The world awakened to a 3-7 Seattle Mariners team today, which somehow seems far better than 2-8 with an eight-game losing streak.
Eric Wedge talked about quality at-bats and players learning how to make outs count. Felix Hernandez talked about his never-say-die teammates. Luis Rodriguez talked as little as possible, a shy man thrust into the spotlight by a 10-pitch, game-winning at- bat with two outs in the ninth.
What no one has mentioned yet is the way in which the Mariners won their three games 10 games into 2011. On opening night - and the night after - the Oakland Athletics committed errors, handed out runs and all but gave away two games to Seattle.
On Monday in Safeco Field, the Blue Jays pitchers lost home plate at the most inappropriate times - walking 11 Mariners, three of them with the bases loaded.
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So, three freebies? Getting help in wins doesn't begin or end with the Mariners - most good teams take advantage of misakes, turning them into victories. Bad teams? They sometimes need more than one or two mistakes to win.
The Mariners pushed Toronto all night, putting men in scoring position long before they scored. Thus far this season, that's been one of their consistent strengths - putting men in scoring position. Scoring them, that's another matter.
In an 8-7 victory, for instance, the Mariners went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. That's one reason they needed those three bases-jammed walks to close the gap.
And in the ninth ininng with two outs and Michael Saunders at third base, the Blue Jays not only intentionally walked Ichiro - the potential winning run - they didn't attempt a throw on him when he stole second base to get into scoring position.
Bottom line? Seattle has had help in each of its three wins this season, and a pile of it Monday night. And still, if Saunders doesn't double, if L-Rod doesn't foul off six pitches before banging a ball up the alley in right center field, the Mariners lose.
Call the wins gifts if you like, but the Mariners had to do any number of things right to win. This is a team Wedge has working hard, and they'll eventually win games whether they get help or not. Just don't expect stoo many too soon.