By Lauren Smith | McClatchy News Service
SEATTLE — This was the start the Mariners were waiting to see from Justus Sheffield. Seattle has seen glimpses of how dominant the young left-hander can be in parts of two seasons since they acquired him in the James Paxton trade with the Yankees in 2018.
Sheffield compiled a 9.39 ERA in a combined 7 2/3 innings in his first two starts of the season. His outings were better than the final lines suggested, but he wasn’t getting the results he wanted.
Sunday afternoon, he finally did as Sheffield tossed six scoreless innings in a 5-3 Mariners win.
Seattle (6-11) avoided a sweep with the win in the final game of this 10-game homestand and ended a three-game skid behind undoubtedly one of the best outings Sheffield’s had since joining the organization.
He worked cleanly and efficiently through the six shutout frames and allowed just four hits. He struck out a season-high seven batters, and for the second time in 10 career starts — and first this season — did not issue a walk in collecting his first win of the season. It was also his first career win.
Dylan Moore’s third homer of the season gave Sheffield a quick lead to work with in the first. After shortstop J.P. Crawford singled to lead off the game, Moore pushed a fastball from Rockies starter German Marquez just clear of the fence in right to give the Mariners a 2-0 advantage.
Seattle tacked on three insurance runs in the seventh to pull away. Kyle Lewis outlegged an infield grounder for a hit to open the inning, and Chris Owings bobbled a sure double play ball on a grounder from Kyle Seager, and threw it wildly past first base.
That set the Mariners up with runners at second and third with no outs, and after a weak infield groundout from Daniel Vogelbach, Evan White sent a long fly ball to the warning track in center to scratch Lewis across. Seager then scored on a Tim Lopes single to right. Lopes promptly stole second and scampered around the bases when Dee Gordon dropped another base hit into right to make it 5-0.