Gonzales had been chased after just 2 1/3 innings of what became a 10-0 loss on April 9, but Friday’s start was much different. Gonzalez, who’d never taken a game into the eighth inning until going 7 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay earlier this month, didn’t need more than 13 pitches to finish any inning against the Royals.
He has a lot of confidence right now because everything that’s happened to him this year, he’s earned, Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Whit Merrifield singled to lead off the game and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rosell Herrera. Gonzales picked Merrifield off second base to erase the baserunner and would retire nine straight batters before running into a spot of trouble in the fourth.
Kennedy left after five innings due to tightness in his left side that surfaced on the last pitch to Zunino.
I felt it grab, Kennedy said. And then the rest of the inning it stayed tight. The last couple pitches I was compensating for it, so I knew … the right thing to do is to say something.
Segura added a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning off Brandon Maurer to give Seattle a 4-0 advantage.
Houston also re-signed Green to a one-year, minimum contract, which is important to managing the team’s tax bill. Given how well Green played in Mike D’Antoni’s system, and that he’s a local product, getting him back at that price is a huge win.
Nonetheless, the big story of the night for the Rockets is starting small forward Trevor Ariza jumping ship for a one-year, $15 million deal with the Suns — a huge hit to Houston’s chances of competing with the Warriors. Ariza’s departure is stunning given his close relationship with Houston stars Paul and James Harden and his vital role in the Rockets’ starting lineup.
Nearly as much as PJ Tucker’s ability to defend centers, it was Ariza sliding down to power forward that made Houston’s small lineups feasible. And Ariza was the Rockets’ first option against top wing scorers, including Durant in the Western Conference finals.