Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis wants to keep his approach ‘simple’ during September call-up
Seattle Mariners rookie outfielder Kyle Lewis broke up a no-hitter. And then he broke up another.
Hours after he was promoted Tuesday from Double-A Arkansas, Lewis crushed a solo homer deep to left center to end Trevor Bauer’s no-no bid in the fifth inning. Wednesday night at T-Mobile Park, he did the same to Sonny Gray, sending a three-run, go-ahead shot to right center in the seventh.
In his first two days, Lewis had two homers, and the Mariners had two wins over the Cincinnati Reds.
Need a reason to keep watching Mariners baseball in a lost September? Lewis, the No. 10 prospect who is projected to one day roam Seattle’s outfield full time, and the rest of the crew of rookies who are playing this last month with the big-league club, are it.
“I’m so happy for him to come up here and have an impact like that,” Mariners ace Marco Gonzales said after Wednesday night’s 5-3 win. “To break up a no-hitter two days in a row — you don’t see that. From a first-year guy you definitely don’t see it. I’m really proud of him.”
Apart from some early walks and a pair of hit batters, Gray had pitched brilliantly through six-plus frames, striking out nine Mariners batters. But, in his third plate appearance of the night, Lewis ambushed Gray’s first offering — a fastball left over the middle — and mailed it over the fence.
“With runners on, I was trying to go early,” Lewis said. “He had been snapping the curveball off pretty good, so I was just trying to get a fastball, and thought he might go fastball early, and I wanted to be ready to swing.
“We had been scuffling all night trying to get a hit off him. He was dialed in pretty good. I was just trying to get a fastball and go early, and not miss my opportunity.”
He certainly didn’t. Austin Nola, who was hit by a pitch, and Kyle Seager, who walked, each scored in front of Lewis, and waited as he jaunted around the bases — at a much more leisurely pace than a night earlier, when he scurried home following his first major league knock.
“I thought it had a chance, but wasn’t sure,” Lewis said. “I was running pretty decent out of the box just in case. That’s kind of a deep part of the park, too, so you never know.”
But, once the 383-foot shot cleared, he made a conscious effort to ease up. He said his first two games in the majors have been “unreal.”
“I tried to make a point to slow down a little bit, jog and try to feel it out and feel the energy,” Lewis said. “That was really cool.”
“Quite a start to his major league career,” Servais said. “We’re kind of putting him up against it. We don’t get a hit until he comes up for like the ... third time in the ballgame, but huge hit tonight. You see the ability that this guy has. The way the ball jumps off the bat. You’ve seen a few guys with that kind of power here. This ball was in the air forever and had great carry on it. Huge hit in the ballgame.
“He’s really talented young guy, and it’s going to be fun to see how it plays out over the next years here at T-Mobile Park.”
Tuesday night, Lewis turned on a high fastball to break up Bauer’s bid for a no-hitter. The homer tied the game at 1-1, and ended up a string of 12 consecutive batters retired by Bauer, who had allowed only a first-inning walk to that point. Behind Lewis’ spark, the Mariners went on to win that game, 4-3.
“That is big stuff,” Servais said of Lewis’ first two games. “He’s enjoying the moment. He’s in the moment. I don’t think he’s trying to get too big or do too much. Sometimes guys get up and they see the story or the script written before it actually happens. He’s just in the moment. He stays in the moment. He’s going to get a good pitch to hit and trust his ability and put a good swing on it.
“It’s fun to watch. I think that we have a lot of that coming our way. And certainly it will be interesting how it plays out here over time. Really off to a good start, and really happy for him.”