Cruz Late Shot Leads Mariners

In the opener Nelson Cruz misplayed a fly ball that turned a possible one run inning into an eight run inning. He made up for it in the third game with a three run homer off reliever Jacob Turner to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Cruz giveth and he taketh away. The Mariners went on to win the game 4-2.

Because of potential thunderstorms in the afternoon the game was moved up from 4 PM to 12. It accounted for the sparse crowd that attended the game. The weather held up and the game was played in its entirety to beautiful weather. The rains came around 5:30 PM.

Both pitchers were sharp to begin the game. Ariel Miranda did not give up his first hit until the fifth inning. Up until that time the only Nationals baserunners were a walk and a two base error by firstbaseman Danny Valencia. Unfortunately the first hit Miranda gave up was rocked into the left field bleachers by Anthony Rendon to lead off the fifth inning. For Rendon it was his fourth homerun in three games against the Mariners.

Michael Taylor followed with a walk but was caught stealing second. That proved costly when Jose Lobaton pulled a double into the left field wall, lumbering his way into second just ahead of the throw. Trea Turner walked and Jayson Werth ripped a single into centerfield. Lobaton was sent home and the throw was off line, cut off before reaching the plate. A good throw from Guillermo Heredia may have gotten Lobaton at home.

Gio Gonzalez had a no hitter until the fifth when Kyle Seager rifled a one out double into right field. Gonzalez walked the next two hitters to load the bases with just one out. It would be his third and fourth walks of the game. He bore down and got Mike Zumino with a 91 mile per hour fastball. It took Gonzalez only three pitches to whiff pitcher Ariel Miranda to extinguish the inning.

Gonzalez was not so lucky in the sixth. Jean Segura led off the inning with a line drive single into left field. Guillermo Heredia struck out on a 2-2 pitch. Mariners manager Scott Servias seemed to step out of the dugout and was given the heave ho by the home plate umpire. An argument ensued and this seemed to motivate the Mariners. Robinson Cano lined a single into centerfield. Gio was given the hook to have righthander Jacob Turner replace Gio to face the right handed bat of Nelson Cruz. Nelson didn’t seem to get good wood on the ball but it carried far enough into centerfield to reach the Red Porch bleachers and give the Mariners a 3-2 lead. Turner gave up a walk and single to the next two hitters but was able to get out of the inning without further damage.

Turner gave up two singles to lead off the sixth inning, Boog Powell with a pinch hit single and Segura with a single. A hard grounder to Trea Turner seemed like a double play but Heredia was able to beat the ball to first. Jacob Turner was replaced by the lefty Matt Grace to face Robinson Cano who singled to drive in a run. Blake Treinen came on to replace Grace to face Cruz and walked him to load the bases. The double play tends to be Blake’s best friend and he got Kyle Seager to hit into a 4-6-3 DP, Murphy making a nice play on the hard hit grounder to prevent it from going into right field.

The Nationals could not do anything against five relievers the Mariners threw out there. Bryce Harper beat the shift by bouncing a slow grounder past the third base bag. Since the third baseman was playing shortstop Bryce easily turned the hit into a double. Neither Ryan Zimmerman or Daniel Murphy could drive him in. Edwin Diaz pitched the last inning to pick up the save.

Game Notes: Matt Albers struck out the side in the eighth, his fastball hitting 95. Myworld does not recall Matt ever throwing the ball that hard, at least not when he was with the Orioles. He has been the Nationals best reliever but that is not saying a lot from a group that has seen nothing but failure in protecting leads…With runners on first and second and two out in the fifth Harper grounded one to second, slowly jogging to first. If the second baseman would have bobbled the ball myworld would have been upset with Harper’s lack of hustle. Myworld does not expect a sprint to first on every routine grounder, but a slow jog is unacceptable unless you are a pitcher or are trying to protect a leg injury…Attendance was listed at 18,881 but the stadium seemed much emptier.

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