Quick note: I accidentally posted the postgame blog to the Huskies Insider ... yes, things were a little hectic last night. Thanks BBNate for having a good sense of humor about it.
Well, that wasn't dull.
For a while it seemed as though the Mariners were going to lose this game, despite getting a rejuvenated performance from Ichiro, nine runs and 13 hits in the first nine innings and a three-run homer from Brendan Ryan of all people.
But the late inning relievers cleaned up the mess left by Erasmo Ramirez and Hisashi Iwakuma and the offense came late to get the win.
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First of all, congrats to Ichiro. His first-inning flare to left was the 2,500th hundred of his big league career. He reached 2,500 hits in just 1,817 games. He’s the fourth fastest to reach that milestone behind Al Simmons (1,784), Ty Cobb (1,790) and George Sisler (1,808).
It was the first of four hits tonight. He had two doubles and two runs scored and two RBI. His RBI double in the top of the 10th gave the Mariners some added cushion.
Maybe the day off helped. Wedge talks about in the video.
This quote is the kicker: "It's just something he has to understand that it's not a bad thing to get a day off every once in a while.
The Mariners couldn't have executed the top of the 10th much better. Justin Smoak, who had homered earlier in the game, didn't give in to D'Backs closer JJ Putz, drawing a walk to start the inning. Smoak showed pretty good patience to lay off of a few borderline pitches.
Wedge replaced Smoak with the happy little baseball elf that is Munenori Kawasaki. As a pinch runner, Kawasaki's antics at first - big leads, fakes like he might go - clearly bothered Putz, who threw over to first several times and got out of his rhythm. Putz then left a pitch up to Dustin Ackley, who hit the ball sharply up the middle. Ackley had two hits tonight and looked much more comfortable.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson signaled - not fist pumped - for the bullpen and brought in ultra-side armer Brad Ziegler.
Brendan Ryan delivered a perfect sac bunt to move the runners over. Wedge called on pinch hitter Casper Wells, who ripped a line drive into right-center passed the drawn-in infield to score both runners.
“I was trying to pick the ball up from where he released from, which is basically the dirt,” Wells said. “And I just tried to hit the ball as a hard as I could. I was looking for a pitch I could handle.”
Here's some audio of Wells talking about pinch hitting . [HTML2]
On a night where no pitchers seemed to get big outs, Seattle’s late-inning relievers were solid.
Brandon League pitched a scoreless seventh inning, Charlie Furbush (3-1) threw the eighth and ninth innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced to get the win. And Tom Wilhelmson was perfect in the ninth to get his fifth save.
The late inning heroics overshadowed some mediocre pitching performances early from both teams – starting with both starting pitchers – Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez and Arizona’s Daniel Hudson.
Both were mediocre to awful.
Hisashi Iwakuma, who replaced Ramirez, was worse.
Ramirez lasted just four innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits, including a pair of home runs.
Iwakuma failed to make it out of the fifth inning, blowing a three-run lead, giving up a homer to Goldschmidt and RBI singles to pinch hitter Lyle Overbay and Bloomquist, and leaving reliever Shawn Kelley with a bases loaded two-out mess and Justin Upton at the plate.
Kelley gave the Mariners one of their better pitching performances of the night, falling behind on Upton 3-1 and battling back and striking him out with a nasty slider to keep the game tied at 8-8.
Brandon League pitched a scoreless seventh inning, Charlie Furbush (3-1) threw the eighth and ninth innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced to get the win. And Tom Wilhelmson was perfect in the tenth to get his fifth save.