SEATTLE — Kyle Lewis didn’t feel the awkward disappointment on July 12 when the Mariners were no-hit by the Angels on an emotional night at Angels Stadium. It was the first game back in Anaheim after pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ tragic death. His mom had thrown out the first pitch and the Mariners seemed to have lost before the game had even started. Two pitchers and the baseball gods held Seattle hitless for the first time in 2019.
Lewis wasn’t in Houston on Aug. 3 to experience the embarrassment of having to explain being no-hit for the second time in less than two weeks. As if getting trounced by the Astros in seemingly every game this season wasn’t enough, they had to get held hitless again, this time by a combination of four pitchers, including Aaron Sanchez, who came in with one win on the season.
Called up on Tuesday and playing in just his second major-league game, Lewis was free from the baggage of the all the losses this season and the regrettable feelings that being no-hit twice can elicit and leave in your psyche. And that was a good thing for the Mariners as they avoided a dubious spot in baseball history in their 5-2 victory over the Reds.
In his sixth big-league plate appearance, Lewis stepped to the plate in the seventh inning with his team trailing by two runs, and more important, without a hit against Reds right-hander Sonny Gray.
But in one terrifyingly fast and vicious lash of his bat, Lewis changed the entire game and perhaps the thinking of more than a few Mariners fans about the state of the franchise’s future.
Lewis destroyed a first-pitch fastball that was left over the middle of the plate from Gray, sending a towering blast that carried over the wall in right-center. His three-run homer not only snapped a no-hitter, but it gave the Mariners a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Lewis has two hits as a big-leaguer and both are home runs.
On Tuesday, with his team hitless over the first four innings, he hammered a 2-0 fastball from Trevor Bauer into the Mariners’ bullpen for a solo homer.
His homer off Gray showcased where his true power lies — right-center. And driving a ball that far on a cool night with no wind at T-Mobile Park isn’t simple.
Lewis’ homer also rewarded Marco Gonzales. The Mariners’ lefty had delivered a solid outing, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven inning. But it looked like he was going to take a loss, getting outdueled by a pitcher tossing a no-hitter. Instead, he improved 15-11, with the 15 wins a career high.
Gray took the loss to fall to 10-7. He pitched to one more batter after Lewis, giving up a single to Daniel Vogelbach. His final line: 6 1/3 innings pitched, three runs allowed on two hits with three walks, nine strikeouts and a hit batter.
Seattle tacked on two more runs in eighth inning off the Reds for some cushion. Austin Nola scored Mallex Smith with a single and Kyle Seager smoked a double over the head of center fielder Brian O’Grady to score Nola from first base to make it 5-2.
Those runs became important when reliever Sam Tuivailala had trouble throwing strikes, loading the bases with a pair of walks and a hit batter before being relieved after recording just one out. But Anthony Bass struck out Curt Casali and then, after allowing a run on a wild pitch on strike three to Derek Dietrich, got Joey Votto to ground out to end the game.