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: 17.09.2018
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: 12, 2018 4:41 am     : ers, it has been all about

Not only was it Canada Day with The Big Maple Michael Frolik Jersey , Canadian James Paxton on the mound for the Mariners 1-0 victory over the Royals, it also was Paxton Bobblehead Day at Safeco Field.

This bobblehead included a bald eagle on his shoulder, a crazy moment that actually happened while working out in the outfield before a game this season in Minnesota. The video went viral.

Paxton allowed only two hits and struck out 11 in eight innings to lead the Mariners to their season-best seventh consecutive victory.

Paxton enjoyed the moment, Seattle manager Scott Servais said. It was National Pax Day. A holiday in Canada, the bobblehead and the fans were really into it.

Paxton (8-2) had plenty of family and friends at the game from his hometown of Ladner, British Columbia.

It was cool to pitch on Canada Day and have the bobblehead, Paxton said. It felt good today. The fastball, curveball and cutter all were working.

Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth for his 32nd save. The Mariners are 26-11 in one-run games this season and 22-0 when Diaz enters the game with a one-run lead.

As far as being valuable to our team, he has to be the top of the list, Servais said about Diaz. He isnt just getting it done, its also the efficiency of how hes getting it done. When his timing is right, hes really tough to hit.

Kansas City rookie Brad Keller (2-3) also was tough to hit. He allowed six hits in eight innings. The only extra-base hit he allowed was a double by Kyle Seager in the seventh inning.

Hes doing everything you want a starting pitcher to do, Royals manager Ned Yost said. Complete game. He was fantastic. Hes out there attacking with his fastball, slider, throwing strikes and really commanding his pitch count.

It was the first complete game of Kellers career.

After the game a few guys came up and said congratulations, Keller said. Ive never had one before and its pretty cool, but its frustrating (taking the loss). Thats tough lineup. A lot of good hitters over there. I tried to stay on the attack and not fall behind too much.

The only run came in the second inning. Ben Gamel dropped a broken-bat single into shallow center to score Seager from second base. Seager singled to right before Ryon Healy singled to center.

Thats all Paxton needed, recording double-figure strikeouts for the seventh time this season. On his 110th pitch, his last of the game to close out the top of the eighth, his fastball was clocked at 99 mph.

Late in the game he just dialed it up Authentic Lamar Jackson Jersey , Servais said. Pax emptied the tank and let it rip. He had an overpowering fastball at the end. Its pretty rare. There are only five to 10 guys in baseball who can do that and were lucky to have one of them.

TRAINERS ROOM

Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy, who experienced tightness on his left side during his start Friday, had his normal throwing day in the bullpen Sunday, but Kansas City manager Ned Yost did not say whether Kennedy would make his next scheduled start. Yost said RF Jorge Soler (fractured toe and placed in the 10-day DL June 17) is still on a six-weeks-or-so recovery, so its likely another four weeks before he would return.

Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said they will monitor RHP Felix Hernandez and his back stiffness over the next few days. Hernandez pitched five innings Saturday night and earned the victory (three runs and six hits) but struggled with back pain and wasnt able to sit down in the dugout between innings. Well keep an eye on it, Servais said. We have the off day (Monday) so hell get an extra-day off between starts. Servais said he was hopeful RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, who underwent shoulder surgery last September, would be back by now, but Iwakumas throwing was shut down again last week. Hes frustrated by that, Servais said. The doctors still are optimistic hell get back (this season) but I dont have any timetable for it.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (5-9, 4.67) will make his 17th starts of the season Monday when the Royals return home to start a three-game series with Cleveland. Junis has allowed a major league-high 22 home runs over 96.1 innings.

Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 3.3Cool will make his 12th starts of the season Tuesday when Seattle starts a three-game series at home against the Angels. LeBlanc hasnt lost a decision in his 11 starts and the Mariners are 8-3 in those games.

LOS ANGELES Clayton Kershaws comeback from a third back injury in three years will continue Thursday afternoon when he faces the Chicago Cubs in the finale of a four-game series.

It is the last time the Dodgers and Cubs will meet in the regular season, but as the last two National League Championship Series have shown, a high-profile series in October is a possibility.

Thursdays afternoon game at Dodger Stadium is also the end of a jammed-packed run that will see the Cubs and Dodgers face each other for the seventh time in 10 days. Each team has beaten the other three times after the Dodgers earned a 7-5 victory Wednesday.

Kershaw (1-4, 2.94 ERA) has already had two disabled list stints this season. He missed nearly four weeks in May with left biceps tendinitis, and after only five innings of his return from that injury, he hit the DL again with a lower back strain.

In his return Saturday at New York against the Mets, Kershaw gave up two runs on five hits over three innings, as he was held to 55 pitches. He was supposed to have a minor league rehab start that day, but a poor weather forecast for their Triple-A Oklahoma team led the Dodgers to shift gears.

While Kershaw is expected to get more leeway Thursday Quandre Diggs Jersey , he still figures to be on a pitch restriction that manager Dave Roberts will determine.

I feel 100 percent, Kershaw told ESPN this week. Its just a matter of building up pitch-count wise and just make sure were getting to that 110-, 120-pitch count limit.

Kershaw is 5-3 with a 2.64 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs.

Kershaw will square off against fellow left-hander Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.26) on Thursday. Quintana has not thrown 100 pitches in any of his last six starts and has completed six innings once in four June starts.

Quintana has not won a start since May 31 while posting a 4.15 ERA over 21 2/3 June innings. He has not given up an earned run in two career starts against the Dodgers, but is 0-1 against Los Angeles

The Cubs have scored 14 runs in two nights after hitting coach Chili Davis held a meeting with the offense. And while the improved offense was much needed, the Cubs are 1-1 in those two games since the meeting.

Now comes a matchup with Kershaw, who is never a pushover, whether he is coming off an injury or not.

Im still looking forward to, as we get more mature in the batters box, that we chase less, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. I like homers just like everybody else does, but there are so many other ways to score. Industry-wide, thats probably everybodys biggest problem. I want power and I want that little dumper to the right side.

For the Dodgers, it has been all about power in June. They hit three more home runs Wednesday and now have 51 in June, two short of the club record for a single month.

Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger hit home runs Wednesday. Pederson has a major league-leading 10 home runs in June, Muncy has nine and Bellinger has eight.

The Cubs are 1-6 on their eight-game road trip to Cincinnati and L.A. and are 3-9 in regular-season games at Dodger Stadium since the start of 2015.
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