Daulton Varsho grew up around baseball, so he knows how the game is played.
At this point in the season, you’re either grinding each day for a postseason berth or playing the role of spoiler.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in the latter category.
But Varsho, the son of former major leaguer Gary Varsho, helped put a dent in the Mariners’ playoff hopes by going 3-for-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs Saturday night in Arizona’s 7-3 victory in Seattle.
The Diamondbacks (46-96) snapped a six-game losing streak and won for just the second time in their past 13 games. They’ll go for a series victory when the teams meet again at T-Mobile Park.
It was Arizona’s first victory against Seattle in five games after being swept in a three-game series in Phoenix last weekend and losing 5-4 Friday night.
“I think a lot of teams we play here at the end are in the playoff hunt,” Varsho said. “Knowing that, we’re all trying to spoil their celebration. … It’s nothing personal, but it’s just kind of the way that this game works.”
Varsho’s two-run homer capped a four-run fourth inning that gave Arizona a 5-2 lead. He added a two-run double in the sixth. A catcher by trade, Varsho also made an athletic catch in right field to rob Seattle’s Jake Bauers of a hit.
“He seems to really be on the baseball, impacting the baseball, and doing it at really critical times and that’s what we ask our players to do, to be at their competitive best when it’s needed most,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “He made a terrific play in right field, He just was all over the diamond, and that’s what he’s capable of.”
The Mariners (77-65) dropped two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees in the chase for the American League’s second and final wild-card berth.
Mitch Haniger and Jarred Kelenic homered for the Mariners, but right-hander Chris Flexen (11-6) was tagged for five runs in five innings.
“Unfortunately, these games happen,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I know we want to win every game here down the stretch, but realistically that’s tough to do. It’s probably not going to happen. We’ve got to come back at it (Sunday), got to win the series, we’ll need a good effort by everyone.”
Sunday’s series finale is scheduled to feature a matchup of left-handers in Arizona’s Tyler Gilbert (1-2, 3.12 ERA) against Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi (7-8, 4.32).
Gilbert pitched well last Sunday in his first career appearance against the Mariners, allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings before Seattle rallied for a 10-4 victory. He’s 0-1 in four games since pitching a no-hitter against San Diego on Aug. 14 in his first major-league start.
Kikuchi, the Mariners’ lone All-Star representative, didn’t pitch in the series last weekend in Phoenix. He’s 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in a lone start against the Diamondbacks.
–Field Level Media