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Cubs 14, Mariners 9: Nelson Velázquez helps slam the Cubs to victory

Dansby Swanson left the game, but doesn’t appear to be seriously injured.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get to the details of the Cubs’ come-from-behind 14-9 thrashing of the Mariners, let’s address the events that took shortstop Dansby Swanson out of the game in the sixth inning. Here’s what happened:

That ... didn’t look good, and the initial report wasn’t either:

However, based on this post-game news, it doesn’t appear too serious:

Also, this was the rest of Swanson’s day, which might have had something to do with it:

Swanson prides himself on playing every day — he played all 162 games in 2022 and led the National League with 160 games played in 2021. It probably wouldn’t hurt, though, for him to sit out Wednesday, then the Cubs have an off day Thursday and don’t play after that until Friday night in Los Angeles. That would give him almost three full days off, if needed. “As always, we await developments.”

This game started out as perhaps the worst of the year. The Mariners just blasted Hayden Wesneski all over the place in the first two innings. He faced 15 batters and 11 of them reached base, six by hits, four on walks and one on an error by Swanson. Seven runs scored and honestly I can’t say what’s wrong with Wesneski, only that I hope the team can figure it out soon. Perhaps he was tipping his pitches. I do know Wesneski has too much talent for this to go on for too long.

So it’s 7-0 heading to the bottom of the second inning. The Cubs put a run on the board in that frame. Cody Bellinger led off with a single and Patrick Wisdom walked. After Eric Hosmer hit into a double play, moving Bellinger up to third, Yan Gomes beat out an infield hit, scoring a run [VIDEO].

Then the Cubs took care of the rest of Seattle’s lead in the third inning. Swanson led off with a single, already his second hit of the game. One out later, Trey Mancini made it 7-3 [VIDEO].

See the guy with the home run ball in that video?

Bellinger followed with a single and Patrick Wisdom walked. Eric Hosmer then singled to make it 7-4 [VIDEO].

A single by Gomes loaded the bases and up stepped Nelson Velázquez for his second MLB at-bat of 2023. I think you could say it went well [VIDEO].

Fun fact:

Here’s the game Jesse Rogers is talking about — the Padres led the Diamondbacks 8-0 going into the bottom of the second, but Arizona wound up winning 13-9. Apropos of nothing, the D-Backs won the World Series that year.

The previous game the Cubs won where they trailed by seven or more runs was the famous comeback on a frigid April day in 2018 over the Braves, where they were behind 10-2 and won 14-10.

Anyway, Velázquez’ slam put the Cubs ahead 8-7 but no, they were not done in that inning! Nico Hoerner was hit by a pitch and stole second, his fifth steal of the year without being caught. Swanson’s third hit of the night drove him in [VIDEO].

So it’s 9-7 Cubs after three. Jarred Kelenic homered off Michael Rucker in the fourth to make it 9-8, but Seattle would get no closer.

The Cubs put two on the board in the fifth. Velázquez led off with a walk and Hoerner singled. Swanson’s fourth hit of the game made it 10-8 [VIDEO].

Hoerner took third on a force play and scored on this single by Mancini [VIDEO].

Three more Cubs runs crossed the plate in the sixth. Eric Hosmer led off with a walk, and that’s notable because ball four was on a pitch timer violation:

Velázquez followed with a double, his third hit of the game, and Nico brought them both in with another double [VIDEO].

Hoerner then scored on a single by Nick Madrigal, who had replaced Swanson in the lineup [VIDEO].

That completed the Cubs scoring. Every Cub reached base, and every Cub had a hit except for Patrick Wisdom, who walked twice. Every Cub scored a run except for Madrigal (who only batted once) and Ian Happ, and every Cub drove a run in except for Happ, Wisdom and Cody Bellinger (who had two hits and scored twice). That’s the kind of varied offense this team can put together, I think — obviously not necessarily scoring 14 runs every day, but this Cubs team is better than you think it is.

Before Swanson left the game he had, as noted, four hits. From BCB’s JohnW53:

Dansby Swanson is just the third Cub since 1901 to have at least three hits in four of the team’s first 10 games of a season. The others were Frank Demaree in 1937, and Randy Jackson in 1954. Demaree had three in each game. Jackson had four, four, five and three. Swanson has three, three, three and four. Twenty-three Cubs have had three games of at least three hits in the first 10 of a season, including Starlin Castro and Billy Herman, who did it twice.

Hopefully, whatever caused Swanson to leave the game Tuesday isn’t serious and he won’t miss much, or even any, time.

Cubs relievers did a nice job in this game keeping Mariners bats quiet after Wesneski’s departure. Michael Rucker, Adbert Alzolay, Mark Leiter Jr. and Julian Merryweather combined for 7⅔ innings and allowed five hits and two runs, with no walks and eight strikeouts.

Lastly, I’m hoping Velázquez’ big day (three hits, including the slam, a walk and three runs scored) leads to his name being written into the lineup in right field every day until Seiya Suzuki comes back. Tuesday, he showed the kind of talent that got him named 2021 Arizona Fall League MVP. He could be a real asset to this team even after Suzuki returns.

A note about the time of this game: It ran 3:02, which was the Cubs’ first three-hour game of 2023 and just the 18th three-hour nine-inning game in MLB this year (out of 170 total games played so far). That’s actually an accomplishment of the pitch timer. The first three innings took about an hour and 15 minutes — and the rest of the game about 1:45. A game like this a year ago likely would have lasted about 3:45 (example: a game with an identical score from April 2022). It felt well paced and not rushed.

Remember the 2021 game where the Cubs raced out to a 7-0 lead in Milwaukee only to lose 15-7? This one kind of reminded me of that, only in reverse, the Cubs going down 7-0 early, then roaring back to win. Coincidentally, that day (June 30, 2021) is the last time any Cubs team was three games over .500, and if the Cubs can win Wednesday’s series finale and sweep this series, that’s where they will be.

Marcus Stroman will go for the Cubs Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field and he’ll be opposed by Seattle righthander Logan Gilbert. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.