Steven Kwan racked up five RBIs and the Cleveland bullpen flexed their muscle as the Guardians notched their first victory of the season with a 9-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
The Guardians fell behind 1-0 on a Kolten Wong RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, but the tide turned the very next frame after a bases-loaded pop-out to shallow right field courtesy of Myles Straw. Oscar Gonzalez tagged up from third base on the play and right fielder Teoscar Hernandez’s throw home caught Mike Zunino in the back at first base, sending it wide of the plate. Robbie Ray was able to retrieve the ball but his errant throw to catcher Cal Raleigh allowed Andres Gimenez to score the go-ahead run, with Zunino advancing to third.
Lol, some of you are gonna hate this, but that's okay.#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/zknQwNsTf7— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) April 1, 2023
Zunino scored on a Kwan sac fly to make it 3-1 in favor of Cleveland.
From there, the Mariners staged a rally of their own, tying the game with a two-run double by Raleigh in the third inning. Hunter Gaddis’s night ended shortly thereafter, having surrendered five hits, one walk, and four earned runs while striking out four over 3.2 innings. It was an unspectacular outing for the right-hander, making his third big league start.
Kwan helped the Guardians regain the lead in the fourth inning, dropping a two-run double into shallow left field near the third base line to score Gimenez and Straw. The Mariners opted to pull the plug on Ray after that. Cleveland had a surprising amount of success against the Seattle southpaw, taking a disciplined approach at the plate that earned them five walks.
Julio Rodriguez was able to cut the deficit to one run in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double that went in and out of Kwan’s glove near the warning track in left field. But the Guardians’ left fielder didn’t take long to redeem himself, delivering a two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to extend their lead to 7-4. RBI singles courtesy of Amed Rosario and Josh Naylor tacked on the final two runs of the game for Cleveland.
The Guardians bullpen pitched 5.1 shutout innings, recording nine strikeouts over that stretch. Emmanuel Clase made his season debut, striking out a pair and inducing a pop-out for the final out of the game. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Eli Morgan struck out three in an inning of work, including an inning-ending punch-out of Rodriguez with runners on first and second.