While the Seattle Mariners were celebrating Ichiro’s return to Safeco Field, breaking up no-hitters and doing their best to hang with a stacked American League West, starter James Paxton was somehow quietly silencing every offense he faced.
Through his first three starts, Paxton had given up just eight hits and four walks on 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Most important, he hadn’t given up a run.
At least not until Thursday night against the Oakland A’s.
Paxton’s incredible scoreless streak ended after 23 innings when Adam Rosales hit a line drive to right field with two in the third inning to bring Jaff Decker home. Two runs ended up scoring on the play thanks to a wacky bounce on a throw to second by Mitch Haniger.
The right fielder’s toss bounced off the bag and flew back into the outfield, allowing Rajai Davis to score and Decker to advance to second.
Haniger was credited with an error. Paxton gave up a double to Ryon Healy two batters later, which allowed Rosales to score. Somehow we think Paxton’s ERA will survive.
Regardless of how it ended, 23 straight scoreless innings is a pretty wild achievement at a time when balls are flying out of the park at an absurd rate.
That becomes even more impressive when you realize he shut down the Houston Astros offense twice — allowing just six hits total — and two-hit the Texas Rangers.
The 28-year-old lefty started 20 games last year to finish with an ERA of 3.79 while striking out 117 in 121 innings. It’s seems he’s not done developing which is a scary sign for the AL West.
With Felix Hernandez still reigning in Seattle, the Mariners will have more than enough opportunities to make opponents miserable on offense.
Paxton’s streak might have just ended. His dominance on the mound, however, continues.
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