A couple of years ago in a game in Pittsburgh, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais gave Marco Gonzales the take sign on a 3-1 pitch.
That isn’t uncommon for an American League pitcher, who rarely gets to bat, playing in an interleague game in a National League park.
Gonzales took a strike, then fouled off a couple of pitches before getting called out on strikes.
When Gonzales got back to the dugout, he had a question for his manager.
“What, you don’t think I can go deep?” Gonzales asked Servais.
Of course, Servais knew Gonzales was a top two-way player as a junior at Gonzaga in 2013, when he went 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA and led the Zags at the plate with a .311 average.
Gonzales will get another chance to show off his batting skills when the Mariners (73-62) play Saturday night against the host Arizona Diamondbacks (45-91) in Phoenix.
In Gonzales’ second at-bat in that game in Pittsburgh, he doubled to right field and scored from second on a single.
“That was a lot of fun,” Gonzales said at the time. “That’s kind of what my whole career was like there (at Gonzaga) — just throwing and then gearing up for an at-bat later.
“I was just trying to take a short swing and get the barrel on the ball. … I was expecting to get a couple bunts down today, but it didn’t line up, so I had to get the swing off a little bit.”
Gonzales, who is 6-5 with a 4.02 ERA this season, has won his past five decisions since his most recent loss on July 3. He’s 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two previous appearances against the Diamondbacks.
Humberto Castellanos (1-1, 2.14) is scheduled to start for Arizona on Saturday. The right-hander has yet to face the Mariners in his career.
Castellanos picked up his first career win on Wednesday after allowing one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mariners won the series opener 6-5 in 10 innings Friday night as Jarred Kelenic singled home the winning run after earlier hitting a two-run homer.
Mitch Haniger also hit a two-run homer for the Mariners, who won their third straight game and remained four games back in the race for the AL’s second and final wild-card playoff berth.
“Just another one-run game,” said Servais, whose team improved to 29-16 in one-run contests and 13-4 in extra innings. “It’s what we do.”
The Diamondbacks rallied from a 5-1 deficit with a four-run seventh inning, with Nick Ahmed’s two-run single tying the score. But Josh VanMeter hit into an inning-ending double play in the eighth, and Arizona was retired in order in the ninth and 10th innings.
Madison Bumgarner started for the Diamondbacks and gave up five runs over six innings, with five walks and five strikeouts.
The veteran left-hander said the baseballs felt slick.
“I could sit there and rub it for 30 minutes and it never felt any better,” Bumgarner said. “I don’t know.”
The Diamondbacks are scheduled to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the team’s 2001 World Series championship on Saturday, with former manager Bob Brenly set to throw out the first pitch.
–Field Level Media