OAKLAND, Calif. -- No words needed to be spoken for Jarrod Washburn and his manager to see eye to eye.
Washburn was two outs away from completing the game of his life Wednesday night when Mariners manager Mike Hargrove strolled to the mound. The Mariners led 2-0, but the Oakland Athletics had a runner on first with slugger Eric Chavez due up. Hargrove looked into his pitcher's eyes for a message.
It was quickly received.
"I saw a guy that probably would have ripped my throat out had I taken him out of the game," said Hargrove, who had watched the previous hitter tag a deep fly ball to left that briefly lifted the fans from their seats. "But that's OK. That's what I was looking for."
Just in case, Washburn threw in a few words to make sure his boss was clear.
"I don't remember exactly how it went," the left-hander said with a grin. "But he said something like, 'I'm going to let you face Chavez.' And I said, 'You're right. You are.' "
The latter grounded into a double play to cap the first complete-game, three-hit shutout of Washburn's career. His roller to second baseman Jose Lopez was as soft as most of the other pop-ups and choppers Washburn induced all night, giving his team its second straight victory and the first Seattle win here since Sept. 6, 2005.
Mariners at Oakland, 12:35 p.m., no TV/KOMO (1000 AM)
Pitchers: M's Miguel Batista (1-2, 8.83) vs. Joe Kennedy (0-2, 3.18)
A crowd of 19,674 fans at McAfee Coliseum sat stunned as a second-inning home run by Jose Guillen off A's starter Joe Blanton held up. Some headed for the exits in the eighth inning, after Kenji Johjima deposited Blanton's second mistake of the night beyond the fence in left field.
The way Washburn and Blanton were throwing, no one dared seek an exit earlier. Forget a trip to the concession stands, or a telephone call to the babysitter.
Considering it took less than 90 minutes to play seven innings, even designated hitter Jose Vidro heading to the clubhouse to warm up between at-bats was a risk. By the time Chavez grounded into the 4-6-3 double play, with a questionable call by first-base umpire Jim Wolf speeding up the process, the entire game had taken just 1 hour, 47 minutes.
Seattle hasn't played a game that quickly in two years, since Mark Buehrle and the White Sox defeated Ryan Franklin in 1:39 in Chicago. That game didn't require a bottom of the ninth, and Wednesday's recorded an identical time through the top of the ninth.
Washburn pumped his fist in triumph as teammates swarmed from the dugout to congratulate him.
"I was pretty excited," he said of the game-ending double play. "A little bit of surprise was in there, too. I think the call went our way there. But it's good to have some breaks go your way."
The Mariners received an even bigger double play with two on and one out in the fourth inning. Adrian Beltre snagged a Mike Piazza chopper, stepped on third and threw to first to get Washburn out of his last serious jam.
"I'm a contact pitcher," Washburn said. "I don't strike out guys. I rely on my defense, which played exceptionally behind me tonight. Sometimes the hits fall in, and sometimes we can make a play on them."
The plays were made by both sides.
"When it's 1-0 or 2-0, you've got to be ready to catch every ball," said Mariners second baseman Lopez, who started the final double play. "It's a situation where you have to make double plays when you can."
Blanton induced an inning-ending double-play grounder from Richie Sexson with two on in the fourth. He also struck out six and allowed just six hits.
"We went through six innings in an hour," Hargrove said. "That's a tribute to the guys who were on the mound throwing strikes."
But unlike Washburn, Blanton made two critical mistakes: both hanging curveballs, first to Guillen and later to Johjima.
"It was a hanging curve right in the middle," said Guillen, who feuded with Washburn three years ago in Anaheim but helped him to his first win of the year. "I just got lucky. There were just those two [curves], the one he gave to Kenji and the one he gave to me."
Washburn also gave something to a team that desperately needed a pair of consecutive wins to ease the memories of the recent six-game losing streak.
"It's one of the best games I've ever pitched," said Washburn, who had gone nine innings twice previously in his career. "I wouldn't say it's the best stuff I've ever had or anything like that. I was by no means dominating. I was just able to make them mis-hit the ball."
And deliver a clear message to his manager.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners