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Seattle's Dunn battles to first big league win

Club's No. 8 prospect limits damage to two runs over six innings
Justin Dunn sports a 4.85 ERA and a .224 average-against over three starts with the Mariners this season. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
August 11, 2020

It didn't take long for Justin Dunn to realize he didn't have his best stuff when he took the hill Monday night, but that didn't stop him from grinding out his first Major League victory. The eighth-ranked Mariners prospect battled through six innings -- yielding two runs on seven hits

It didn't take long for Justin Dunn to realize he didn't have his best stuff when he took the hill Monday night, but that didn't stop him from grinding out his first Major League victory.

The eighth-ranked Mariners prospect battled through six innings -- yielding two runs on seven hits and three walks while fanning a pair -- and Seattle’s offense produced 15 hits while coasting past the Rangers, 10-2, at Globe Life Field.

Dunn was under duress through most of his outing as he faced 11 batters with at least one runner in scoring position, but the right-hander retired the side in order twice and earned the "W" in his seventh start in The Show after tossing 49 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

"It means everything. Dream come true," he told reporters after the game. "It’s finally good to get the monkey off my back, and now I can stop chasing it and go to work.

"That whole outing for me was a grind. Fastball didn’t feel like it had much life. Breaking balls were kind of spinning early, and I was just out there competing and letting my defense work."

Shin-Soo Choo walked to lead off the game, stole second base and advanced to third on a ground ball to short by Nick Solak. A fly ball into shallow right field by Willie Calhoun resulted in a triple after a miscue between Shed Long and Dylan Moore to plate the Rangers' first run. But Calhoun was left stranded on third after the 24-year-old induced a lineout from Joey Gallo and an infield popup by Rougned Odor to end the inning.

Dunn set the side down in order in the second on seven pitches. With one out in the third, Solak singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Austin Nola. Solak scored on a sacrifice fly by Calhoun to deep center two pitches later to cap Texas’ scoring.

"Our entire lineup, top to bottom, they were on top of their game all day," Dunn said. "They got me the lead early and I gave it back and I was pretty upset about that. And so once they put those extra three up, I knew it was time to go back out and throw a zero up. That’s my job."

The Boston College product posted a 1-2-3 frame in the fourth, and after back-to-back base hits to start the fifth, Dunn settled down to retire the next three hitters in a row -- two via punchout. In his final inning, the righty faced Choo again with two on and two out, but the former All-Star grounded to J.P. Crawford at short.

"Just kind of went into compete mode," Dunn said. "I just kind of went into a boxing ring and I was going to go down throwing haymakers. ... It was my chance to get the win and I saw the finish line. So I just tried to dig deep and give every last bit that I had."

Dunn made his Major League debut last Sept. 12 against the Reds. He posted a 6.43 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP while limiting opponents to a .160 average over seven innings spanning four appearances. This season, Dunn sports a 4.85 ERA with eight whiffs in 13 frames over three starts.

In 25 starts with Double-A Arkansas in 2019, Dunn posted a 3.55 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP while fanning 158 over 131 2/3 Texas League frames -- earning his first selection to the Futures Game.

Seattle’s fifth-ranked prospect Evan White snapped a three-game hitless skid after legging out an infield single in the sixth with two outs, and southpaw Taylor Guilbeau closed out the win with a walk and a strikeout in a hitless ninth. The No. 24 Mariners prospect has not allowed a run in four appearances this month.

In other action:

Nationals 16, Mets 4

Carter Kieboom singled and scored in five at-bats as part of Washington’s 17-hit onslaught. Washington's top prospect has hit safely in five of seven games and is batting .286 with a .423 on-base percentage this season. Mets No. 28 prospect Ali Sanchez made his Major League debut as a defensive replacement for Wilson Ramos in the seventh. The 23-year-old grounded into a double play in his first big league at-bat. No. 3 Andres Gimenez went 0-for-4 one day after notching his first three-hit game. Box score

Angels 10, A’s 9

Los Angeles' top prospect Jo Adell went 2-for-4 in his first big league multi-hit performance. Baseball’s No. 6 overall prospect is 4-for-19 with a run scored through five games this season. Oakland’s second-ranked prospect Sean Murphy led off the fourth with a base hit to left and came around to score on a triple by Matt Chapman. Murphy has four hits in nine games this month. Box score

Tigers 5, White Sox 1

Detroit’s 18th-ranked prospect Bryan Garcia closed out the victory after yielding one hit in a scoreless ninth. The righty hasn't been scored upon in his last two appearances and has surrendered two earned runs over 5 1/3 frames this season. Chicago’s top prospect Luis Robert made a pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth and flied out to right to end the inning. No. 19 Danny Mendick went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored for his third multi-hit effort and second three-hit performance this month. Righty Codi Heuer was tagged for two runs on three hits with a strikeout in the seventh. The No. 27 White Sox prospect sports a 0.95 WHIP over five appearances (6 1/3 innings) this season. Box score

Padres 2, Dodgers 1

Jake Cronenworth singled in four at-bats and has hit safely in nine of his 11 appearances. San Diego’s 19th-ranked prospect has been one of the club’s top offensive performers this season, batting .344/.364/.750 with two homers among his seven extra-base hits and four RBIs. Los Angeles’ No. 21 prospect Edwin Rios went hitless in three at-bats. Box score

Rob Terranova is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.