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Dee Gordon goes yard twice, but James Paxton roughed up again as Mariners fall to Giants

Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon watches his two run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning of a spring baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., Friday, March 9, 2018. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon watches his two run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning of a spring baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., Friday, March 9, 2018. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)
By Larry Stone Seattle Times

Giants 10, Mariners 7 at Scottsdale Stadium

It was one of those Cactus League days with a breeze blowing and the ball flying out of the ballpark. Each team hit four home runs, with Dee Gordon, of all people, blasting two for the Mariners, while Daniel Vogelbach and Nelson Cruz each left the yard.

Cruz, in fact, was on base all four times he came to the plate, with a single (after an 0-for-14 start to the Cactus League) and two walks in addition to the line-drive home run.

“It just takes time, especially the big power hitters, to get their timing down,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I thought not just the balls he hit hard today, but the two walks, laying off the slow breaking balls. He’s a proven guy, and you’ve got to give him some time to feel comfortable. He feels comfortable in the box right now.”

So does Vogelbach, who has been the revelation of early spring so far. He hit the ball hard three times, getting two doubles as well as the homer. He is hitting .526 (10-for-19) with a 1.759 OPS.

Mariners starter James Paxton, coming off a game in which he gave up seven hits and seven runs in 1 2/3 innings against Texas, worked three-plus innings and gave up five hits and four runs. His highlight was striking out the side – Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence and Andrew McCutchen – in the second.

“I made some good pitches that inning,” Paxton said. “I got ahead of some guys, and my breaking stuff isn’t quite there yet, the sharpness of it, but I got some fastballs by some guys and then threw a really good cutter to McCutchen and struck him out.”

Assessing his progress, Paxton said, “This is about right for me. I’m making strides forward. Today was better than my last time out, for sure, and just continue to get better each time out until the bell rings.”

Player of the game

The Mariners had a lot of offense, but it’s hard to overlook Gordon, who hit two home runs in 653 at-bats last year for the Marlins and had two on Friday. Gordon has three this spring and can’t quite figure out where the pop is coming from. Actually, he can.

“I got lucky,” he said, and then repeated the sentiment three more times. “I keep getting lucky. That’s it.”

But Servais believes it’s more than that.

“He’s seeing the ball good, and he does have sneaky power. When the ball runs in, he drops the head on it, that hot zone for the left-handed hitters.”

Gordon, with just 11 career homers as a major leaguer, said he’s never had a two-homer game – “never ever in my life. Not on the streets, a game, backyard, nothing.”

He added, “Getting lucky is fun. But seriously, luck, wasn’t nothing to do with me.”

Quotable

“He knows who he is. He said, ‘I’m good’ after the second one. I’m like, how do you not want to hit three? He said, ‘I’ve got to save them.’” – Servais on Dee Gordon, who came out of the game after his second homer.

On tap

The Mariners have another night game on Saturday, this time in Goodyear against the Reds. Ariel Miranda will start for the Mariners, while Sal Romano, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound right-hander, starts for the Reds. First pitch is at 5:05 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast live on mariners.com.

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