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Bryce Miller twirls another gem, leads Mariners past Cubs 4-2

By TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer
Published: April 12, 2024, 9:42pm
3 Photos
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Bryce Miller stands in the dugout after being relieved during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Seattle.
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Bryce Miller stands in the dugout after being relieved during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE — Bryce Miller allowed one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings, Julio Rodríguez had a key two-out, two-run single and the Seattle Mariners beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Friday night.

Miller gave up just three hits and quieted Chicago’s bats that entered averaging more than six runs per game, second-best in baseball.

Miller had another solid performance following up on his last outing against Milwaukee when he threw seven shutout innings. He has not allowed an earned run since the fourth inning of his first start on March 31 against Boston. Miller struck out four and left after issuing a four-pitch walk to Nico Hoerner on his 100th pitch.

Miller also continued to show an expanded mix of pitches. Last year, it was mostly just a rising fastball that led to his success as a rookie. Now, there’s a sinker, sweeper and splitter in his mix to keep batters guessing.

“Last year, if I went short or I went long, it was like you were were going to get a lot of heaters,” Miller said. “Even the third time through they knew what they were getting. … That’s one thing I wanted to work on was being able to keep hitters on their toes every at-bat where they can’t just sit on a pitch and know it’s coming.”

While Miller was pleased with his mix, Cubs manager Craig Counsell said it was the fastball that stood out.

“The fastball was really good, and we know he has a good fastball, but he put it in good spots tonight and didn’t let us get off very many good swings with it,” Counsell said.

Miller (2-1) should have finished the night without any runs allowed, but a pair of Seattle errors in the seventh inning after he left led to Hoerner scoring with two outs. Yan Gomes appeared to ground out to third to end the inning, but Luis Urías’ throw to first base was slightly into the runner and Ty France couldn’t make a clean catch.

Michael Busch hit a one-out solo homer off Ryne Stanek in the ninth, but Stanek recorded the final two outs for his second save.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead when Urías was hit by a 1-2 pitch from Chicago starter Jordan Wicks (0-2) with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning.

It was Rodríguez’s turn with the bases loaded in the fourth.

Rodríguez struck out on a diet of changeups from Wicks in his previous at-bat and swung through another changeup on the first pitch of the fourth. But Wicks tried to sneak a fastball past and Rodríguez was on time, lining the pitch into center field to score a pair. France followed with an RBI single on the next pitch to cap the three-run inning.

“I was only (thinking) fastball. I was not surprised that he threw it,” Rodríguez said. “He had a really good fastball and he had been playing it off really well. I was not really surprised that he threw it.”

Wicks went just four innings and allowed four runs, walked four and struck out six.

FARM REPORT

Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young winner, threw five innings and allowed one run and two hits in his second start for Triple-A Tacoma.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP José Cuas was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after giving up five earned runs in two relief appearances against San Diego. RHP Keegan Thompson was recalled to take his place.

Mariners: RHPs Bryan Woo and Matt Brash (both elbow inflammation) could head out on rehab assignments next week when Seattle goes back on the road. Both are expected to throw live batting practice in the next few days.

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Cubs: LHP Shota Imanaga (1-0, 0.00) has yet to allow a run in 10 innings over two starts to begin the season.

Mariners: RHP Emerson Hancock (1-1, 11.42) will try to rebound after giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in his last start.

————

MARINERS 4, CUBS 2

Chicago AB R H BI BB SO Avg.
Happ lf 3 0 0 0 1 1 .280
Suzuki rf 4 0 1 0 0 1 .294
Bellinger cf 3 0 0 0 1 0 .180
Morel 3b 4 0 0 0 0 2 .275
Swanson ss 4 0 0 0 0 0 .244
Busch 1b 4 1 2 1 0 1 .293
Hoerner 2b 3 1 1 0 1 0 .179
Tauchman dh 4 0 0 0 0 0 .200
Gomes c 3 0 0 0 0 2 .174
Totals 32 2 4 1 3 7
Seattle AB R H BI BB SO Avg.
Crawford ss 3 1 1 0 1 0 .151
Rodríguez cf 4 0 1 2 0 2 .200
France 1b 4 0 2 1 0 1 .333
Haniger rf 4 1 1 0 0 1 .261
Polanco 2b 3 0 1 0 1 1 .176
Garver dh 2 1 0 0 2 1 .158
Raleigh c 4 0 0 0 0 4 .175
Moore lf 3 1 0 0 1 0 .182
Urías 3b 2 0 0 1 0 1 .143
Totals 29 4 6 4 5 11
Chicago 000 000 101—2 4 0
Seattle 010 300 00x—4 6 2

E—Thornton (1), Urías (1). LOB—Chicago 6, Seattle 7. 2B—Busch (3). HR—Busch (3), off Stanek. RBIs—Busch (8), Urías (4), Rodríguez 2 (5), France (3). CS—Polanco (1).

Runners left in scoring position—Chicago 1 (Hoerner); Seattle 3 (Crawford 2, Haniger). RISP—Chicago 0 for 3; Seattle 2 for 8.

Chicago IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA
Wicks, L, 0-2 4 5 4 4 4 6 94 5.68
Smyly 2 1 0 0 1 2 26 3.12
Thompson 2 0 0 0 0 3 23 0.00
Seattle IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA
B.Miller, W, 2-1 6 1-3 3 1 0 3 4 100 1.96
Thornton 2-3 0 0 0 0 1 20 1.35
Muñoz, H, 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 10 3.00
Stanek, S, 2-2 1 1 1 1 0 0 21 3.38

Inherited runners-scored—Thornton 1-1. HBP—Wicks (Urías). WP—Wicks.

Umpires—Home, Chad Whitson; First, Malachi Moore; Second, Bill Miller; Third, Doug Eddings.

T—2:35. A—33,500 (47,929).

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