Score one for the Mariners’ frenetic offseason activity.
Signing right-hander Christian Bergman in December to a minor-league deal was precisely the sort of under-the-radar move that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has made the cornerstone of his organizational depth-replenishment plan.
On the surface, there wasn’t much to recommend Bergman, who spent the previous three years bouncing between Colorado and the minors while compiling a 5.79 ERA in 55 career big-league games.
The Mariners saw Bergman as a low-risk signing. He had major-league experience, could be stashed at Triple-A Tacoma and, in a pinch, might be able to help the big-league club.
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Fast forward to Wednesday.
Bergman pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over Oakland at Safeco Field that simultaneously shored up an injury-depleted rotation and provided a respite for an overtaxed and increasingly leaky bullpen.
Three takeaways from Wednesday’s victory:
***Bergman dazzles: It might be that Bergman’s dominant performance was a fortuitous alignment of the planets. That will be determined over his next few starts as the Mariners continue to patch together a rotation missing four of five starters.
But if you want to dream a little, what Bergman did Wednesday to the Athletics closely mirrors what he did through April in going 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA at Tacoma.
Right fielder Ben Gamel played behind Bergman in some of those Tacoma victories and said the guy who suffocated the Athletics was the same guy who overmatched Pacific Coast League hitters.
So who knows?
***A rested Pazos: Lefty reliever James Pazos replaced Bergman after a one-out walk in the eighth inning and closed out the victory by retiring five straight batters, including three by strikeout.
Manager Scott Servais said it was no coincidence that Pazos was so effective because he has two days of rest. Pazos admitted he was fresh.
This is the corollary to the club’s ravaged rotation. The Mariners have dipped too often and too early into their bullpen in recent weeks. Fatigue is a growing concern.
Servais talked of the need to avoid burning out the club’s back-end relievers. That’s an obvious goal, but it depends on the Mariners ability to get their starters through six innings on a regular basis. That could be a challenge.
***Birthday presents: Gamel turned 25 on Wednesday and said he couldn’t remember getting a hit on his birthday in any of his six previous pro seasons. He not only went 2-for-4 in the victory. He also benefited from some Oakland gifts.
Athletics right fielder Matt Joyce played Gamel’s first inning single into a triple, which turned into a run when Nelson Cruz hit a sacrifice fly.
Then in the fifth, center fielder Mark Canha dropped Gamel’s fly for a two-base error. That, too, led to a run.
By the way…Gamel’s memory is mostly correct. He’s played on his birthday in four previous pro seasons and had o-fors in three of them. But in 2014, while playing for Double-A Trenton, he went 3-for-5 with two doubles at Portland.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners