The longest series in franchise history ended tonight when the Seattle Mariners built a 7-0 lead against the Oakland Athletics, then needed Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon League to finish off an 8-7 win.
Felix Hernandez (1-0) got the win though didn't pitch particularly well.
“I was sharp early, and then they started jumping at the first pitch,” Felix said. “I didn’t adjust fast enough. It was a good game to win. It was nice getting eight runs.
“It wasn’t nice giving up six.”
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He won because Chone Figgins once again had a three-hit night to lead Seattle's 13-hit attack, one that included triples by Figgins and Ichiro and a solo home run by Michael Saunders for the Mariners eighth run.
After taking a 7-0 lead, the Mariners found themselves in an 8-7 contest after seven innings and, as manager Eric Wedge said, “Oakland switched the momentum on us."
Wilhelmsen put Oakland down in order in the eighth inning, and Brandon League did the same in the ninth, for his second save.
“Part of this job is staying absolutely prepared no matter what the score is,” League said. “When we were up 7-0 and Felix was pitching, I didn’t relax.
“Every pitcher has probably been caught with his pants down that way – either the other team comes back or your team does, and you’re not ready to pitch.
“I did it once. It’ll never happen again.”
In the end, the series that began March 28 in Tokyo ended with Seattle 3-1, carrying a 3.65 earned run average and an improbable .266 batting average - pumped up by 26 hits the past two nights.
Asked to some the night up, Felix tried.
“I was mad at myself tonight,” he said. “My fastball wasn’t up, it kept coming back to the middle of the plate. I know this, though – we look a lot better this year.”