Minutes before making his major league debut for Seattle

in FanArts 24.06.2019 08:36
von Dogcat250 • Halb Gott | 1.156 Beiträge

HOUSTON -- Taijuan Walkers mother, Nellie Garcia, has been his biggest cheerleader throughout his baseball career. Minutes before making his major league debut for Seattle on Friday night against the Houston Astros, Walker found Garcia in the crowd and grabbed her for a long and emotional embrace. His mother had just one thing to tell her son before his big moment. "Good luck T.T.," Garcia said, using the nickname hes had since childhood. Pitching in front of about 40 family members and friends, Walker did not allow an earned run over five innings to help the Mariners beat Houston 7-1. Dustin Ackley had a career-high four hits with four RBIs. "You only get one debut, so having all of them out here was a great feeling," Walker said. The 21-year-old right-hander, rated the fifth-best prospect in baseball, yielded two hits and one run with two strikeouts and a walk. If the 6-foot-4 Walker (1-0) had any rookie nerves, it certainly didnt show as he retired the first eight batters he faced. "He was more and more comfortable as the game wore on and let the ball go a few times," manager Eric Wedge said. "I thought he did a nice job with the secondary stuff, with the breaking ball, with some changeups. He was downhill with the fastball. I thought he was very impressive out there." The Astros were up by one in the fourth before Ackley tied it with an RBI single. Seattle led by two in the fifth before a single by Ackley made it 5-1. A run-scoring single in the ninth gave Ackley four RBIs to tie a career best. He had the same number of hits as Houston. Astros starter Brad Peacock (3-5) was tagged for seven hits and five runs in 4 2-3 innings. Abraham Almonte, also playing his first major league game, added two RBIs to help the Mariners win their second straight following a six-game slide. Carter Capps, Charlie Furbush and Oliver Perez combined to pitch four scoreless innings after Walker left the game. Walker relied heavily on a fastball that was routinely clocked at 95 mph, but reached as high as 97 mph. He also used a cutter, curveball and slider to keep the Astros off balance. "He was really impressive," Houstons L.J. Hoes said. "Hes a big kid. On his video, he didnt look as big as he really is. It says hes throwing 96 (mph), but it seems way harder than that because hes so big." A first-round draft pick in 2010, Walker joined the Mariners after going 4-7 with a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A and 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA over 11 starts in Triple-A. He was dominant in his last two outings, going 2-0 with a sparkling 0.82 ERA. Walker became the youngest starting pitcher to make his debut for the Mariners since Felix Hernandezs first game in 2005 at 19. The Mariners offset Walkers inexperience by starting catcher Henry Blanco, who turned 42 on Thursday. Wedge thought Blancos presence would help Walker feel more comfortable. Walker didnt get rattled during a tough third inning for Seattles defence. A two-out error by first baseman Justin Smoak gave Houston a 1-0 lead. Hoes singled on a grounder that deflected off Kyle Seagers glove at third base. But after a short visit to the mound by Blanco, Walker retired Jose Altuve to limit the damage. Walker set down six of his last seven batters, with the only baserunner coming on a walk to Brett Wallace with two outs in the fourth. Walker was helped by some dazzling defence for the last out of the fifth. Ackley sprinted before sliding on his knees to grab a fly ball hit by Grossman near the bullpen in right-centre. Walker pumped his fist and smiled before leaving the mound. Ackley had a hard time deciding if he enjoyed his defensive work or offensive performance better. "Man, the catch was pretty fun, Ill have to say that," he said. "I havent really had many plays like that, so that was pretty sweet. But you cant say that I didnt have fun having four hits. That was pretty fun, too. I dont know. Its all pretty good and pretty exciting." Walkers cheering section consisted of friends and family who travelled to Houston from California and Louisiana. Several members of the group, which included his mother, father and nine of his 11 siblings, donned his pinstriped No. 44 jersey from the Double-A Jackson Generals. Walker wore No. 27 on Friday night. Garcia was emotional as she watched her son pitch. She spoke of the hug she shared with her son during the game. "I think it was one of the best moments of my life," she said. "Weve had a lot of moments hugging on the field -- dont make me cry right now. I think that was the realest moment ever." Walkers father, Frank, smiled broadly as he talked about his son and the opportunity to share this milestone with him. "It is very exciting," he said. "Its awesome. Its unbelievable. Words really cant describe it." NOTES: The Mariners optioned RHP Erasmo Ramirez to Triple-A Tacoma and selected Almontes contract. Almonte started in right field. ... The series continues Saturday when Seattle LHP Joe Saunders opposes Dallas Keuchel. ... Houston C Carlos Corporan, on the seven-day concussion list, said he no longer has concussion symptoms and is "back to himself." He has been doing individual work, but isnt sure when hell return. ... Olympic gold medallist and softball star Cat Osterman threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Cheap Raptors Jerseys . Sam, who joined the Cowboys in early September, has spent the entire season on the practice roster. 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