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Apr 27, 2024 9:36 am

D-backs’ Eugenio Suarez looks to get the better of Mariners in rematch

Eugenio Suarez

Third baseman Eugenio Suarez was beloved in his two seasons in Seattle.

But with the Mariners looking to shed payroll and cut down on strikeouts, Suarez was shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason for backup catcher Seby Zavala and a minor-league pitcher.

Suarez made his return to Seattle on Friday night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and grounding out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to end the Diamondbacks’ 6-1 setback to the Mariners.

The host Mariners will vie for their ninth win in 11 outings on Saturday night when the three-game interleague series continues.

Suarez’s “Good Vibes Only” mantra transfixed the entire team as the Mariners ended a 21-year postseason drought in 2022.

“I’m leaving all that here in Seattle,” Suarez said in the visitors’ dugout Friday afternoon. “I still love the boys, I still miss them, but I leave that here.”

Suarez exchanged a hug with Mariners first baseman Ty France and a high-five with center fielder Julio Rodriguez during batting practice. Suarez received a video tribute and a standing ovation while in the on-deck circle before the second inning. Just before he stepped into the batter’s box for the first time, Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh leaned over to put an arm around Suarez’s shoulder.

“The Seattle fans are some of the best that I’ve had in my career, and the way they love the game, the way they support the team is unbelievable,” Suarez said. “I still love them, but it’s a business, and I will do my best to win this series.”

That became more difficult when Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen left with a 2-1 deficit and a runner on in the sixth inning Friday with right hamstring tightness. The Mariners’ Mitch Haniger hit a grand slam off reliever Scott McGough later in the inning to provide the final margin.

It was just the latest in a series of injuries for the Diamondbacks’ rotation. Merrill Kelly was placed on the injured list earlier this week with a right shoulder strain, Ryne Nelson was hit on the elbow by a line drive last week, and Eduardo Rodriguez suffered a lat strain in spring training and probably still is at least a month away from making his season debut.

“Just a right hamstring spasm, and I think we really dodged a bullet,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

Lovullo, whose defending National League champions have lost six of their past nine games, acknowledged fearing the worst when going to the mound to check on his ace.

“I can’t help myself,” Lovullo said. “It’s human nature with everything we’ve been going through over the past three, four weeks, plus.”

The Diamondbacks are scheduled to fill Kelly’s turn in the rotation Saturday with right-hander Slade Cecconi (1-0, 3.00 ERA) when they go against Mariners righty George Kirby (2-2, 5.33). Neither starter previously has faced the opponent.

As for Suarez, Mariners manager Scott Servais called him “one of my all-time favorites” to coach.

“He’s a special dude,” Servais said. “He meant so much to our entire group. … He just has a way about him. He’s so easy to root for, especially when you get to know the personality and what all goes into making Geno, Geno. A lot of great memories here.”

–Field Level Media

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