The betting line on Blake Beavan starting against the Texas Rangers and Matt Harrison tonight was off the board, and the Seattle Mariners offense scored one run for him.
The stunner? One run was enough, and the Mariners beat the Rangers, 1-0, for their 72nd win of the season, their sixth 1-0 victory of 2012 and their 9th in 18 games against Texas.
“We finally found a way to beat (Harrison),” Michael Saunders deadpanned. “We didn’t let them score any runs.”
Saunders hit a second inning home run, his 17th, and Beavan shut the Rangers out for seven-plus innings. When he left, in the eighth, there were two men on base and no one out.
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“That was a big momentum game, back and forth,” Beavan said. “I relied on my defense and my bullpen – it’s pretty special when a teammate comes in to the eighth inning in a jam and does that job …”
Reliever Josh Kinney got Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Michael Young without allowing either base runner to advance, striking Kinsler and Young out.
“Every pitch, every play was big, because there was no margin for error,” Kinney said. “Blake was going for his 10th win, and he pitched a beautiful game. I went in and tried to be a bull dog.”
Closer Tom Wilhelmsen's ninth inning - against Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy - was almost an after thought, requiring five pitches for the right-hander to nail down his 28th save.
“Josh tagged the zone with his best stuff, and his best stuff was better than there best tonight,” Wilhelmsen said. “It’s a reminder, on any given day we can compete with the best teams in the league.
“That means something."
The defensive play of the game came in the fourth inning, with Cruz on first base, when Murphy doubled into the right field corner. Everyone at Safeco Field knew, with two outs, Texas was going to send Cruz.
“Casper (Wells) got to the ball as quick as anyone could and got the ball to me real quick with a good throw,” Seager said. “I heard guys yelling ‘Four! Four!’ so I knew there would be a play at the plate.”
There was. Seager whirled and threw to catcher Jesus Montero, who caught the ball and had to wait for Cruz to reach him.
“We made plays tonight. We got one run. Pitching won it and allowed us to win this series. Tomorrow, we’ll try to sweep it.”
"We’re playing for next year, too,” Saunders said. “We’d like to send a message.”