Mariners starter Joe Saunders credits Indians for offensive outburst
Saunders felt he was “all around the plate” and had good enough command but couldn’t put hitters away when he needed to.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners starter Joe Saunders said he felt his command was better than it looked for most of his abbreviated outing.
Saunders gave up six runs on nine hits and walked three batters before being lifted after 42 / 3-innings in Wednesday’s loss to the Indians. The Mariners’ eight-game winning streak ended after a Saunders outing in which he couldn’t put hitters away when he needed to.
“I felt like they put some good swings on some good pitches,’’ he said. “I was trying to keep the team in there as long as I could. I was a little ticked that I came out. It was just one of those days. It wasn’t our day.’’
It was the fifth consecutive loss for his team in a game Saunders has started against the Indians.
Saunders said he felt like he was “all around the plate” and had good command. He appeared to get squeezed by some tight calls by umpire Lance Barrett, especially on a second-inning pitch to Michael Bourn that appeared to go right down the middle and was called for a ball that led to a walk.
But Saunders got out of that inning with a double-play grounder, then escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth. He got the first two outs in the fifth before allowing a single and a walk.
The Mariners pulled him in favor of Hector Noesi at that point. Noesi allowed a walk to loaded the bases, then surrendered a grand slam to Bourn after Barrett had called a tight 2-2 pitch a ball to send the count full.
“We just got flat-out outplayed, outpitched, outhit,’’ Saunders said.
Bats go quiet
The Mariners didn’t get a hit off opposing pitcher Scott Kazmir until a Justin Smoak single in the fifth. That was the only hit they’d manage off Kazmir the rest of his eight-inning stint. Seattle didn’t get a second one until a Kyle Seager single in the ninth off reliever Vinnie Pestano.
“That’s baseball, it’s going to happen,’’ Smoak said. “We’ve been on a good run here and you’ve got to tip your cap to Kazmir. He had great stuff and it is what it is.”
Sitting in superstitiously
Interim manager Robby Thompson said before the game he’s as superstitious as any ballplayer when it comes to doing things the same way during a streak. He even made sure he and radio broadcaster Rick Rizzs sat in the same chairs as they had the previous day during Wednesday’s pregame interview.
“Everybody that’s ever played this game or coached in this game... it’s a little crazy but we think it works, and we stick with it until it doesn’t work anymore,’’ Thompson said.
Erasmo Ramirez said some revamped mechanics helped him to better results in Tuesday night’s win than he’d experienced his first time out against Boston a couple of weeks ago. Ramirez said he’d been opening up too much from his left side in that outing, in which he allowed seven runs in four innings.
This time, he tightened up his delivery and saw better results with his two-seam fastball and slider, making it through 5 2 / 3 innings with three runs allowed. He also stopped throwing his curveball two innings in, once the Indians hit a double and a two-run homer off it.
“After that, no more curveballs,’’ he said.