Home News Marco Gonzales, J.P. Crawford, Ty France lead Mariners’ win vs. A’s

Marco Gonzales, J.P. Crawford, Ty France lead Mariners’ win vs. A’s

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SEATTLE — Marco Gonzales rebounded from an admitted “clunker” his last time out, while J.P. Crawford and Ty France found ways to clear the marine layer on a night when most balls were stopping short of the warning track, a combination that led the Mariners to a 3-2 win over the A’s on Tuesday at T-Mobile Park.

Seattle has now won consecutive games for the second time in two weeks, having dropped four of five following a win in that span. The club has also now won all five of its games against last-place Oakland and advanced back to .500 (24-24).

The more concerning development, however, is with France, who in his final plate appearance took a 94.5 mph fastball from reliever Trevor May off his left wrist and was forced to exit.

Initial X-rays came back negative for a fracture, but there is a contusion and significant swelling in the area, enough to where he wasn’t available postgame due to the extended treatment he was receiving. France, an All-Star last year who has started 46 of Seattle’s 48 games, is considered day to day, but a stint on the injured list isn’t off the table.

France immediately went to the ground and remained there for an extended period while being tended to by head athletic trainer Kyle Torgerson.

“Any time you go out there and you see a player down like that, you’re hoping everything’s OK, but you just don’t know until you get a chance to calm it down,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He’s got significant swelling there. It’s going to be sore for a while.”

The development is a discouraging one given that — despite a slash line of .261/.341/.380 (.721 OPS) that’s perhaps below his standard — France is one of the Mariners’ everyday players.

“I tell him to get out of the way every time, and he doesn’t listen to me ever,” Crawford said good-naturedly. “But, yeah, obviously not good. But he’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played with.”

A positive development, however, was that Crawford continues to produce, and the offseason overhaul to his swing continues to shine, Tuesday being among the most prime examples.

In the fifth inning, Crawford ripped a game-tying, two-run homer on a 95.2 mph fastball from rookie right-hander Luis Medina, one of the few promising players on a struggling Oakland team. The homer left Crawford’s bat at 104.2 mph, according to Statcast, one day after he scorched a 110.1 mph single that marked the hardest hit of his career.

“Everything’s natural, I feel like,” Crawford said of his swinging mechanics in 2023. “It’s a cool feeling just to be able to flick some balls and not to really panic in the box.”

France made it back-to-back shots with a 420-foot blast that smashed one of the lights on the out-of-town scoreboard, easily searing through a marine layer that impacted multiple line drives, including Crawford’s, which barely cleared the fence. Seattle had seven hard-hit outs (balls hit with an exit velocity over 95 mph), the most notable being a flyout from Eugenio Suárez to the center-field warning track that was projected by Statcast to travel 406 feet.

“The last couple nights we’ve hit some balls to the deepest part of the park here. … We haven’t had a whole lot of luck here,” Servais said. “Guys are swinging the bat better. We’re seeing that. That’s all you can do — put a good swing on it, hit the ball hard.”

The Mariners entered Tuesday just 5-16 when scoring three runs or fewer, but they overcame those efforts with Gonzales’ fourth quality start.

The lefty worked past two runs in the first inning to retire 13 of the final 18 batters he faced, while clearing the sixth inning. He effectively tunneled his curveball and changeup against Oakland’s righty-heavy lineup en route to 12 whiffs on 40 swings. Also of note, only five of the 17 balls in play against him were hard-hit, and the A’s averaged an 85.6 mph exit velocity.

It was a drastic improvement from Gonzales’ last outing in Boston, where he failed to make it out of the second inning. The Mariners are now 6-3 when he starts this year.

“I just tried to reinstate confidence in myself this past week and say, ‘Hey, just flush that one, just go right after them,’” Gonzales said. “I’ve been feeling too good this year to not have that confidence.”

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