Cruz’s 3-run HR off Turner lifts Mariners over Nats 4-2
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mariners manager Scott Servais got ejected for the second time this season. Nelson Cruz came through with a big hit, just like he did when Servais was tossed from a game on April 16.
“Our guys joke about it,” Servais said Thursday after Seattle rallied to beat the Washington Nationals 4-2. “They’d like to see it probably happen more.”
Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, two batters after Servais’ departure. The Mariners stopped a five-game losing streak.
“Everything starts with one game,” Cruz said. “A win can definitely change everything.”
Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his dismissal by plate umpire Adam Hamari.
Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez.
Gonzalez had thrown just 50 of 96 pitches for strikes.
“I saw a couple balls hit hard right after we scored, and he was struggling all day,” Baker explained. “It was kind of like a Houdini up there, got out of trouble a bunch. He was 2-0 on everybody.”
Cruz drove Turner’s belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz, who leads the AL with 40 RBIs, had a run-scoring single that capped a ninth-inning rally in the April 16 win over the Rangers. The home run made him 2 for 2 against Turner.
Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.
Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.
Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.
“It wasn’t an easy task on Dusty’s part,” Gonzalez said. “I put him in a situation where it was tough.”
Washington’s Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.
Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s high school graduation in Northern California. He will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco and watch the Nationals on TV in the interim.
“I’ll watch them at home, I’ll watch them during graduation,” Baker said. “I’ll watch them probably in my sleep in bed.”
Mariners: Diaz had been removed temporarily from the closer’s role for a week before returning to punctuate four scoreless bullpen innings. “It’s a cumulative effort,” Servais said. “Eddie just happened to be the guy at the end today. We like him in that spot. He’s got great stuff. Hopefully he can build on it.”
Nationals: Baker said he has not told Koda Glover much about assuming the closer’s role, even though he admits it is the 24-year-old right hander’s to lose. “It’s a little bit of mystery, so that they don’t start feeling too comfortable too soon,” Baker said. “Going in in the ninth. That’s a pretty good sign.”
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said.
Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends on the progress of INF Stephen Drew’s rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.
Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.