Paxton settles in, feels good in return from DL

After shaky first, Mariners lefty twirls four scoreless

Paxton settles in, feels good in return from DL

CHICAGO -- James Paxton's return from the disabled list didn't go exactly as planned Thursday, but the lanky lefty overcame a rocky start and had the Mariners in position to win until the White Sox rallied late for a 7-6 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

Despite allowing a trio of runs in the first, Paxton turned a 6-3 lead over to the bullpen in the sixth in a 90-pitch outing as he returned from an 18-day absence due to a bruised elbow.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners let White Sox rally, then walk off

Mariners let White Sox rally, then walk off

CHICAGO -- As far as the Mariners are concerned, they can't change the name of U.S. Cellular Field soon enough. A day after the White Sox announced they'll be renaming the facility Guaranteed Rate Field for next season, Seattle's struggles on the South Side continued as Todd Frazier singled in Adam Eaton for a 7-6 walk-off win on Thursday night.

Frazier delivered his third RBI of the game with one out in the ninth inning off reliever Nick Vincent as the White Sox rallied from a 6-3 deficit over the final three frames.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Seager ailing, Mariners recall Freeman

Servais hopeful slugging 3B can play Friday; Zych optioned, LeBlanc designated

With Seager ailing, Mariners recall Freeman

CHICAGO -- With third baseman Kyle Seager's health uncertain for the next few days, the Mariners recalled utility man Mike Freeman before Thursday's 7-6 loss to the White Sox to provide some infield depth and optioned reliever Tony Zych back to Triple-A Tacoma.

Freeman, 29, has played primarily shortstop and second base during his seven years in the Minors, but can fill in at third if needed. Seager sat out Wednesday's 5-0 loss to the Yankees with a bruised right foot after getting hit by a hard foul ball on Tuesday.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix opposes fellow ace Sale in Chicago

Felix opposes fellow ace Sale in Chicago

Back on Aug. 14, Chris Sale was scheduled to pitch against the Marlins' Jose Fernandez during the finale of a three-game series in Miami. Fernandez eventually was moved from that day, which didn't upset the White Sox ace, who said with a smile that he wouldn't miss having to hit against Fernandez.

Neither Sale nor Felix Hernandez will have to swing the bat in this aces-high matchup Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, featuring the popular Elvis Night promotion. Hernandez is 4-0 with 3.80 ERA in seven starts since returning from a two-month disabled list stint with a strained right calf.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kuma's quality start guarantees club option

Starter allows three runs on six hits in six innings in loss to Yankees

Kuma's quality start guarantees club option

SEATTLE -- Hisashi Iwakuma has a knack for turning in good outings even when he's not at his sharpest. He did so again in Wednesday's game, turning a two-run deficit after two innings into a quality start.

"Sometimes you have your stuff, and sometimes you don't have your stuff," Iwakuma said through his translator Antony Suzuki. "When you don't have your stuff, it's about executing when you need to, making pitches when you have to."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz better after exiting with back spasms

Cruz better after exiting with back spasms

SEATTLE -- Designated hitter Nelson Cruz left the Mariners' 5-0 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon in the eighth inning with back spasms. After treatment and an adjustment to his pelvis, he said he feels better.

Cruz's back started bothering him Tuesday night when he had four at-bats.

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners silenced at plate, drop finale to Yanks

Mariners silenced at plate, drop finale to Yanks

SEATTLE -- Masahiro Tanaka threw seven shutout innings and Gary Sanchez homered yet again in the Yankees' 5-0 victory over the Mariners Wednesday afternoon to close the series in Seattle. With its second consecutive win, New York took the three-game set.

"They pitched us well all series," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We haven't been shut down like that in quite some time, and if you don't score, it's going to be tough to win."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle and covered the Yankees on Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller among top prospect performers Wednesday

Red Sox flamethrower notches 10 K's with career-high seven frames

Miller among top prospect performers Wednesday

Michael Kopech may be the hottest pitcher in all of Minor League Baseball these days as he continues to shut down opposing lineups with a plethora of strikeouts.

The 20-year-old was on fire once again Wednesday, leading Class A Advanced Salem to a 9-1 win over Potomac.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker battles in return but Mariners fall short vs. Yanks

Walker battles in return but Mariners fall short vs. Yanks

SEATTLE -- CC Sabathia got back on track and Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run home run to open up a close game en route to a 5-1 Yankees win over the Mariners on Tuesday night at Safeco Field. The Yankees evened the three-game series at a game apiece and knocked the Mariners back to two games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.

"It comes down to location for CC, and avoiding some of the bad breaks that he gets," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And tonight we got him some runs, too. That always helps, too. I know what his ERA is, but I'm going to tell you, he's pitched a lot better than that ERA, I really believe."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle and covered the Mariners on Tuesday.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle and covered the Yankees on Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners add righties Zych, Walker

Mariners add righties Zych, Walker

SEATTLE -- The Mariners activated right-handed reliever Tony Zych from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday to fill the hole in their bullpen, and they optioned infielder/outfielder Stefen Romero to Triple-A Tacoma.

The move was in addition to recalling Taijuan Walker from Tacoma to make Tuesday's start vs. the Yankees. Cody Martin was optioned to Tacoma to make room for Walker.

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cishek regains form following stint on DL

Cishek regains form following stint on DL

SEATTLE -- Safeco Field's lights don't dim and music doesn't blast every time Steve Cishek enters the game anymore. The win isn't on the line every time he jogs out from the bullpen. But since the former closer came off the 15-day disabled list, he has looked as good as ever.

"It's just nice to have some power in my legs," Cishek said. "That's the biggest difference, is being able to get my foot down and drive the ball."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle and covered the Mariners on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners make homers count to topple Yankees

Mariners make homers count to topple Yankees

SEATTLE -- Not even a pair of home runs apiece by the Yankees' Gary Sanchez and Starlin Castro could derail the Mariners on Monday night at Safeco Field as Seattle rode a pair of three-run blasts by Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino to a 7-5 series-opening win.

"This team is picking one another up," Zunino said. "We had a tough loss [Sunday], but we know we're not going to be perfect through this stretch here. I think guys did a good job coming to the park with energy today, and to get a win like this, coming from behind, is huge."

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Yankees on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zunino's confidence soars with sustained success

Zunino's confidence soars with sustained success

SEATTLE -- Oh, what a difference a year has made for Mike Zunino.

The Mariners catcher was sent down to Triple-A last season on Aug. 28, his big league season done after posting a .174/.230/.300 line with 11 homers in 112 games. As Seattle was winding up its year, the 2012 first-round Draft pick was left searching for answers in Tacoma.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz regroups, runs saves streak to 10 games

Diaz regroups, runs saves streak to 10 games

SEATTLE -- It wasn't a perfect save for Edwin Diaz, but the hard-throwing rookie is a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities for the Mariners, and that's plenty good enough for a club contending for a playoff berth as the stretch run approaches.

Diaz set a Mariners record by converting his 10th straight save to start his career, breaking the record of Byron McLaughlin in 1979. And he did so Monday after putting runners on second and third with one out before slamming the door in a 7-5 victory over the Yankees at Safeco Field.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Neither walls nor excited fans could stop O'Malley

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Neither walls nor excited fans could stop O'Malley

As has been proven on numerous occasions this season, players tumbling over the wall while trying to make a great grab can lead to some cheesy situationsstunned fan reactions and other noteworthy circumstances. After all, it's probably pretty weird to see a big, tall baseball player suddenly running at you, full speed.

Mariners outfielder Shawn O'Malley (who has actually played more shortstop than outfield this season, impressively) is the latest player to act out this phenomenon, and his effort in Monday's 7-5 win over the Yankees at Safeco Field was worth a shoutout due to its level of difficulty. Notice how O'Malley barely gives that cursory, "How far am I from the wall?" look outfielders do when they're in this situation. Notice how absolutely dedicated he is to the play, no matter what.

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Nelson Cruz's bat broke and he still hit a homer

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Nelson Cruz's bat broke and he still hit a homer

Nelson Cruz is a strong man. He's proven that time and time again throughout his career, making cavernous stadiums look like Little League fields with his home run heroics. 

Consider his arrival to Seattle's Safeco Field, largely considered a "pitcher's park." In his first season wtih the M's in 2015, Cruz clubbed 44 homers (17 of them at Safeco), and had amassed 31 this season leading heading into Monday night's hard-fought 7-5 win over the Yankees.

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Mariners bring back Heredia, put Storen on DL

Mariners bring back Heredia, put Storen on DL

SEATTLE -- After seeing a fly ball to left field drop in for a base hit to drive in the go-ahead ninth-inning run in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Brewers, the Mariners moved to shore up their outfield defense by recalling Guillermo Heredia from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday while placing reliever Drew Storen on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

Heredia hit .280 with a home run and three RBIs in 12 games in a previous stint with Seattle before being optioned back to Tacoma on Aug. 10. He proved to be a capable defender who added some athleticism to the Mariners bench during that time, and he'll resume a similar role now that he's back with the club.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners build lead, but fall after Brewers' rally

Mariners build lead, but fall after Brewers' rally

SEATTLE -- With rookie closer Edwin Diaz not available after a 34-pitch save in his last outing Friday, the Mariners saw relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Vidal Nuno surrender four runs on six hits in the ninth inning as the Brewers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-6 comeback win at Safeco Field on Sunday.

"This whole week we've been grinding out ABs, grinding out games, and it just hasn't really worked out for us," said Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton. "Today we kept battling with the same mindset. Just go in there and get a win and battle hard. And we came out with a 'W' there."

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners disappointed but not down after loss

Seattle falls to Brewers after entering ninth inning with 3-run lead

Mariners disappointed but not down after loss

SEATTLE -- Obviously manager Scott Servais would love to go to flame-throwing rookie closer Edwin Diaz in every save situation. But there are times when a skipper needs to save his rookie closer, and Sunday appeared to be one of those opportunities, with the Mariners taking a three-run lead into the ninth inning against the scuffling Brewers and veteran Tom Wilhelmsen waiting in the wings.

Though Diaz hadn't thrown Saturday, the 22-year-old needed 27 and 34 pitches in his last two wobbly saves, and Servais knows he needs to protect the youngster for the long haul. So in came Wilhelmsen and out went the win when Milwaukee rallied for four runs with a pair of long balls and a misplayed single -- off Vidal Nuno -- that drove in the go-ahead run in the Mariners' 7-6 loss.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Vogelbach on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Vogelbach on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

The Yankees have gotten both younger and better in the past month. They traded their best hitter (Carlos Beltran) and two best relievers (Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller), then installed three rookies in their lineup and two more in their rotation. After playing .500 ball through July, New York is in the midst of its best month (11-8) of the season and has climbed within four games of a Wild Card berth.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reinforcements in wings for Mariners' rotation

Paxton due to be recalled this week; Walker return also possible

Reinforcements in wings for Mariners' rotation

SEATTLE -- With just under a quarter of the season remaining and their team fighting for a playoff spot, reinforcements are on the way for the Mariners' rotation as James Paxton will rejoin the club this coming week, with Taijuan Walker as a possibility as well.

"It has been all over the place," manager Scott Servais said of the recent rotation run. "That's the goal here, to try to get it lined up and get some consistency. We've got Felix [Hernandez] going the right direction. Paxton was throwing great before he went down, [Wade] LeBlanc has given us a chance and [Ariel] Miranda has thrown the ball well since he's been here. We'd like eventually, hopefully, fingers crossed we can get Walker going in the right direction and get him back in there, too. We'll see."

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zunino contributing after starting year in Minors

Catcher's offensive game maturing after struggling through first 3 seasons

Zunino contributing after starting year in Minors

SEATTLE -- After struggling offensively in his first three seasons in the Majors, the Mariners had Mike Zunino start 2016 with Triple-A Tacoma in order to find his confidence and his hitting stroke. The move seems to have paid huge dividends, as the 2012 first-round Draft pick has been a difference maker in his first month back in the big leagues.

Entering Sunday's game vs. the Brewers, Zunino, 25, has put up a .282/.402/.690 line with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 25 games, a huge jump from the .193/.252/.353 production in 295 games over his first three years in the Majors.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle backs Felix's gem to gain in WC race

Seattle backs Felix's gem to gain in WC race

SEATTLE -- The Mariners got eight strong innings from Felix Hernandez and tallied six late runs to cruise past the Brewers, 8-2, on Saturday night for their eighth straight win at Safeco Field.

"Awesome, awesome outing," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We certainly needed it, our bullpen needed it. He's rounding into Felix form."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Aoki kickstarts offense as small-ball shines

Aoki kickstarts offense as small-ball shines

SEATTLE -- The Mariners, ranked third in baseball with 170 home runs, have relied on their power for much of the season. But on Saturday night, the speedy part of the order proved that Seattle can also score runs with good baserunning and simple contact.

"We're playing the small-ball game at that part of the lineup," manager Scott Servais said, "which is really important for those guys to contribute in that way."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Darth Vader serves up turkey leg in King's Court

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Darth Vader serves up turkey leg in King's Court

Whenever Felix Hernandez pitches at home, Section 150 at Safeco Field becomes the King's Court -- a sea of gold-shirt-wearing, K-sign-waving, foam-crown-sporting Mariners fans who come from all over to support their team's ace. Among the group's most storied traditions: At some point during the game, the Mariners select the King's Court member with the best costume, and bestow upon him or her their most sacred honor -- a turkey leg, presented by Safeco's executive chef. 

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Servais not sweating Diaz's recent struggles

Servais not sweating Diaz's recent struggles

SEATTLE -- After rookie closer Edwin Diaz walked the bases loaded and gave up two runs but held on to secure a 7-6 win Friday night, Mariners manager Scott Servais wanted the hard-throwing right-hander to take pride in finishing the job.

"We won the game," Servais said. "You have to put a smile on your face. You can't walk out of there like you let everybody down. You didn't. You got the final out."

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Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vogelbach, Blackburn among top prospect performers Saturday

Braves' No. 15 notches career-best 11 total bases; Astros' No. 8 shows off power, speed combo

Vogelbach, Blackburn among top prospect performers Saturday

As one of the younger everyday players at the Triple-A level, Rio Ruiz has been anything but overmatched this season.

The Braves' No. 15 prospect put together a big offensive performance on Saturday, when he hit multiple home runs for the first time in his five-year career and plated all four runs as Triple-A Gwinnett shut out Rochester, 4-0. Ruiz finished 3-for-3 at the plate, also tallying a triple in the contest en route to accruing a career-best 11 total bases.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.