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Mariners set new record, homer in 15th consecutive game to start season

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The Mariners have been baseball’s biggest surprise to start the 2019 season, bursting out to a franchise-best 13-2 start. The club pawned off stars Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz, and Jean Segura in the offseason as part of a rebuilding effort, so they weren’t expected to be competitive.

Behind the fast opening is the Mariners’ offense. Entering Thursday’s action against the Royals, the club led the league in all three triple-slash stats (.295/.373/.558) and, of course, OPS (.932). They also led in runs (110), hits (149), doubles (29), home runs (34), stolen bases (17), and walks (59). As one can infer from those stats, just about everyone is hitting. Jay Bruce has seven homers. Domingo Santana has four homers and 19 RBI. Tim Beckham might be the biggest surprise, owning a 1.243 OPS and four homers.

The offense continued on Thursday as the Mariners rallied late to secure a 10-inning, 7-6 victory over the Royals. Dee Gordon hit his first home run of the season in the sixth inning. In doing so, he made it 15 consecutive games in which the Mariners have homered to start the 2019 season. That’s a new major league record, per MLB.com’s Greg Johns. The record was previously held by the 2002 Indians.

Dan Vogelbach added another home run to break a 6-6 tie in the 10th inning. The 13-2 Mariners will now head back home for a six-game homestand against the Astros and Indians.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.