Not only was it Canada Day with ”The Big Maple” [url=http://www.officialblues.com/authentic-adidas-carl-gunnarsson-jersey]Authentic Carl Gunnarsson Jersey[/url] , Canadian James Paxton on the mound for the Mariners‘ 1-0 victory over the Royals, it also was Paxton Bobblehead Day at Safeco Field.
This bobblehead included a bald eagle on his shoulder, a crazy moment that actually happened while working out in the outfield before a game this season in Minnesota. The video went viral.
Paxton allowed only two hits and struck out 11 in eight innings to lead the Mariners to their season-best seventh consecutive victory.
”Paxton enjoyed the moment,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. ”It was National Pax Day. A holiday in Canada, the bobblehead and the fans were really into it.”
Paxton (8-2) had plenty of family and friends at the game from his hometown of Ladner, British Columbia.
”It was cool to pitch on Canada Day and have the bobblehead,” Paxton said. ”It felt good today. The fastball, curveball and cutter all were working.”
Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth for his 32nd save. The Mariners are 26-11 in one-run games this season and 22-0 when Diaz enters the game with a one-run lead.
”As far as being valuable to our team, he has to be the top of the list,” Servais said about Diaz. ”He isn’t just getting it done, it’s also the efficiency of how he’s getting it done. When his timing is right, he’s really tough to hit.”
Kansas City rookie Brad Keller (2-3) also was tough to hit. He allowed six hits in eight innings. The only extra-base hit he allowed was a double by Kyle Seager in the seventh inning.
”He’s doing everything you want a starting pitcher to do,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”Complete game. He was fantastic. He’s out there attacking with his fastball, slider, throwing strikes and really commanding his pitch count.”
It was the first complete game of Keller’s career.
”After the game a few guys came up and said congratulations,” Keller said. ”I’ve never had one before and it’s pretty cool, but it’s frustrating (taking the loss). That’s tough lineup. A lot of good hitters over there. I tried to stay on the attack and not fall behind too much.”
The only run came in the second inning. Ben Gamel dropped a broken-bat single into shallow center to score Seager from second base. Seager singled to right before Ryon Healy singled to center.
That’s all Paxton needed, recording double-figure strikeouts for the seventh time this season. On his 110th pitch, his last of the game to close out the top of the eighth, his fastball was clocked at 99 mph.
”Late in the game he just dialed it up [url=http://www.officialpredators.com/authentic-adidas-mattias-ekholm-jersey]Womens Mattias Ekholm Jersey[/url] ,” Servais said. ”Pax emptied the tank and let it rip. He had an overpowering fastball at the end. It’s pretty rare. There are only five to 10 guys in baseball who can do that and we’re lucky to have one of them.”
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy, who experienced tightness on his left side during his start Friday, had his normal throwing day in the bullpen Sunday, but Kansas City manager Ned Yost did not say whether Kennedy would make his next scheduled start. Yost said RF Jorge Soler (fractured toe and placed in the 10-day DL June 17) is still on a six-weeks-or-so recovery, so it’s likely another four weeks before he would return.
Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said they will monitor RHP Felix Hernandez and his back stiffness over the next few days. Hernandez pitched five innings Saturday night and earned the victory (three runs and six hits) but struggled with back pain and wasn’t able to sit down in the dugout between innings. ”We’ll keep an eye on it,” Servais said. ”We have the off day (Monday) so he’ll get an extra-day off between starts.” … Servais said he was hopeful RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, who underwent shoulder surgery last September, would be back by now, but Iwakuma’s throwing was shut down again last week. ”He’s frustrated by that,” Servais said. ”The doctors still are optimistic he’ll get back (this season) but I don’t have any timetable for it.”
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (5-9, 4.67) will make his 17th starts of the season Monday when the Royals return home to start a three-game series with Cleveland. Junis has allowed a major league-high 22 home runs over 96.1 innings.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 3.38) will make his 12th starts of the season Tuesday when Seattle starts a three-game series at home against the Angels. LeBlanc hasn’t lost a decision in his 11 starts and the Mariners are 8-3 in those games.
Clayton Kershaw pitched his way to freedom while earning his first win in 2 1/2 months.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner won’t be facing any further restrictions in his next start after a solid outing in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ 8-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Five Dodgers homered including Max Muncy with a pair, and the team’s six homers were the most they’ve hit at home since also launching six on Sept. 9, 2013, against Arizona.
”You want to get guys back in the dugout as fast as possible the way they’re swinging the bats,” said Kershaw, who was limited by a pitch count in his last three outings.
Ivan Nova (4-6) became the first pitcher in Pirates history to give up five homers in a game. Pittsburgh has been outscored 25-4 in the first two games of the series.
”They’re horses over there. It’s a stacked team,” Pirates third baseman David Freese said. ”They’ve just got really good approaches right now and they’re on time, all of them are on time.”
The Dodgers have 11 homers three days into July and 122 so far this season after slugging a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June.
”It’s pretty remarkable what we’re doing,” manager Dave Roberts said. ”When I look at what we’ve accomplished offensively [url=http://www.officialpredators.com/authentic-adidas-p.k-subban-jersey]P.K Subban Jersey[/url] , we’re in some uncharted territory.”
Kershaw (2-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings of his third start since coming off the disabled list. The left-handed ace’s two strikeouts were against Nova and Kershaw didn’t walk anyone to earn his first victory since April 15 at Arizona. He had two losses and four straight no-decisions since.
”His velo is down a little bit but he’s still got that cutter and he works it. He’s just a guy that locates,” Freese said. ”You can sense when he’s out there that he trusts every pitch he’s about to throw. That’s that makes him really good.”
Kershaw had not gone as late as July 3 with just one win since his rookie year in 2008 when he didn’t earn his second victory until Aug. 7.
”It’s kind of what we wanted,” Roberts said of Kershaw. ”The fifth and sixth innings were probably the best for me. The ball came out well. We can feel confident going forward the reins are off.”
Joc Pederson and Muncy homered back-to-back for the second straight game.
Pederson sent Nova’s first pitch of the game over the right-field wall and Muncy followed with a shot to center field for a 2-0 lead.
”They have a really good lineup but we’ve got to be able to do a better job than that,” Nova said.
Muncy led off the third with his team-high 20th homer for a 3-1 lead.
”I never thought I could hit this many home runs in such a short amount of time,” said Muncy, who has played in just 63 games this season.
Freese provided the lone bright spot for the Pirates, going 3 for 3 with a pair of RBI singles that twice cut the Dodgers’ lead to one run, and a solo homer off reliever Yimi Garcia.
Chris Taylor kept the slugfest going in the fourth with a two-run shot that made it 5-2. He went 3 for 4 with a strikeout and finished a single shy of hitting for the cycle.
”It seems to be contagious up and down the lineup, which makes it fun in the dugout,” Taylor said.
Yasmani Grandal led off the sixth with a homer and Taylor doubled to deep center field to chase Nova.
Nova gave up a season-high seven earned runs and nine hits, struck out three and walked two in five innings.
”It’s not fun to give up that many homers,” Nova said. ”Sometimes you give up that many runs and you don’t feel that bad, but giving up five homers is too much.”
Nova’s replacement didn’t fare any better. Enrique Hernandez blasted a two-run homer on the first pitch from Dovydas Neverauskas, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 8-2.
Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp’s run of eight hits in eight consecutive at-bats ended when he struck out to end the first. One night after tying a career high with five hits, including a three-run homer, Kemp was hitless in four at-bats with two other strikeouts.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (right index finger infection) went on the DL retroactive to June 30. He was scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler was moved to the DL retroactive to June 29. He began a rehab assignment for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
RHP Clay Holmes (0-0, 2.25 ERA) will replace Musgrove in the series finale on Wednesday. Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (1-3, 4.68) took a no-hitter into extra innings in Pittsburgh last August before allowing a walk-off solo homer in the 10th.
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