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Marco Gonzales kept pace with CY Young award winner, helps navigate Mariners to win over Mets

FLUSHING, N.Y. — On a dreary and misty night, the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners quietly moved through a pitching duel at Citi Field that had all the baseball sequences displayed except for the towering long-ball. 

As the mist lingered throughout the night, the Mariners tethered their hopes of winning the game to rattling the Mets bullpen after three-time Cy Young award winner and Mets starter Max Scherzer was given the starting nod for the series opener. 

The Mariners pounced on the opportunity to score in the eighth inning after Scherzer was taken out of the neck-to-neck ball game after throwing in seven dominant innings of three-hit ball. Mets reliever Drew Smith would walk two straight batters before giving up an RBI single to Ty France, giving the Mariners the one-run edge to solidify their 2-1 win in Flushing, New York.  

It was a pitching spectacle from the get-go. Despite the uncharacteristic baseball weather, the Friday night lights brought a tense pitching battle between one of baseball’s elite pitchers and Marco Gonzales, who has shown signs of dominance despite his win-loss record.

Mariners manager Scott Servais complimented Gonzales’ performance and demeanor on the mound by stating it was “vintage Gonzales” against the talented and fierce Mets club.

Friday evening  was the first time since facing the division-leading Houston Astros on April 15 that Gonzales gave up a lone run on five hits or less after producing six-plus innings. 

In his seventh start of the season, Gonzales gave up an early first-inning run on a Francisco Lindor sacrifice-fly that scored Brandon Nimmo. However, Gonzales settled down after giving up the early run and kept pace with Scherzer, only surrendering two hits over the next five innings.

“After throwing a lot of pitches, I think I did settle in… I mean, Louie (Luis Torrens) called a great game. We executed really well and had some quick outs.”

After walking Tomas Nido and giving up a double to Nimmo, Gonzales’ night would end. Despite walking off the mound with runners on second and third, Mariners reliever Paul Sewald would halt the Mets’ rally after striking out Starling Marte to keep the game tied at one. Gonzales concluded his night going 6.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits, three walks, and fanning five batters. 

“I was just looking forward and trying to go as deep as I could into the game,” Gonzales said after realizing he threw 48 pitches through the first two innings of the game. “(I was) just trying to go out and attack and get some quick outs because we had some traffic early… threw a lot of pitches, especially after the McNeil at-bat. I was like ‘I just one pitch at a time.’ And, they fought. It was a good battle.”

Scherzer served a dominant outing against the Mariners. The Mets ace retired the first 10 Mariners batters before hitting France and surrendering a hit to the Mariners’ average leader J.P. Crawford (.333) in the top of the fourth inning. 

📸 Photo Credit: Robert Cole

Scherzer would load the bases in the seventh inning after giving up a single and two walks — one questionable changeup meeting the bottom of the plate to load the bases, a call met by a heavily opinionated Scherzer — but were able to put a damper on the Mariners’ opportunistic rally by getting right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to ground into a double play to end the bases-loaded threat.    

The 37-year-old ace finished the night fanning six batters, only giving up one run and two walks. 

📸 Photo Credit: Robert Cole

The Mariners sit tight at third place in the American League West with a 15-18 (.455) record sitting behind the surging Los Angeles Angels and remain anchored at seven games back of the first-place Houston Astros — who are on a tear after winning their 11th-straight win against the Washington Nationals.  

After the game, Gonzales was asked if he had any doubt France would deliver the big hit.

Gonzales’ answer:

“No doubt.” 

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