Brendan Ryan isn’t a home run hitter, and Safeco Field isn’t a home run hitter’s park. Yet, on Sunday, it didn’t matter.
The Seattle shortstop hit his first home run of the season and his first career home run at Safeco off Oakland A’s starter Graham Godfrey in the Mariners’ 5-3 win.
In the second inning, with Kyle Seager on second after a double, Ryan turned on a Godfrey fastball and drove it over the wall in left.
“I think it was the only fastball I got around,” Ryan said. “I was just trying to get a look at all of his pitches and try to put together a good at-bat with Seager on second and scratch that first run across.”
Instead, he put two on the board with one swing.
“I really don’t know how it happened,” Ryan said. “Sometimes it’s an accident. Sometimes it’s a good accident. Hopefully it happens more often.”
The line drive easily cleared the fence.
Not that Ryan was certain it was over the wall.
“Never here,” he said. “No, not ever. Not even from second base. No. No. So, yeah, that’s it. Just no.”
After drawing the ire of manager Eric Wedge and being benched in Texas and looking lost at the plate early on, Ryan is showing signs that his bat is coming around. He had a double Saturday night and hasn’t struck out in three games.
Besides bringing high-level defense to the infield, Ryan also brings a level of humor – intentional and unintentional – to the clubhouse.
His postgame interview provided yet another example when he was asked about playing Oakland so many times early in the season.
“I don’t know how many games we’ve played, but it seems like they’re all against them,” Ryan said. “I know Cleveland is coming in and I don’t know who we face tomorrow.”
When told today is a day off, Ryan seemed stunned.
“I didn’t know that,” he said. “Are you serious? Oh, all right, well, then I don’t have to show up tomorrow. I guess I can get some furniture for my condo.”
Every player on the field wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The last player to wear 42 as his everyday number for the Mariners was Butch Huskey in 1999. Jesus Montero went 0-for-3 and had his eight-game hitting streak snapped. Reliever Tom Wilhelmson threw a shutout eighth inning. It was his fifth appearance against the Athletics this season. He’s thrown six innings and allowed one run, while striking out seven hitters. Dating back to last season, the Mariners have won four of Blake Beavan’s past five starts at Safeco Field. Beavan was the third straight Seattle starting pitcher to throw at least seven innings. For the series, the trio of Beavan, Hector Noesi and Felix Hernandez allowed five earned runs in 22 innings with 16 strikeouts.
The Mariners are off today, but return to action Tuesday with the first of a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field.