Mariners look to keep ‘fun’ going against Angels

MLB

The Seattle Mariners have gotten good production from the top three batters in their lineup.

Mitch Haniger, Ty France and Kyle Seager have a combined .272 batting average with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs.

But the bottom of the order has been a wasteland.

That changed Friday night. The Mariners opened a three-game series with the visiting Los Angeles Angels with a 7-4 victory, and the teams meet again Saturday night at T-Mobile Park.

Dylan Moore, batting sixth, who entered the game with a .108 average, went 2 for 3 with a home run.

Tom Murphy, who was serving as the designated hitter and batting ninth, went 2 for 3 with a double and homer after coming in with a .111 average.

“Fun night,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I think offensively we needed one of those nights. We haven’t had one in a while with guys contributing up and down the lineup.”

Moore earned the starting job at second base this season after batting .255 with eight homers and 17 RBIs in a utility role in last year’s pandemic-shortened season.

He entered Friday’s game with 27 strikeouts in 65 at-bats and was dangerously close to his batting average dropping below .100.

“It’s no secret I’ve been scuffling the last few weeks,” Moore said. “The game of baseball, it’s tough.

“It’s very frustrating. There are all types of doubts that creep into your mind and you got to keep them at bay with your work level and just kind of just work through it. It’s a long, long season so I just kind of take it day by day and not worry about the numbers or anything like that and just try to be my best self every day.”

Murphy, who missed all of last season with a broken foot, batted .273 with 18 homers and 40 RBIs in 2019 after being acquired in an early season trade with San Francisco.

He struck out 18 times in his first 45 at-bats this season.

“It’s been one of the biggest challenges of my career,” Murphy said. “There’s no doubt about it, especially at the professional level. This is my first Opening Day this year in the big leagues at 30 years old. It’s not the start that I imagined, especially after missing all last year and wanting to do as well as I can. But hopefully (Friday) was a sign of good things to come and the way I’m going to trend.”

Mariners relievers Drew Steckenrider, Casey Sadler and Anthony Misiewicz retired all 12 Angels they faced before Los Angeles got a run on two hits in the ninth.

“They made their pitches. They didn’t miss their spots,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Seattle’s bullpen. “They executed, and that’s why they’re successful.”

The Mariners are scheduled to face Angels right-hander Griffin Canning (1-2, 8.40 ERA) on Saturday. Canning is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two previous starts against Seattle.

Seattle right-hander Ljay Newsome (1-0, 1.69 ERA) is set to start in place of lefty Nick Margevicius, who was placed on the 10-day injured list earlier this week with left shoulder inflammation. Newsome will be making his first career appearance against the Angels.

–Field Level Media

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