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Dae-ho Lee sends Mariners home happy with a walk-off homer

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Mariners first baseman Dae-ho Lee homered last Friday but otherwise struggled in his first seven games in the majors, entering Wednesday’s action with just two hits in 13 plate appearances. He has only been starting against left-handed pitchers, so with right-hander A.J. Griffin starting for the Rangers, Lee rode the bench.

The Mariners coughed up a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning and the game would remain knotted at two each into the bottom of the 10th inning. With two outs and a runner on first base against Rangers lefty Jake Diekman, Mariners manager Scott Servais opted to pinch-hit for Adam Lind with Lee. It turned out to be a stroke of genius, as Lee drilled an 0-2 97 MPH fastball over Ian Desmond‘s head in left field for a walk-off two-run home run.

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Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Lee is the third player in Mariners history to hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run, joining Kendrys Morales and Ken Phelps. He’s the first rookie to do so.

The Mariners signed Lee to a minor league contract in February, which guaranteed him a $1 million salary if he made the major league roster. He had a decent showing in spring training, hitting four doubles and a homer in 53 at-bats.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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