Emerson Hancock earns first career victory as Seattle Mariners beat Guardians 5-4

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 01: Emerson Hancock #62 of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch during the second inning against the Cleveland Guardians at T-Mobile Park on April 01, 2024 in Seattle, Washington.  (Alika Jenner / Getty Images)

Emerson Hancock earned his first career victory for the Seattle Mariners with Dominic Canzone's three-run home run providing support in a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Monday night.

Canzone homered off Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie in the second inning, and Luis Urías provided a key bases loaded walk in the fourth inning as Hancock pitched into the sixth inning to notch his first win in his fourth career start.

Ryne Stanek earned his first save with Seattle behind a scoreless ninth.

"It starts with pitching with us and I'm really excited for Emerson Hancock," manager Scott Servais said. "That's his first major league win tonight and he earned it against a team that's been swinging the bat really well."

Hancock allowed three runs on four hits with a walk, a strikeouts and two hit batters over 5 ⅓ innings in picking up his first victory.

"I mean, it kind of felt like a debut all over again. Just the pregame, just to hype, how excited I was to get back out there," Hancock said. 

"It's fun, man. Being here, playing in front of those fans, just electricity, the energy that they bring. Just kind of how everything that happened this offseason, getting the opportunity to be back and doing it and just go out there and to help us win."

"We wanted to attack. We wanted to just kind of stay aggressive. And, I mean, the defense played outstanding tonight. They really did. Offense came through and then the bullpen came in and shut it down. So it was a good win."

The Mariners managed to pounce on an erratic McKenzie in the second inning. Mitch Garver and Cal Raleigh worked consecutive walks as multiple offerings from McKenzie missed high of the strike zone. Ty France delivered a one-out single to center that scored Garver to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

Canzone followed up the France single with a three-run blast into The ‘Pen in center field as the Mariners quickly had the Guardians reeling with a 4-0 advantage. It was an opposite field shot for left-handed Canzone that mirrored the homer of Rafael Devers for Boston in Thursday’s season opener.

"Dom has got all kinds of power," Servais said. "We've seen that. We saw it last year. We saw in spring training. We saw it again that night. I think being a better hitter and letting the power play out is what he's shooting for. He got a mistake up tonight and you can see what he does with it, it's big-time power. But being more consistent is what he's shooting for cause I think he can have a big season for us."

Then things got a little bit weird.

Ramón Laureano was initially called out on a ground ball that hit Laureano. The play was challenged and determined to be a hit-by-pitch despite Laureano making a swing at the pitch.

First base Adam Hamari then ejected Dylan Moore from the Mariners' dugout as Moore was seemingly arguing the reversal of the call. Moore leaped over the dugout railing to argue with Hamari as manager Scott Servais came out to get in between the two. The ejection left Seattle down a bench option for the rest of the night.

"I don't know how you hit a ball back to the pitcher without swinging, but that's what he said. He didn't swing," Servais said of the conversations with the upires. "So then it goes to review on whether it was a hit by pitch or not. So, weird play."

Bo Naylor and Brayan Recchio followed with singles to load the bases, and a Steven Kwan fielder's choice groundout to second base allowed Laureano to score to get the Guardians on the board. Andrés Giménez delivered a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Naylor to trim Seattle's lead to 4-2.

Hancock avoided further damage and pitched into the sixth inning for Seattle.

"We wanted to attack," Hancock said. "We wanted to just kind of stay aggressive. And, I mean, the defense played outstanding tonight. They really did. Offense came through and then the bullpen came in and shut it down. So it was a good win."

Raleigh and France each singled, and Canzone reached on an error by Josh Naylor in the fourth inning as the Mariners loaded the bases with one out. Luis Urías worked an eight-pitch walk that scored Raleigh to extend the lead to 5-2. However, France was thrown out at home plate as J.P. Crawford flew out to center field as Seattle wasted an opportunity to add on any further.

After making two spectacular defensive plays to rob Will Brennan of hits earlier in the game, Julio Rodríguez nearly came up with another thievery on Tyler Freeman. Rodríguez just slightly mistimed his leap at the center field wall and was slightly turned around as the ball went off the webbing of his glove and out the wall for a solo home run.

Rodríguez had made a leaping catch to rob Brennan at the wall in left-center field in the second inning, and a sliding grab to take another hit from Brennan in the fourth. The Freeman shot would have been the exclamation point on an incredible defensive night.

"You just can't do anything but just smile when you see it because it's just awesome to be able to go out there every single day with him and see what he's able to do up close and personal. It's just a privilege, really," Canzone said of Rodríguez.

Rodríguez also got a bit too aggressive on the bases in the seventh inning as Seattle squandered another chance to extend their lead. Rodríguez and Jorge Polanco each singled to put a pair of runners on with no out. But when Mitch Haniger singled to left field, Rodríguez tried to score only to be thrown out on the plate. Instead of bases loaded and no outs, the inning fizzled as Garver and Raleigh failed to reach base.

"On the bases, a little adventure tonight," Servais said of Rodríguez. "You know, kind of running through the stop sign late. But Julio does one thing, he makes it exciting, and he always plays hard. So we can make adjustments on that."

Josh Naylor then crushed a solo homer off Andrés Muñoz in the eighth inning to cut the Seattle lead to just one, 5-4.


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