Well the day started off with the manager Don Wakamatsu admitting he understands why people think he might be fired before the season ends.
It was followed by the general manager Jack Zduriencik giving a lukewarm vote of confidence saying that "Don is our manager."
What followed was a game where the team's No.5 hitter Franklin Gutierrez ending a scoreless streak on 23 innings by bunting with bases loaded and one out in the third inning - not your typical baseball.
The move smacked of desperation. But the Mariners have reached that point numerous occasions this season.
“That's the way need to play right now,” Gutierrez said. “Obviously, we are having a tough time scoring runs. We have to find a way to get it done. You see the opportunity, why not?”
While it isn't normal thinking, it might seem a little more logical against Rangers starter Colby Lewis, who has owned the Mariners this season.
In three previous starts against Seattle, the right-hander has posted a 2-0 record with a minuscule 0.78 ERA allowing just one run in 23 innings pitched, while striking out 18 batters.
He wasn’t quite as dominant on this outing, giving up three runs in six innings pitched and falling to 9-8 on the season.
How exactly did the Mariners master their nemesis?
“We got hits off him,” Wakamatsu said chuckling. “That’s such a big thing. We pressurized him and got his pitch count. But we got a lot of hits off him.”
The Mariners (40-67) amassed nine hits off of Lewis to be exact – most were singles.
“They singled (Lewis) to death,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Well the M's did have a double or two. And then there was this other hit.
“They had the one hit that was huge," Washington said. "That was the home run by Gutierrez.”
While the M's are desperate to score runs, they aren't desperate enough to have him bunting in the fifth inning with the game tied 2-2 and the count 2-2. Instead, he got a fastball up and out from Lewis that he punched over the wall in right field for his 10th homer of the season.
“I was just trying to make contact,” Gutierrez said. “It was a fastball up. Obviously, I hit it good. I just didn't know it was out.”
Jason Vargas improved to 9-7. He struggled a little early walking the lead-off hitter in three different innings - two of which scored, but after the Gutierrez homer, he retired six straight to leave ahead in the sixth inning.
He left to a nice ovation, with his newborn daughter, Elizabeth, in the stands for her first game. The little girl was born on Friday in Seattle and was already saw her dad start a game.
“She’s 1-0,” he joked.
But for her to be 1-0, it took pretty solid work from the bullpen and spectacular play from Chone Figgins.
Jamey Wright replaced Vargas and pitched a scoreless seventh.
In the eighth, Brandon League came in and promptly put himself into trouble walking the first two batters he faced.
With runners on first and second and no outs, the Mariners barely missed getting a key 4-6-3 double play on Josh Hamilton’s ground ball. Hamilton beat the relay throw by a step, leaving runners on first and third with one out and the dangerous Nelson Cruz at the plate.
Cruz got a two-seam fastball from League and ripped a rocket to the right side of the infield. Figgins made a diving stop on the one-hopper, gathered himself and threw to Wilson at second, who fired to first to get the double play.
“That’s the play that saved us the game,” Gutierrez said.
Figgins didn’t have time to think about the importance of the play. It all happened too fast.
“It’s just a reaction play,” said Figgins, who also had three hits in the game. “When that ball is that hard, you never have time to think about it.”
David Aardsma pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his 19th save of the season.
- Starter Colby Lewis recorded 9+ strikeouts for the 6th time this season (last: 6/19 at HOU, 9)...allowed more ER (3) tonight than in his first 3 starts of the season vs. the Mariners (2 ER total prior to tonight)…broke a streak of 16.0 IP without run support when the Rangers scored in the 3rd inning….over last 20.0 IP, has received 2 runs in support…has thrown 100+ pitches in all 21 of his starts this season.
- In four starts against the Mariners this season, Lewis has recorded 27 strikeouts…set a career-high with 10 strikeouts against Seattle on 4/30 at Safeco Field.
- Jorge Cantu has recorded hits in 3 of his 4 games since coming over from Florida on 7/29…since trade, is hitting .300 (3x10).
- Josh Hamilton went 0x4 to break an 8-game hitting streak…hit .481 with 4 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 5 R and 6 BB during the streak.
- The Rangers have scored 5 runs over their last 3 games… 2nd time this season to score that few over a 3 game span (Last: 5 runs scored from 7/21 – 7/23 vs. DET, LAA)…The Rangers are 1-2 during the current span.
- The Mariners won tonight, breaking a 7-game losing streak (last win: 7/25 vs. BOS)…have won 3 straight at Safeco Field…won the first game of a series for the first time in last 9 series…3rd win in 11 tries against the Rangers this season.
- Starter Jason Vargas earned his 16th quality start of the season, including the 4 in his last 5 outings…was the 14th game this season that he’s allowed 2 ER or less, with 9 of those outings at Safeco Field…in 12 starts at home this season, Vargas is 6-2, 2.29 ER (20 ER, 72.2 IP)
- Vargas tied a season-high allowing 3 walks, all were surrendered to batters that led off the inning (1 scored).
- The Mariners broke a 23.0 inning scoreless streak when Franklin Gutierrez hit a sacrifice bunt to score Ichiro from
- 3rd base…the run broke the drought that lasted from the 7th inning on Friday at Minnesota until the 3rd inning tonight…streak was the 2nd longest scoreless streak of the season (27.0 innings, 7/19-7/21)
- Ichiro recorded his 43rd multi-hit game of the season (2nd in ML: M. Prado, 44)…two hits moved him past Dick Bartell for 183rd on the all-time hits list with 2,166…leads the Mariners in career average against the Rangers, hitting .329 (258x785) since 2001 (min. 50 AB).
- Chone Figgins singled 3 times to earn his 23rd multi-hit game of the season, which is 4th on the team…recorded 3 hits in a game for the 6th time this season…During the last 10 games is batting .375 (15x40) with 3 2B, HR, 3 RBI with 5 multi-hit games during the span.
- Gutierrez hit his team-leading 10th home run of the season in the 5th inning (last HR: 7/22 vs. BOS)…recorded his 10th multi-RBI game of the season, which is tied with Casey Kotchman for the team lead.
- Matt Tuiasosopo recorded his 3rd multi-hit game of the season, tallying a double in the 2nd inning and singling to left in 8th.