SEATTLE (AP) — Corbin Burnes wasn’t going to push too hard and risk a little bit of discomfort turning into a bigger problem this early in the season.
Burnes pitched 5 1/3 innings before leaving with a left pectoral strain, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Seattle Mariners 7-3 on Monday night for their fourth win in five games.
While the Brewers continued to find success on the West Coast the immediate concern was the status of their staff ace.
And it may not be as bad as it first appeared.
The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner had just recorded the first out of the sixth inning on Julio Rodríguez long fly out to center field. Burnes (2-1) turned toward the Milwaukee dugout and summoned an athletic trainer and manager Craig Counsell and was removed from the game.
Burnes was pointing at his chest as he spoke with Milwaukee’s staff.
“Just one of those things that it was starting to cramp up and tighten up and it was affecting me mechanically,” Burnes said. “The more I threw the more it was starting to get not necessarily painful but just started to cramp up and started to get tighter and tighter.”
Burnes believed the injury happened two innings earlier when he made the tag on Seattle’s Eugenio Suárez during a rundown that ended the fourth inning.
Burnes allowed two runs on three hits with three strikeouts. One of those runs scored immediately after he left the game as Ty France’s RBI double scored J.P. Crawford.
In his previous start, Burnes threw eight shutout innings against Arizona.
“When we compared to the last start, it’s a little difficult because that was as good as it gets,” Counsell said. “I thought he did a nice job today.”
Seattle starter Chris Flexen (0-3) threw six innings for Seattle, but it was the second inning that put the Mariners in a hole. Flexen allowed four hits and three runs in the inning, including Luke Voit’s RBI double and Owen Miller’s RBI single.
Brian Anderson added an RBI single in the sixth off Flexen and the Brewers added two more in the seventh off reliever Penn Murfee. Pinch-hitter Brice Turang hit his second homer of the season on the first pitch from Murfee and William Contreras added a two-out RBI single.
“It being up and down the lineup, not being just one or two guys, everybody is involved,” Anderson said.
Seattle’s Cal Raleigh hit his second homer of the season in the second inning and Rodríguez homered in the eighth, his third. But Seattle also had a key baserunning mistake and two errors.
“We just didn’t play a clean game. When you don’t play clean, we’re just not going to beat too many teams,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
PITCH CLOCK PICKOFF
Burnes used the pitch clock to his advantage to wiggle out of a jam in the fourth inning. With two runners on and two outs, Burnes held a 3-2 pitch to Jarred Kelenic until nearly the last second. But instead of throwing to the plate, he spun and caught Suárez too far off second and was eventually tagged out by Burnes.
“Just took advantage of him being a little over-aggressive there and think I caught everyone in the stadium off guard,” Burnes said.
Brewers: OF Jesse Winker was out of the starting lineup due to a sore oblique, but Counsell said Winker made it thru his pregame workout and likely will be in the lineup Tuesday.
Mariners: Seattle placed IF/OF Sam Haggerty on the 7-day injured list after hitting his head diving for a ground ball over the weekend. Haggerty was feeling better but will be out until the upcoming weekend. … IF/OF Dylan Moore (oblique) is expected to start a rehab assignment in the minors this week.
Brewers: RHP Colin Rea (0-0, 1.59) makes his second start. Rea allowed one run and two hits with six strikeouts in his first start of the season last week at San Diego.
Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert (1-1, 2.70) allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Chicago Cubs in his last start.