SEATTLE — Dustin Ackley drifted back to find the wall, jumped and wondered.
Only when the Seattle Mariners’ left fielder tumbled to the ground did Ackley know he’d robbed Travis d’Arnaud of a home run.
“I knew I felt something. I didn’t know if I felt it hit off my glove or go in the web, but when I came down is when I knew I had it,” Ackley said. “I was like, ‘Well something is in there.’”
Ackley had three hits to go along with his outstanding catch, Kyle Seager drove in two runs and Mike Zunino homered into the second deck in the Mariners’ 5-2 win over the New York Mets on the night of July 21.
After losing two of three to the Angels after the All-Star break, Seattle got a solid start from Roenis Elias and improved to 8-2 all-time against the Mets.
Elias (8-8) threw 5 1-3 innings before leaving with cramping in his left forearm. Seattle’s bullpen was stellar the rest of the way, helped by Ackley’s grab to steal a home run from d’Arnaud in the sixth.
“How about that catch?” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I think it really goes back to the work he put in in spring training … and he really, really worked hard to improve his outfield play, and he continues to work hard.”
Seager had RBI singles in his first two at-bats and Zunino hit his 14th homer of the season, an estimated 415-foot shot off starter Jonathon Niese (5-5) into the second deck in left field.
Ackley added an RBI double in the eighth. “I’ve felt pretty good and the results are there, too,” Ackley said. “That helps build the confidence.”
Elias took advantage of a long break between starts — he hadn’t pitched since July 9. He looked rested and his improved command led to eight strikeouts and two walks.
Elias had retired five of six batters when he looked down at his hand after throwing a pitch to Lucas Duda leading off the sixth. Elias was immediately visited by trainers and McClendon. The left-hander threw a couple of warmup pitches and stayed in, striking out Duda on a 2-2 pitch.
That was enough for McClendon, who immediately signaled to the bullpen. Elias walked off to a nice ovation, but with a trainer at his side and continuing to try to stretch his hand.
Seattle announced Elias left with cramping in his left forearm and McClendon said there was no worry as of now about it being a lingering problem. “I didn’t want to take a chance,” McClendon said. “He was outstanding.”
Dominic Leone took over and was immediately greeted by a deep drive from d’Arnaud. Ackley found the left-field fence, got just enough elevation to get his glove over the wall and made the catch in the webbing of his glove.
Jonathon Niese came off the disabled list before the game. He hadn’t pitched since leaving in the first inning July 4 against Texas when he was struck in the back by Alex Rios’ line drive. The left-hander was placed on the DL two days later with a left shoulder strain.
Niese’s streak of 21 straight starts giving up three earned runs or less was snapped when Willie Bloomquist collected his third hit, an RBI double in the fourth inning for a 4-1 Seattle lead.
David Wright had an RBI single on the 10th anniversary of his debut in the majors, but the Mets’ only other run came on second baseman Robinson Cano’s error in the ninth that allowed Juan Lagares to score.
New York lost its third straight after winning eight of nine.
“You look at every game since the All-Star break and we’ve been outhomered,” Manager Terry Collins said. “That was what was getting us going, and you’re not going to ask guys to start swinging for the fences, but it helps out when we hit the ball out of the ballpark.”
(TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer)