The transition that Eric Wedge insisted would come may have begun - all those young Seattle Mariners hitters seem to be growing up.
“We’re not the same team today that we were when this trip began,” Wedge said.
Capping a tough nine-game stretch, the Mariners came from behind to beat the Los Angeles Angels on tonight, 8-6, winning the series and finishing their trip 5-4.
Can a team change in the span of nine games?
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“This trip was a big step for this club,” Wedge said. “We found ways to win games against some good teams, with everybody contributing. There were a lot of hard-fought games, and the guys stepped up again and again.”
Kyle Seager had two key hits, a single and double – both with two outs – to drive in four runs and now leads the team in RBI (36) and two-out RBI (22).
Michael Saunders had his second consecutive three-hit game and scored twice, and had five three-hit games on the trip. His batting average (.277) is now the highest on the team.
Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero each had a pair of hits and Mike Carp walked and had a two-run single.
When Hector Noesi, working on three days rest, couldn't get past the fourth ininng, the Mariners bullpen swung into action. Seattle went to Shawn Kelley for 1 1/3 innings, rookie Stephen Pryor for 1 2/3 innings, then Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen for one inning each.
The Angels didn't score against any of them. Kelley got the win, Wilhelmsen the save - his second in three games.
Now the Mariners come home, where they have played only 22 times all season. They haven't played particularly well, but Wedge insisted that will change, too.
“We haven’t hit as well at home but the truth is we haven’t been at home much this season,” Wedge said, and he had a point. On Seattle’s first 59 games, 37 have been played on the road.
“These kids will hit better at home than they have. They’ll take a day off (today), spend time with family, get away from the game and come back a bit refreshed Friday,” Wedge said.
“They’re a better team than they were when they left Seattle.”