From Associated Press
SEATTLE — Tim Beckham was sticky and gross from a Gatorade bath and it felt great.
Beckham hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning that he punctuated with a little bit of a bat flip, helping the Seattle Mariners snap a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Beckham celebrated at the top of the dugout steps with J.P. Crawford, the player who took his place in the lineup a few months ago. He was able to forget his diminished role, at least for one night.
“It’s been a battle, man,” Beckham said. “I mean when you’re platooning and trying to find your timing at the plate and find (at-bats), it’s not easy. When you’re in that role, you want to go up there and you can’t afford to miss a fastball.”
Well, technically, Beckham did miss that first-pitch heater Tuesday.
“So then it was just battle mode,” Beckham said.
Beckham caught up to another fastball for his third career pinch-hit homer and 13th of the season off Giovanny Gallegos (1-1) in the eighth inning. The hit broke a 4-all tie and sent the Cardinals to their sixth loss in seven games, dropping one game below .500. Beckham began the season really hot as the Mariners started 13-2, but cooled off and was eventually demoted to a platoon player.
“He’s handled it pretty well, I’ll give him some credit,” Seattle pitcher Scott Servais said. Certainly, over the last 10 days he’s been much more at peace with it knowing he’s going to get an opportunity to play, just knowing it’s sporadic and won’t be in the same place every time.”
Omar Narvaez also homered for the Mariners to help build a 4-2 lead through six innings. But Yairo Munoz, in the lineup for the injured Matt Carpenter, tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh with a two-out, two-run homer.
Mariners reliever Austin Adams (1-0) entered and used a nasty slider to help strike out the four batters he faced to set up Beckham.
“He’s run through some really good hitters and makes them look silly at times,” Servais said of Adams. “He just gets them so sped up with the velocity and the late break on that pitch. It is an outlier. It is a different kind of slider. You don’t see many of those in this league.”
“Really one mistake out of the bullpen ended up costing us,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Clean game, we just came up short.”
The Cardinals starter wrote Skaggs’ name in the pitching mound dirt before his start against the Mariners and had his friend on his mind most of the night. The two were so close, and the impact of Skaggs’ death so powerful, that St. Louis manager Mike Shildt offered to let Flaherty miss his start. Flaherty declined.
Flaherty pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.
“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions the last 24 hours or however long it’s been,” Flaherty said. “But there was really no way I wasn’t going to make this start. … It’s been a lot going on, a lot of people I’ve talked to, but it was nice to be out there after everything that’s gone on.”
HANIGER SHUT DOWN
Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger was sent home early from the team’s recent road trip and was scheduled to see the doctor Tuesday. The former All-Star is recovering from testicle surgery and pushed it too hard as he began to ramp up his rehabilitation, manager Scott Servais said. There was no specific injury while in Milwaukee and Houston, he said, it just “didn’t feel all that great.”
Cardinals: The team reinstated reliever John Brebbia from the paternity list.
Mariners: Relief pitcher Hunter Strickland is throwing up to 200 feet on the side and is scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday as he continues to return from a strained lat. … Starter Felix Hernandez is also throwing on the side as he rehabilitates a lat strain. Servais said he will hopefully throw from the mound this weekend, too. … Reliever Brandon Brennan is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in Arizona on Wednesday and could return from a fatigued pitching shoulder sometime in the first two weeks after the All-Star break. … Center fielder Braden Bishop has a follow-up visit with his doctor after his surgery for a ruptured spleen and will not resume team activities until after that appointment.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.35 ERA) is 5-2 in games pitched against AL West opponents.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (7-7, 4.63 ERA) is 5-2 following a loss (he lost to Milwaukee on June 27), the only current Seattle starter above .500.