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With Jesus, Jaso -- and Octavio -- on their side, the Mariners refuse to lose
Refuse to lose?
Isn't that the Mariners' old motto from 1995?
On Monday at Safeco Field, I witnessed a variation of that theme, via the extremely wild Detroit pitcher Octavio Dotel:
Refuse to throw a strike.
With the Tigers leading the Mariners 2-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, led by an extraordinary effort from former Mariners pitcher Doug Fister (seven shutout innings fresh off the disabled list), it appeared to be one of those games for Seattle.
But Dotel threw only four strikes in 15 pitches, walked Brendan Ryan and Ichiro to begin the inning, moved them over with a wild pitch, then threw wild again (it was ruled a passed ball) to allow Ryan to score. Jesus Montero tied the game with a double off the left-center field wall. Dotel exited with his head down, but at least he won't have to pay for a meal in Seattle the next two days.
After a Kyle Seager sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Munenori Kawasaki to third base, John Jaso won the game by hitting a sacrifice fly. Give Kawasaki credit for some swift and aggressive baserunning as he slid home just ahead of the tag.
It was one of those anything-is-possible nights at the yard. And it was much needed.
It's not that the Mariners have been awful this season. Their 14-17 record is about where you should've expected them to be. They've been more streaky than anything, and though losing streaks such as their recent seven-game skid are ugly to watch, streaky is progress over Milton-Bradley-is-our-starting-left-fielder woeful.
So, give the Mariners credit for their pluckiness. The bullpen, pressed into action early after Blake Beavan took a line drive to his pitching elbow, allowed just one run over six innings. After exhibiting extreme impatience at the plate all night while trying to jump on Fister, who is always around the strike zone, the Mariners hitters were patient enough to accept Dotel's gift. Then, Montero and Jaso made solid contact to secure the victory.
And, oh, can I emphasize Seager's sac bunt again? I have to say something good about him in order to plug my column in tomorrow's paper, which is all about the ever-improving young third baseman.
Click here to read it.
We'll talk more about Seager and other things in the morning.