Seattle lefty struck by liner in 3-1 win over Angels
By Maddie Lee
SEATTLE -- James Paxton was two outs away from his first complete game, and he still looked sharp. He was ahead of Andrelton Simmons with a 1-2 count, and the last fastball he threw clocked at 97.4 mph.
The left-hander tossed in a curve, and Simmons knocked it right back at him. The comebacker deflected off of Paxton's pitching elbow and he crumbled.
"I just feel sick to my stomach for him and everybody involved," manager Scott Servais said after the Mariners' 3-1 win. "To pitch the ballgame he did, it was an opportunity for him to try to close it out. Thought his stuff was great and felt good about having him out there in the ninth inning."
That was before the doctors had read the X-rays. In the initial examination, they showed no break in the elbow. Paxton was diagnosed with a contusion and will be re-examined on Monday. Paxton pitched 8 1/3 innings before the injury took him out of the game. He only allowed one unearned run on five hits as the Mariners completed a sweep of the Angels. He was still talking with the doctors and getting treatment after the game.
Paxton threw six strikeouts, four of them to Mike Trout. That made him the first pitcher to ever strike out the Angels All-Star four times in one game.
"I think the biggest thing, he's such a good hitter, was trying to get ahead of him," said catcher Mike Zunino. "I mean obviously everyone's average isn't as good when they have a strike or two strikes on them. And we wanted to go right after him."
Paxton threw a first-pitch strike to Trout in all four at-bats. He got him out on three different pitches: the curve, cutter and fastball.
"I think that's why he's so good, is he can attack guys with all four pitches," Zunino said.
Paxton began the season in Triple-A Tacoma, developing his secondary pitches and working on a new arm slot. He has steadily improved since the Mariners recalled him on June 1. Paxton has only allowed six runs in his past four starts combined.
"We're starting to see him emerge before our eyes," Servais said.
Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.