Jarrod Washburn became the first Mariners pitcher to toss a one-hitter in Safeco Field since it opened in 1999. Notice Mariners pitcher is in italics. The first pitcher to throw a one-hitter at a Safeco was another little lefty - Ted Lilly, who tossed a one-hitter against the M's on April 27th, 2002. Only Lilly lost that game 1-0.
Washburn didn't lose the game. He got plenty of run support. Really all he needed was Russell Branyan's moonshot to left-center in the first inning, which manager Don Wakamatsu said was key.
"Offensively, a big, big thing tonight was Russell putting on the board early," Wakamatsu said. "That sets the tone, a big home run like that."
The Mariners tacked on five more with Ichiro picking up a big two-out RBI single and Chris Woodward delivering a big two-run double after Orioles manager Dave Trembley walked Rob Johnson of all people to load the bases.
Washburn did the rest, tossing nine innings and allowing just one hit, while striking out three and throwing just 110 pitches
"In this game, things can go south in a hurry," he said. "I knew early on I had good stuff and good command and I was just concentrating on keeping it that way.
"Rob called a great game. I think I only shook him off five or six times the whole game. We were in a great rhythm there. Everything worked tonight."
"Fastball that was it," he said. "We threw one change-up the whole game. The four seam and two seam were working great, both sides of the plate I was commanding them with the fastball."
Any bets if Johnson is going to catch Washburn's next start?
Washburn was perfect through three and gave up his only hit and baserunner with two outs in the fourth when Nick Markakis dropped a soft single to left on a 2-2 pitch.
"It was a sinker in, and it was actually a pretty good pitch," said catcher Rob Johnson. "He left that one up just a little bit. He didn't barrel it up, and got jammed a little bit. But it's part of the game."
Ryan Langerhans, who was playing left field, took a bit of ribbing for teammates for not getting to the ball, but it landed about 15 feet from him.
"With two strikes I moved a couple steps closer to the line," he said. "I always do that with two strikes. Maybe if I don't, I have a chance at it."
I doubt it. But I haven't gone back and looked at replays again. Still, it was the fourth inning, the Mariners were only leading 1-0, it's not like you want Langerhans to dive for that ball and have the possibility of extra bases. It's not as if you worry about saving a perfect game or no-hitter that early in the game.
After the Markakis hit, Washburn never gave up another hit or a baserunner, and looking at my scorebook, I don't remember a ball being hit particularly hard after that. The at-bat before Markakis, Adam Jones hit a bullet that Branyan speared.
There probably could have been another hit in the seventh. Jones, who showed like he might drag bunt to start his at-bat (a sure sign that Washburn was dealing), hit a busted bat roller to Chris Woodward. And while nobody will ever confuse Woodward with Beltre defensively, he did make a Beltre-type play, barehanding the ball and firing off-balance to first to get Jones. It's one of the better plays I've seen live all year.
But the night belonged to Washburn.
"I don't know if you can throw a better game than that," Wakamatsu said.
"He pitched one of the best games in Major League baseball all season," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "I give the guy credit. He was on his game and certainly pitched a gem."
To be fair Washburn has pitched well all season, maybe not this good, but better than he's been in a while.
"I think he's pitching as good as I've ever seen him," Wakamatsu said. "Even back in the World Series in 2002, I thought he tried to power past guys, but he pitches now. He has more command of certain pitches. You see a lot of lefthanders as they get a little older, they get a little more crafty, but he still has good velocity on his fastball, and he's startingt to understand to maybe soften it a little, use his sinker, use his breaking ball to pitch."
Washburn credits a mechanical change in spring training at the urging of pitching coach Rick Adair and bullpen coach John Wetteland that also made the difference.
"This year is the best stuff I've ever had," he said. "I've always had a two seam fastball but it never sunk before. The mechanical adjustemnt I made in spring training with the help of Rick and Wette has paid off. My two seamer sinks and I'm getting out a little farther on the ball. It helps my breaking ball too. That's what I owe it all too is that mechanical adjustment."
Washburn also had a little incentive since his dad, Mike, was in town tonight to watch the game.
Washburn said his parents have only seen him pitch in person twice this season – once in Minnesota, where he threw eight shutout innings and Monday's game. And Washburn showed he isn't above superstition.
"He's here till the all-star break,"Washburn said of his dad. "If I throw another shutout against Texas on Saturday, I might have to make him do some traveling."
Also one thing that's important to remember about Washburn's start. Not only did it get the Mariners a win, but it gave the bullpen a much needed day off. We've talked about how many inning some of the relievers logged early in the season, and on this last road trip. Washburn gave them an extra night of rest.
"It's awfully important to give our bullpen a break," Wakamatsu said. "Any time we can get a performance like this it invests in our future down the road, where we can not tax the bullpen as much. Those are the signs you're looking for on a winning club."
Washburn is always cognizant of keeping the bullpen fresh, but he also knew that with Erik Bedard starting on Tuesday and on a limited pitch count, the bullpen was going to get some work.
"We got Bedard throwing tomorrow and he's not going to be able to go very deep in the game because he's been out for a while," Washburn said. "They're going to have to work tomorrow."
&bull Brad Bergesen had his 4-game winning streak snapped, and Baltimore lost his 2nd straight start after winning his previous 4 and 5 of his last 6...he tossed 6.0 innings for the 8th straight time...he remains winless in 6 starts on the road...in 3 starts against Seattle this year is 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA (5 ER, 21.0 IP).
&bull Nick Markakis had Baltimore's only hit. Markakis went 1x3 and is batting .321 (26x81) in his last 20 games.
&bull The Orioles were shut out for the 5th time this season and 2nd time on the road.
&bull The Orioles have lost 7 of their last 9 games and are 4-10 on the road and 6-17 overall against the AL West.
&bull Washburn's shut-out was the first 1-hitter (complete game) against Baltimore since August 2, 1995 by Toronto's Paul Menhart…was first time held to 1 hit since Sept. 1, 2007 at Boston.
&bull Jarrod Washburn tossed his first shutout at Safeco Field as a Mariner, and set a new career best by allowing just 1 hit in a complete game (previous: 3-2x; last: 4/25/07 at OAK)…Washburn allowed only a 4th inning single to Nick Markakis, recording his first complete game since July 7, 2008 @ OAK…first shutout since April 25, 2007 @ OAK.
&bull The 1-hitter was the fifth in Mariners history and the 1st by a Mariner in Safeco Field.
&bull Russell Branyan went 1x2 with 2 walks and belted his 21st home run of the season to give Seattle an early lead…Branyan is tied for 2nd in the American League and 8th in the Major Leagues in home runs.
&bull Franklin Gutierrez went 3x4 with a double, extending his hitting streak to a season high 9 games…during the streak he is batting .500 (19x38)…has now hit safely in 16 of last 17 games, batting .414 (29x70) with 4 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI.
&bull Ichiro Suzuki went 1x5 with an RBI single in the 5th inning. Ichiro has the highest batting average vs. Baltimore in history…currently batting .369 (127x344) with 65 runs scored, 13 doubles, 5 triples, 7 home runs, and 31 RBI in career vs. the Orioles.
&bull In his first home game as a Mariner, Ryan Langerhans went 1x3 with an RBI double, a run scored, and a sacrifice fly.
&bull Ken Griffey Jr. went 1x4 and has hit safely in 12 of last 17 home games (.340/17x50). Overall Griffey is batting .268 at home (22x82).