French allows 1 hit in 7 innings in Mariners’ 1-0
That much he accomplished, along with a bonus. He kept the Indians hitless through 6 1-3 innings in helping the Seattle Mariners hang on to an eventual three-hit 1-0 victory Friday night.
“I’m aware of the game but I’m not trying to get a no-hitter by any means,” said French, making just his 20th big league start, eighth with the Mariners. “No-hit stuff was not really what I’m going for. I’m going for keeping the team in the game, make my pitches and get better every time out there.”
He threw 99 pitches in seven innings, walking three and striking out four.
Aardsma allowed a one-out single to Michael Brantley(notes) then Asdrubel Cabrera followed with a single. Left fielder Michael Saunders(notes) made a sliding catch on a fly ball by Shin-Soo Choo(notes), with the runners holding.
“I knew I had a shot at it but I also knew it was tailing away, being a lefty,” Saunders said. “As I was closing in on it, it was coming close to the fence there. I made a last-ditch effort to slide. It’s repetition and becomes more of a reaction than a decision (to slide).”
The runners moved up on a wild pitch. Then Duncan, in a nine-pitch at-bat, struck out on a high 95-mph fastball.
French, acquired in a deadline trade with Detroit last July, faced just one batter over the minimum through the first six innings.
He issued another two-out walk to Choo in the fourth and Duncan then flied out to left.
Of his first 18 outs, 12 came on fly balls and only one on the ground.
“He had our guys off balance pretty much all night,” Indians manager Manny Acta said, “and when they were looking for his changeup, that fastball looked a lot harder than what it was. A very good job of pitching.”
French said he threw between 25 to 30 changeups, producing many of the popups.
“It works in this ballpark,” Mariners manager Daren Brown said. “Even with fly balls, a lot were popped up, not anything squared up or hit very well. He was solid.”
“It was a matter of pride to win the game,” Duncan said. “He walked two batters on four pitches. It was like they weren’t even close. I was kind of a little insulted so I kind of took that anger up to the plate.”
After Duncan’s hit, Brown took the opportunity to send pitching coach Carl Willis to the mound to make sure French’s focus wasn’t damaged by the failed no-hit bid.
“That was a key visit right there,” catcher Adam Moore(notes) said. “He just told him to continue, he was doing fine. He just let one ball get up all night. He continued with his good tempo. That was the best tempo I’ve seen him have.”
The Mariners had a promise of a big rally in the first inning but scored just the one run and it turned out to be the only run necessary.
The Mariners made that run hold up for eight more innings.
“Lately, we’ve been fighting pretty hard in that eighth and ninth inning,” Duncan said. “… Fausto gave us a chance to get back in it.”
Notes: LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes) rejoined the Mariners after a rehab assignment in the minors. He had been on the DL since July 28 with lower back strain. In 22 games, 19 starts, Rowland-Smith was 1-10 with a 6.96 ERA. He will work out of the bullpen and may have a spot start. … Indians RHP Justin Masterson(notes) will miss his start Sunday to deal with a family matter. RHP Jeanmar Gomez(notes) will take his spot.