MLB: Mitch Haniger’s home run enough to lift Mariners over Guardians

Mitch Haniger hit a three-run home run and Marco Gonzales pitched six strong innings as the Seattle Mariners defeated the visiting Cleveland Guardians 3-1 Thursday afternoon in the first meeting of the season between the American League playoff hopefuls.

Gonzales (9-12) limited the AL Central-leading Guardians to one run on four hits. The left-hander walked one and struck out four.

Andres Munoz pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his third save of the season, flashing a 100-mph fastball while striking out three of the four batters he faced. The Mariners improved to 51-0 this season when taking a lead into the eighth inning, the lone team in the majors to be undefeated in that situation.

Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie (9-10) was the hard-luck loser. McKenzie allowed just three hits — including Haniger’s homer — in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

All of the runs were scored in the first inning.

Cleveland’s Steven Kwan led off the game with a double to right field. Amed Rosario reached on an infield single, with Kwan advancing to third. The run scored as Jose Ramirez grounded into a forceout. Ramirez was thrown out by Seattle catcher Cal Raleigh while attempting to steal second.

The Mariners, who currently are in position for one of the AL’s three wild-card playoff berths, responded in the bottom of the inning.

Rookie Julio Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk on a 3-2 pitch and Jesse Winker lined a single to center field. Haniger then homered to left-center on a 1-1 count, his seventh of an injury-plagued season.

Mariners All-Star first baseman Ty France left the game in the third inning after suffering a right calf bruise on a collision with Ramirez in the first. Shortstop J.P. Crawford’s throw in an attempt to turn a double play was high, and Ramirez hit France in the leg as the infielder landed after leaping to make the catch. France suffered a wrist injury on a similar play earlier this season and spent time on the 10-day injured list.

–Field Level Media

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