Chris Flexen returned to the big leagues with a win after a year in South Korea, Mitch Haniger and Ty France each hit a homer and the Seattle Mariners beat the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on Saturday night.
Flexen (1-0) struck out six and allowed four hits in five scoreless innings to help the Mariners take the first series of the year. The 26-year-old righthander looked sharp after spending 2020 with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization.
“He hasn’t pitched in this league for a while,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s great to have him back. He’s really excited. He reinvented himself so to speak when he went to Korea. We like how it all turned out. It’s going to be a fun year for him.”
France hit the Mariners’ first home run of the season for a 1-0 lead in the third inning. The Mariners then hit three straight doubles off Giants starter Logan Webb (0-1) to start the fourth, building a 3-0 lead on run-scoring hits from Dylan Moore and rookie center fielder Taylor Trammell. It was Trammell's first big-league hit.
Haniger led off the eighth inning with a solo shot to left field. He also led off the game with a double.
Flexen threw 94 pitches in the start, walking just two. It had been 588 days since he appeared in the majors. He was 8-4 for the Bears last year after going 3-11 in 27 appearances for the New York Mets from 2017-19.
“To be honest I can’t even tell you about my last big-league win,” Flexen said. “I don’t even remember it.”
Right-hander Kendall Graveman, who moved to the bullpen last season due to a spine tumor, struck out five in two scoreless innings of relief, including the side in the sixth. Rafael Montero picked up a four-out save, his first of the season.
Mariners pitchers struck out 12 after giving up six home runs to the Giants in the series' first two games. That second figure gives Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski some positive vibes going into Monday's series opening game against the San Diego Padres.
“I think it was a better weekend than what the results show,” Yastrzemski said. “ ... Looking at it other than a win-loss perspective, I think we had a pretty good weekend as a whole.”
Gonzaga alum Marco Gonzales led the cheers as the more than 8,600 Mariners fans celebrated the No. 1 Bulldogs’ 93-90 win over UCLA in the Final Four on Saturday night. Gonzales, a former pitcher and first baseman for the Spokane, Washington, school, pumped his fists and beat on the dugout fence after Jalen Suggs’ buzzer-beating 3 dropped on the stadium video board.
Giants: RHP Silvino Bracho (left oblique strain) has begun playing catch after pulling an abdominal muscle late in spring training last month. Manager Gabe Kapler said the free-agent acquisition could begin mound work in seven to 10 days.
Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said he’s watching Haniger’s mileage early in the season after he missed much of 2019 and all of 2020 with multiple injuries. Servais moved the right fielder to designated hitter Saturday to give him a blow after an active two days that included 3,300 feet of running while chasing flyballs in Thursday’s season opener. “He was all over the place,” Servais said.
Giants: RHP Anthony DeSclafani makes his first start for San Francisco when the Giants travel to San Diego for the start of NL West play on Monday. He was 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA in nine appearances for the Cincinnati Reds last season.
Mariners: LHP Justus Sheffield will take the mound Monday when Seattle hosts the Chicago White Sox. Sheffield was 4-3 with a 3.58 ERA in 2020, his rookie season.