as he walked into the clubhouse prior to the game. Not surprisingly, he was back in the starting lineup.
Cano exited Friday’s game in the eighth inning after noticeably limping to first on a ground ball in the seventh. He went 1 for 4 in Saturday’s loss with a run scored and an RBI.
THREE OR FEWER
The 4-2 loss ended the Mariners’ franchise-record streak at 13 games of not allowing more than three runs. The last American League club to run off 13 in a row was the 2013 Royals.
The last AL team to go longer than 13 in a row was the 1991 Blue Jays, who had a 15-game run.
The loss also ended Felix Hernandez carried a personal nine-game winning streak against the Tigers.
The nine straight victories matched Randy Johnson’s 1993-97 run against Milwaukee as the second-longest streak in franchise history against a single opponent.
Jamie Moyer won 11 straight decisions against Baltimore from 1996-2003.
It was 17 years ago Sunday — Aug. 17, 1997 — that Jay Buhner became the first Mariner to hit 30 homers in three consecutive seasons. It came in the eighth inning against current Tacoma Rainiers pitching coach Jaime Navarro in a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Buhner finished that season with 40 homers, which made him the first player in franchise history to hit 40 or more in three straight seasons.
Ken Griffey Jr. later broke that record by hitting 40 or more homers in four straight seasons from 1996-99. Alex Rodriguez matched Buhner with three straight 40-homer seasons from 1998-2000.
Rodriguez’s 41 homers in 2000 remains the only 40-homer season by a Mariner in a full season of home games at Safeco Park, which opened July 15, 1999.
The crowd of 43,833 was a sellout and the largest of the season at Comerica Park since opening day. … Hernandez’s ERA nudged up to 1.99 from 1.95 after giving up two runs in five innings. … Nick Castellanos’ homer was the fifth yielded by Hernandez in 150 innings over his last 21 starts.
The Mariners and Tigers conclude their three-game series at 10:08 a.m. (PDT) Sunday at Comerica Park. Right-hander Chris Young (11-6, 3.20 ERA) will oppose Detroit lefty Robby Ray (1-2, 5.31). Root Sports and TBS will each televise the game.