J.P. Crawford has relied on a simple approach that has him in quite a groove.
Crawford had three hits and three RBIs, and Wade LeBlanc struck out six in five innings to help the Seattle Mariners beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday night for their third straight win.
“I’m just trying to be on time, not miss my pitch,” said Crawford, who is batting .368 (21-for-64) with 11 extra-base hits and a 1.1045 OPS over his last 18 games. “Just trying to hit the ball back up the middle.”
He put Seattle on the board with an RBI double in the first inning and then made it a 3-0 game with a run-scoring triple in the second.
Those runs came at the expense of Brewers right-hander Adrian Houser, who had earned a spot start with an impressive showing out of the bullpen over the past few weeks.
Houser (2-2) allowed three runs and four hits. He walked three and struck out four.
“He just didn’t have command of his fastball from the get-go tonight,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That was basically it. We were thinking of 60 to 70 pitches and he kind of just ate them up right away.”
Houser had excelled in a relief role for Milwaukee but found himself in an early hole as Mallex Smith opened the night with a leadoff triple then scored on Crawford’s double.
Freddy Peralta came on in the third inning and struck out five while allowing two hits and a pair of walks over four scoreless innings.
Mariners opener Matt Carasiti needed just 18 pitches to get through his one inning. LeBlanc (5-2) took over in the second and kept Milwaukee off the board until Mike Moustakas led off the sixth with his 23rd home run.
Ben Gamel got the Brewers to 3-2 when he hit a line drive down the left-field line that bounced into left field allowing him to score on an inside-the-park home run — the first by a Brewer since Tyler Saladino did it on May 14, 2018, at Arizona, and the first at Miller Park since Orlando Arcia on June 17, 2017, against the Padres.
“It happens,” LeBlanc said. Fortunately, it was less runs than they gave up.”
LeBlanc allowed five hits and a walk in five innings. With the right-handed-hitting Jesus Aguilar set to lead off the seventh, the Mariners turned to right-hander Austin Adams, who left the tying run stranded when he struck out Christian Yelich.
Crawford struck again in the ninth, driving in Mallex Smith with a two-out double off Jeremy Jeffress, and Rolenis Elias worked two scoreless innings for his 10th save of the season.
“Good ball game,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We had just enough offense to get it done, but the key was really the pitching. “A nice night for our bullpen again and Wade LeBlanc was really sharp, too.”
SETBACK FOR GONZALEZ
Houser’s chance came in part because right-hander Jimmy Nelson was moved to the bullpen after three rocky outings following an 18-month rehab from shoulder surgery but also because left-hander Gio Gonzalez had been sidelined with a sore shoulder.
Milwaukee had hoped to get Gonzalez back just before the All-Star break but he experienced some discomfort during a bullpen session over the weekend and will need some extra time before resuming his rehab process.
“He’s going to continue to play catch,” Counsell said. “Then we just need to string some good days in a row and then we’ll get back out in the bullpen.”
The Brewers have dropped 10 of their last 14 games including four of six to open their current 10-game homestand.?”We haven’t played well,” Counsell said. “We just have to keep coming out and fight. We have four games left (on the homestand). We still have a chance to win some games.”
The Brewers remain just one game back of the NL Central-leading Cubs, who lost to Atlanta Wednesday night.”
SANTANA’S STREAK CONTINUES
Seattle’s Domingo Santana doubled, walked and reached on an error as he extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. Santana, acquired over the winter from the Brewers, has a hit in 19 of his last 21 games and is batting .337 (29-for-86) during that stretch with five doubles, seven homers, 18 RBI and a 1.048 OPS.
Mariners: 3B Kyle Seager was held out of the starting lineup after suffering a minor injury to his right hand Tuesday night in the series opener. Servais said the move was precautionary and that Seager could return Thursday.
Brewers: OF Lorenzo Cain was available in an emergency situation but sat out a second straight game after receiving a cryogenic treatment on his right thumb Tuesday. Counsell said he thinks Cain could return to action by Friday when the Brewers open a weekend series with the Pirates.
The Mariners go for the sweep Thursday afternoon when RHP Mike Leake (7-6, 4.54 ERA) faces off against Milwaukee right-hander Chase Anderson (3-2, 4.70 ERA) at Miller Park.
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