Mariners capture 10-inning slugfest
Wells' two-run pinch single breaks tie in 10th inning
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners @ Arizona, 12:40 p.m., ROOT Sports
PHOENIX — Ichiro notching three hits his first three times up might have been a sign of the slugfest ahead for the Mariners.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, the sight of Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound and getting lit up by the fifth inning Tuesday night was an even better indicator that the Arizona Diamondbacks planned to match Seattle's offensive barrage. But the Mariners never gave up and by the time the desert dust cleared, they had pulled out a 12-9 victory in 10 innings with Ichiro having compiled a four-hit night.
Casper Wells came through with a two-run, pinch-hit single in the 10th off sidearming reliever Brad Ziegler to put the Mariners ahead for good. Ichiro added another run with his second double of the game to drive home Wells.
"I've been doing a lot of watching the games and trying to feel how the game is progressing and anticipating a situation where I might come in and hit," Wells said. "Sometimes, it doesn't work out that way and they're like 'Hey!' so you've got to go out there and grab a bat.
"I try to just anticipate and have the mindset that I'm going to get the job done when I get in there. That way, you don't get too amped up and you can stay relaxed in a situation like that."
Tom Wilhelmsen closed it out with three strikeouts in the bottom of the 10th, delivering a victory to Charlie Furbush, who worked two perfect innings of relief and fanned four.
A crowd of 21,568 at Chase Field saw Ichiro get career hit No. 2,500 on a flare that dropped into center field for a single on the third pitch of the game. Ichiro had two doubles, two singles, a sacrifice fly, two runs batted in and two scored one night after getting his second day off this season.
"I think there are two things that come to mind," Ichiro said, through interpreter Antony Suzuki, of reaching the 2,500-hit milestone. "There's that passion, that love to the game that kept me motivated until this day. And there is also the criticism that came along with that. That keeps burning in my heart and brought me to this day."
Ichiro had struggled with just a .282 on-base percentage coming into the game, leading to calls for him to sit. In the end, he said, he'll reflect on the 2,500 hits with a greater understanding of what it takes to get there than he would have had earlier in his career.
"I've broken many records over the past 12 years," he said. "But now, if you look at me when I first got here in 2001, if I'd said on my first day that my goal was to hit 2,500, people would have said I was crazy.
"But now, if you look back, things do come true."
By the time this game was done, each side had three homers — with Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager and Brendan Ryan going deep for Seattle and Gerardo Parra, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt doing the same for the Diamondbacks — while amassing 29 combined hits.
The Mariners had an early 2-0 lead after a Smoak home run in the second inning and then a Seager single that scored Ichiro in the third. But then, the roof began to cave in on starting pitchers Erasmo Ramirez of the Mariners and Arizona's Daniel Hudson.
First, the Diamondbacks scored three in the bottom of the third to take the lead, then made it 5-2 in the fourth on solo home runs by Parra and Hill. But the Mariners mounted a furious comeback in the fifth, scoring six times on a pair of three-run homers by Seager and Ryan off Hudson and reliever Craig Breslow, respectively.
But the Mariners and Iwakuma couldn't hold the 8-5 advantage beyond the next half-inning.
Iwakuma came on and yielded a one-out, solo homer to Goldschmidt. Montero and Parra added singles. With two out, Lyle Overbay and Willie Bloomquist hit run-scoring singles to tie the score.
Arizona re-took the lead in the sixth as Miguel Montero singled Lucas Luetge. It was the first earned run given up all season by the Rule 5 draft pick, who had tossed a club record 25 scoreless outings.
But Ryan drew a one-out walk in the eighth and then a single by pinch-hitter John Jaso put runners at the corners. Ichiro delivered a long fly ball for a sacrifice fly, tying it at 9.
Smoak opened the 10th with a walk against J.J. Putz, while Dustin Ackley singled. Ziegler entered from there and Ryan bunted both runners into scoring position. Wells put the Mariners ahead to stay.
"It was real fun to get the win," Ryan said. "But it seemed like more fun when you get that many guys involved."