Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/31/13
Nothing like having one ace race around the clubhouse postgame in search of inducting the future one into the fold. At least that’s a storyline the Mariners would certainly like to see touted as Felix Hernandez beer in hand headed back to the field Friday night to find fellow pitcher Taijuan Walker. Arguably the most hyped Mariners mound prospect since Hernandez Walker had just beaten the Houston Astros 7-1 in his major-league debut and was giving a televised interview live on MLB Network when the current ace struck. Hernandez doused the barely-drinking-age Walker with his first of plenty of sudsy shampoo to come. Later after his teammates had dragged him to the clubhouse showers for more Walker reflected on what it meant to have finally arrived where he wants to be. “I had a lot of fun’’ Walker said. “I’m glad the first one’s out of the way. My family was there so I had a good time.’’ His mother Nellie Garcia who had raised Walker and his siblings alone as a teenager had flown in from upstate New York to be among the 13869 at Minute Maid Park. And Walker’s new extended family a nation of die-hard beaten-down Mariners supporters seeking any positive news they could find had tuned in for this one with plenty of interest. They saw Walker who turned 21 just a few weeks ago toss five solid innings against a terrible Astros squad. With a little luck he might not have given up any hits or runs but for some dropped balls the official scorer was generous to the home side on. A Justin Smoak error also prolonged the third inning and enabled the Astros to open the scoring with an unearned run. But that would be all Houston managed and the Mariners quickly overcame the deficit led by a career-high four-hit night from Dustin Ackley. An Ackley single off Astros starter Brad Peacock tied it 1-1 in the fourth and then rookie Abraham Almonte raced up the line and beat out an attempted double-play grounder to enable the go-ahead run to score. Kyle Seager singled in the fifth to bring a third marker home and then Ackley added a two-run single of his own that frame to make it 5-1. Ackley then hit a triple to center in the eighth and eventually scored on Almonte’s first big-league hit. Finally in the ninth with the bases full Ackley hit another single to close out the scoring. Along the way Ackley also made arguably the finest catch of his fledgling outfield career sprinting full on to deep right center and making a sliding snag of a Robbie Gorman blast to the warning track.
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