ATLANTA — Rookie Lucas Sims pitched three-hit ball over six innings and the Atlanta Braves scored on a crazy play that took three rundowns in a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Sims (2-3) won his second straight start after starting his big league career with three losses in a row. Seattle only got two runners as far as second base against the 23-year-old right-hander, a native of suburban Atlanta who won for the first time in front of the home folks.
Nick Markakis put the Braves ahead in the fourth, leading off with his eighth homer of the season against Marco Gonzalez (0-1), yet another replacement starter in Seattle’s injury-plagued rotation. Markakis added a run-scoring single in the fifth.
After committing four errors in the series opener, the Mariners botched two more plays defensively.
Third baseman Kyle Seager dropped a throw during a rundown in the fifth, allowing Ozzie Albies to race home. Seattle made five throws on the play, ending when first baseman Yonder Alonso cut across the diamond with the ball chasing one runner, then tossing to catcher Mike Zunino for a tag between second and third.
Another unearned run scored after center fielder Mitch Haniger fumbled away a routine flyball.
In his fourth start since being acquired from St. Louis, Gonzalez surrendered six hits in 4 2-3 innings, walked three and struck out five.
The left-hander retired the first two hitters in the fifth but couldn’t get through the inning. After Freddie Freeman walked and Matt Kemp singled, the Mariners called in James Pazos from the bullpen. Markakis foiled that strategy, singling to left-center to bring home Freeman.
Four Atlanta pitchers combined on the four-hit shutout. Jose Ramirez pitched the seventh, Sam Freeman worked 1 1-3 innings and Arodys Vizcaino got the final two outs.
Seattle began the night one game out of an AL wild-card spot.
Mariners RHP Tony Zych (right flexor strain) was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right flexor strain. Zych, who last pitched Saturday at Tampa Bay, is 6-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 45 appearances. “It’s probably the best thing to give him 10 days and let it calm down,” manager Scott Servais said. RHP Dan Altavilia was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to fill Zych’s spot on the roster. He made 29 appearances for the Mariners earlier this season, going 1-1 with a 5.46 ERA. … Seattle RHP David Phelps (right elbow) felt good after throwing a simulated game Monday in Atlanta and “could be activated here really soon,” according to Servais.
Mariners: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (5-4) makes his fifth start since being acquired from Tampa Bay in a July 28 trade. He is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA for Seattle.
Braves: R.A. Dickey (8-8) makes his first appearance against the Mariners since Sept. 23, 2014, when he pitched for Toronto. The 42-year-old knuckleballer is 5-5 with a 4.99 in 15 career games vs. Seattle.
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