Of all the weapons in baseball, patience may be the least sexy - ranked somewhere below the home run and the bases-loaded error.
Still, patience is becoming one of the signature pieces of the Seattle Marienrs 2010 identity - and four Mariners rank among the American League's top 25 in pitches seen per at-bat.
Don Wakamatsu and his staff preach not taking pitches but hitting strikes, and making the opposing pitcher work so hard early that he's gone after five innings.
"You make a pitcher throw anywhere from 18-21 pitches in the first inning, that's an investment on the rest of the game," Wakamatsu said.
And the most patient Mariners and their rank among the league's most patience hitters? Milton Bradley ranks 15th and sees 4.30 pitchers per at-bat. Chone Figgins is 16th (4.29), Casey Kotchman 22nd (4.18) and Franklin Gutierrez is 24th (4.17).
Tonight, they'll try to make Detroit's Justin Verlander work hard early and get some runs for Ryan Rowland-Smith.
- Ichiro doubled on Verlander's first pitch, then stole third base with Figgins at the plate. Figgins appeared to foul out to Carlos Guillen in foul territory - and Ichiro raced home - but Guillen dropped the ball so Ichiro was returned to third. No matter. Gutierrrez singled Ichiro home. On a hit-and-run play, Lopez singled Gutierrez to third. Ken Griffey Jr. groundferd sharply to the mound, literally knocking Verlander down, but Verlander forced Lopez at second base. Bradley struck out, on Verlander's 28th pitch. Seattle 1, Detroit 0.
- Ichiro led off the third inning and tripled on Verlander's third pitch, scoring when Figgins flied to center field. After three: Seattle 2, Detroit 0.
- Magglio Ordonez caught a hanging curve and hit it out for his fourth home run. In the fourth inning: Seattle 2, Detroit 1.
- You'd think with a fastball that can hit triple digits, Verlander wouldn't be afraid to show it to 40-year-old Griffey, but he hasn't yet. In the fourth, Verlander started him with two changeups - 77 and 78 mph - then struck him out with a slider. No fastballs. It worked.
- Two outs into the fifth inning, Ichiro singled and now has a single, double and triple in the game. Still, Seattle 2, Detroit 1.
- Starting the sixth inning, both Verlander and Rowland-Smith had thrown exactly 71 pitches. Rowland-Smith needed 13 more to get through the sixth.
- Scott Sizemore doubled to open the seventh inning, chasing Rowland-Smith. Brandon League now pitching for Seattle. Gerald Laird sacrificed Sizemore to third. Pinch hitter Johnny Damon singled the run home. In the seventh: Seattle 2, Detroit 2.
- Bradley had one of those at-bats, working a seven-pitch walk, then stole second base. Kotchman doubled, Bradley scored, but Kotchman was caught in a run down and tagged out. In the seventh: Seattle 3, Detroit 2.
- Mark Lowe in to pitch for Seattle. Carlos Guillen singled with one out moved to second when Brandon Inge walked. Sizemore grounded into a double play. In the eighth: Seattle 3, Detroit 2.
- Ichiro led off the eighth inning needing a home run for a four at-bat cycle - and walked on five pitches. Figgins forced Ichiro. Joel Zumaya in to pitch for Detroit. Gutierrez singled Figgins home. Seattle 4, Detroit 2.
- David Aardsma time: Given his fifth save opportunity, the Mariners closer slammed the door on Seattle's sixth victory. The Mariners (6-6) are now in second place in the AL West. It's a final: Seattle 4, Detroit 2.