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In a pinch, Tim Beckham homer gives Mariners a victory over St. Louis

Seattle Mariners' Tim Beckham (1) celebrates with J.P. Crawford, right, after Beckham hit a go-ahead solo home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Seattle Mariners' Tim Beckham (1) celebrates with J.P. Crawford, right, after Beckham hit a go-ahead solo home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SEATTLE – After a scorching start that inspired his own T-shirt: “Flip it like Beckham,” there have been limited opportunities to do so for Tim Beckham. It’s been mostly spot starts and pinch-hit appearances with J.P. Crawford taking over at shortstop.

Over that time, Beckham has tried to be patient and professional in waiting for his chances to produce for a team that has no plans of making him part of their future. He waits to play or be told of his next stop.

But that uncertainty was momentarily forgotten in the time that it took for a baseball to leave his bat and rocket over the fence in left field.

Brought in to pinch-hit for Mac Williamson to start the eighth inning of a tie game, Beckham smashed the decisive solo homer off St. Louis right-hander Giovanny Gallegos in a Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Cardinals.

And yes, there was a bat flip. It was as if to say, “I’m still here and I can still hit a little.”

Beckham’s late heroics didn’t end the game. Seattle still had to get the final three outs. That’s never a simple thing for a bullpen that has dealt with its share of inconsistency this season.

But Roenis Elias, the Mariners closer for now, worked a scoreless ninth to secure a victory and snap a four-game losing streak.

Opening for the third time in as many appearances, right-hander Matt Carasiti finally gave up a run in the role after working the last two “starts” with scoreless innings, as Jose Martinez hit the first of his two solo homers.

Handed a 1-0 deficit, Wade LeBlanc, the “bulk” or Costco pitcher, pitched until the Mariners had turned it into a 4-1 lead.

LeBlanc held the Cardinals scoreless for the first four innings of his outing while his teammates rewarded him immediately with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second off Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty.

With two outs, Dee Gordon pulled a single into right field that scored Austin Nola from second. An irritated Flaherty gave up an infield single to Mallex Smith and walked the next two batters to force a run across for a 2-1 lead. The potential big inning was stymied when Daniel Vogelbach’s ground ball to first was gloved for the final out of the inning.

The Mariners pushed the lead to 4-1 in the fifth, with Flaherty still somehow in the game despite some meandering command and plenty of pitch-filled at-bats. Vogelbach worked a leadoff walk and Omar Narvaez followed with a moon-shot homer into the seats in right field. It was Narvaez’s 12th homer of the season.

LeBlanc allowed his only run in the sixth on Martinez’s second solo homer of the game. After issuing a two-out walk and allowing a double to one-time Mariners prospect Tyler O’Neill, LeBlanc was lifted for Anthony Bass, who got Yadier Molina to line out softly to shortstop, ending the inning.

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