Baseball / Sports

Mariners' Elias shines in win over Mets before cramping forces exit

SEATTLE -- At the very least, Roenis Elias' previous three starts had to cause a hint of concern among Seattle Mariners' brass.

The left-handed rookie from Cuba had allowed 16 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings over the past month, with the Mariners going winless in those three games.

For another, perhaps more alarming, reason, the ending of Elias' start Monday night also offered cause for concern.

Elias won his first game since June 22, pitching effectively into the sixth inning in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the New York Mets before a crowd of 21,943.

That was the good news.

In an ominous finish, Elias walked off the mound escorted by trainer Rob Nodine with one out in the sixth inning. A few pitches earlier, Nodine and manager Lloyd McClendon had visited the mound after Elias showed some discomfort in his left arm. Elias threw a few warm-up pitches, and then the game resumed.

After Elias struck out the Mets' Lucas Duda -- his eighth strikeout of the night -- Nodine and McClendon immediately came back out to the mound and the rookie left the game with what the Mariners later announced was cramping in his left forearm.

Elias (8-8) had allowed only one run on 90 pitches in 5 1/3 innings.

Rookie Dominic Leone relieved Elias. The first batter Leon faced, Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud, hit a high fly deep to left field, with the Mariners' Dustin Ackley giving chase. Ackley leapt at the wall, stretched his glove over the top and then fell back onto his backside on the warning track.

After a dramatic pause, and with the Safeco Field crowd growing quiet, Ackley finally stood up and revealed the ball from his glove. The ever-stoic Ackley didn't flinch -- no smirk, and certainly no smile, after the best play of his career -- as Leone raised both of his arms high in the air and pumped his right arm in celebration.

The crowd gave Ackley a rousing standing ovation, and another as he jogged toward the dugout at the end of the inning.

Ackley was almost as good at the plate, going 3 for 4 with an RBI double to continue his torrid July. He's 18 for 50 this month, a .360 average.

Willie Bloomquist, batting leadoff and playing shortstop, had hits in his first three at-bats for the Mariners, scoring two runs and driving in another with a ground-rule double.

Kyle Seager added RBI singles in his first two at-bats, giving him a team-leading 66 RBI.

Mets third baseman David Wright, on the 10-year anniversary of his major-league debut, had a two-out RBI single in the third inning off Elias.

Mike Zunino, hitting just .095 in July entering Monday, hit a mammoth third-inning home run to the upper deck in left field on the first pitch he saw of the game. It was the Zunino's 14th homer of the season, and the Mariners estimated it traveled 415 feet. That gave the Mariners a 3-1 lead.

Bloomquist's RBI double made it 4-1 in the fourth, and Ackley's RBI double made it 5-1 in the eighth.

Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese (5-5) allowed four earned runs in six innings.

The Mets are making just their second visit to Seattle. The Mariners swept a three-game series against Mets at Safeco Field in June 2005.

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