Mariners Insider Blog

Pitching, defense and a little Mariners offense

Bret Boone used to say when slumping that if he couldn't get a hit, he didn't want anyone else to, either - and would often play his best defense in such times.

Brendan Ryan is even more determined.

“Taking a hit away from someone is 10 times better than getting one,” Ryan said. “The way (Jason) Vargas was pitching, you just want to make every play behind him. He was great tonight.”

With Vargas pitching eight brilliant innings and the Seattle Mariners maxxing out their four hits, beating the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, sent the team out on a 10-game, four-city trip as winners.

Ichiro Suzuki hit another milestone, Kyle Seager picked up his 20th RBI, Michael Saunders delivered a pinch-hit double in the eigthth inning and John Jaso got him home with another clutch hit.

That was the entire Seattle offense.

Vargas, meanwhile, became the Mariners first four-game winner, holding Detroit to one run, then yielding in the ninth to Brandon League, who got his eighth save - with considerable help from Ryan at shortstop.

After a League walk, oufielder Brennan Boesch hit a line drive up the middle that Ryan gloved on his knees. When the ball trickled from his glove, he flipped to second base and Seager, who turned the pivot and got the double play.

"Brendan was unbelievable tonight," Seager said.

Prince Fielder wouldn't disagree - he lost two hits to Ryan and his glove.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Saunders pinch-hit for Casper Wells and doubled the other way, hitting a sharp ground ball just inside the third base line. Chone Figgins bunted him to third base to bring up Jaso.

Mr. Clutch?

“I wouldn’t say I thrive in that situation, but I’ve taught myself to do what I do,” Jaso said. “You take a nasty breaking ball, then a fastball on the black and you’re down 0-2., it can’t bother you.

 “I tell myself to stay focused, to wait for the pitch you want to swing at.”

As for Ichiro, his fourth inning single was his 2,467th - moving him to No. 100 on baseball's all-time list. He followed it with a stolen base that allowed him to score on Seager's double.

Now the Mariners hit the road for a 10-game, four-city swing through New York, Boston, Cleveland and Colorado.