Ty France is finding his offensive groove, and that’s big news for the Seattle Mariners.
The 28-year-old first baseman homered for the second consecutive game as the Mariners routed the host Detroit Tigers 9-3 on Tuesday. France will go for three in a row on Wednesday in the middle contest of a three-game set.
France hadn’t homered since Aug. 6 prior to his solo shot against the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday. He added three hits, three runs and two RBIs on Tuesday.
France now has 16 homers this season.
“You go through waves,” he said. “Unfortunately that one took a little longer. We put in a lot of work, and it’s nice to finally flip that switch.”
Seattle has relied on its pitching to stay in the hunt for an American League wild-card berth. The offense came alive on Tuesday with a six-run outburst in the third inning.
“It’s great to see,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Just keep the line moving. Everybody contributing and having good at-bats and barreling the balls up. We just haven’t done that recently. Sometimes it just takes a night like that to get everybody confident and relaxed again.”
Catcher Cal Raleigh hit his 19th homer to spark the big inning, and he added a sacrifice fly later in the frame.
“He’s a phenomenal catcher and for him to have at-bats that he’s having, it’s big for the team,” France said. “The biggest thing is just having that confidence of, ‘I belong in the big leagues.'”
Seattle left-hander Marco Gonzales, who has won his past two starts, will pitch the middle game of the series. Gonzales (9-12, 3.97 ERA) was stingy on Thursday, holding Cleveland to one run and four hits in six innings.
“Pitching is the name of the game, and we’ve been riding that wagon all year long,” Servais said. “Marco was awesome (Thursday). Ton of credit to him.
“You look at all the outings he’s had this year, and that’s as sharp as he’s been all year, in my opinion, against a really good lineup. (It’s) a lineup that you have to stay on the edges (because) they put the ball in play. I thought we played really good defense behind him but awesome job by him to get through six innings.”
Gonzales has given up only one home run in his last four outings, which is crucial for a starter who pitches to contact (79 strikeouts in 140 2/3 innings).
He is 1-3 with a 3.77 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers.
The Tigers send out Tyler Alexander (3-8, 4.83 ERA), who will look to bounce back from his worst start this season. The left-hander surrendered seven runs and eight hits, including three home runs, in three innings against the Texas Rangers on Friday.
“I thought I made some good pitches,” he said. “I got ahead of guys and couldn’t put them away. It seemed like every ball they hit hard went over the fence.”
Alexander is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three career appearances against the Mariners, including two starts.
Seattle hopes that shortstop J.P. Crawford will be back in the lineup on Wednesday. Crawford is dealing with a strained pectoral muscle, and he hasn’t played since Saturday.
“He’s feeling better,” Servais said. “I thought it would be best to keep him out (on Tuesday).”
The Mariners recalled Abraham Toro from Triple-A Tacoma and started him at second base with Adam Frazier shifting to shortstop.
Detroit center fielder Riley Greene will look to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple on Tuesday, giving him a .441 (15-for-34) average during the streak. Victor Reyes saw his 12-game hitting streak end when he finished 0-for-4.
–Field Level Media