What comes next for the Mariners in four games against Colorado and beyond will put Sunday’s 5-0 victory over Boston in perspective.
Yes, the Mariners avoided a three-game weekend sweep at Fenway Park. And, yes, they finally got some production from their struggling attack with 16 hits and home runs from Guillermo Heredia and Robinson Cano.
Much of the damage came against Rick Porcello, who is the American League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner.
Right-hander Christian Bergman’s roller-coaster ride in the rotation this time produced a big plus: seven shutout innings in which he permitted just four hits.
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So there were lots of pluses Sunday for the Mariners after suffering shutout losses in their first two games at Fenway and getting outscored 52-9 while losing seven of their previous eight games.
"Hopefully, this is the game that wakes us up," Cano said, "and we can win some games. We need that so bad."
But the Mariners thought they hit the reset button last Thursday at Washington when they avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-2 victory. Then came two shutout losses in Boston.
"It’s been a struggle," manager Scott Servais admitted. "I think (Saturday) we hit rock bottom (in a 6-0 loss). The only way to get out of the bottom is to start crawling up."
Maybe this was the first step. Maybe.
Three takeaways from Sunday’s victory:
***Bergman bounces back: It’s a wild ride for Bergman over the last two weeks. He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings May 17 in a 4-0 victory over Oakland but gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over just four innings on May 23 at Washington.
"I couldn’t wait to get back out there after last time," he said. "Sometimes the best way is just to get back out there. Just simplify everything and get back to making pitches."
Oh, he made pitches. Bergman threw just 83 pitches in his seven innings — less than 12 per inning. He got 11 outs on ground balls, including four double plays, and two more on pop-ups.
"He knows what he's doing," Cano said. "He moves his ball around, and when he moves it really good — when he doesn’t leave pitches over the plate — he can get a lot of guys out."
***Hits from everyone: The Mariners’ struggling attack flashed its potential. Every starter had at least one hit, and six players had two or more.
They should have scored more than five runs, although they were 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position after going 3-for-29 in their previous eight games.
***Diaz buckles down: Cano’s two-run homer in the ninth inning meant it wasn’t a save situation for reinstated closer Edwin Diaz, but he had been heated up when it was just 3-0 and hadn’t pitched since Thursday’s victory in Washington.
So Diaz got the call for the final three outs.
The Mariners then created some unneeded urgency when third baseman Kyle Seager booted a leadoff grounder for an error, and shortstop Jean Segura let a potential game-ending double play grounder go through him for an error.
Diaz shook it off and retired Andrew Benintendi on a pop-up before ending the game by striking out Hanley Ramirez. That makes four straight scoreless outings for Diaz.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners