The Seattle Mariners are winning games so fast they're in danger of turning a lost season into, well, something better than a lost season.
Two home runs by Michael Saunders, another by Eric Thames and the Mariners beat the Cleveland Indians, 5-3, tonight - their sixth consecutive victory.
That moved their record at Safeco Field to 31-30, their overall record to 59-64. The last time they were within five games of .500 was May 26, at 21-26.
“We’re not satisfied to have a nice run, get near or to .500,” Saunders said. “We want to be a winning team.”
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It wasn't easy. Saunders first home run brought the Mariners back from a 1-0 deficit, gave them a 2-1 lead. The Indians went back ahead, 3-2, and Thames tied it up in the sixth inning with a solo shot.
In the seventh, Saunders loosed his third home run in two games, his 13th of the season, and Seattle was ahead, 5-3.
Came the ninth inning, closer Tom Wilhelmsen loaded the bases with one out and got a quick visit from pitching coach Carl Willis.
“Tommy’s done such a wonderful job for us the past few months, he’s been unbelievable,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That’s not the way you draw it up, but he executed pitches when he had to.”
Wilhelmsen got out of it, and earned his 18th save, with a ground ball double play.
“This was just a dog fight all night,” Saunders said.
Left fielder Trayvon Robinson set the team record at his position with 10 putouts, several of them while giving up his body. Charlie Furbush got the win, his fifth, with two innings of shutout relief.
And the Mariners, sitting on a six-game winning streak, have Felix Hernandez pitching tonight.