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June 26, 2007 at 10:20 PM

M’s win 8-7; hear clubhouse audio

Games like this one are only really ugly when you lose. The Mariners won’t be happy with all the chances they squandered, the leads they blew and the gray hairs they added to Mike Hargrove’s head, but they prevailed. It was nasty at times. This 8-7 win by Seattle over the Boston Red Sox seemed to drag on for hours longer than its three-hour, 25-minute official time. Could have been all the walks, all the hit batsmen, all the mistakes in the field. But it also had hearts pounding in the stands, as the 35,045 at Safeco Field held their collective breaths with each pitch down the stretch.
A two-run homer by Richie Sexson, finally delivering the hits he’s paid for, in the sixth inning managed to stand up — but barely. Listen to Sexson talk about it here, in some clubhouse audio. (We’ve improved the sound a bit. The noise you hear early on, causing Sexson to laugh somewhat, is of his young son, being held in his arms as he speaks. The child is crunching very loudy on some Dorito chips).
“I wanted an opportunity to help out,” Sexson said. “I missed a couple of opportunities earlier in the game. The game didn’t start out how I wanted it to.”
It took another superb effort from the tandem of George Sherrill and J.J. Putz to seal the win. Sherrill fanned David Ortiz with runners at the corners and nobody out, while Putz recorded a five out save.
He fanned the first two in the ninth, then had to face pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez. Putz got ahead 0-2 and then electrified the crowd by striking him out as well. Here’s the audio of the interview we did with Putz after the game.
“It’s never a pleasant sight to look in the on-deck circle and see him just sitting there waiting for you,” Putz says of Ramirez. “I was able to get ahead of him and get him to chase some pitches. But yeah, it’s exciting.”
Sherrill admitted he made one mistake in the Ortiz at-bat. Listen to Sherrill explain everything right here.
“I just wanted to go in, get ahead of him and see if I could put him away,” said Sherrill, who had limited lefty hitters to a .116 batting average. “I didn’t want to leave anything over the plate where he could swing for the outfield and make it a one-run game.”
So, the Mariners have a surprise series victory here and can negate some of that shocking sweep in Houston 10 days ago by pulling off a surprise sweep of the Red Sox. Hargrove said he’d take it. Here’s the audio of his post-game press conference. I separated this clip of when an Associated Press reporter asked him whether Putz was better than Jose Mesa, his former closer with the Indians’ playoff teams of the 1990s. Hargrove voted for Putz.
These types of wins are what it’s going to take for the M’s. The only way to undo past underachievement is to overachieve a little right now. Seattle is keeping pace with the Cleveland Indians in the wild-card race, pulling back to eight games over .500. Losing the first two games of this series, as many might have expected the M’s to do, would see them five out in the wild-card hunt and fading towards obscurity. But they haven’t done that. These were big wins, surprising wins. And the M’s will need quite a few more these next 11 days to establish themselves as contenders heading into the second half.
It won’t be an easy task. But it’s gotten a little easier by winning these last two games. On nights when both starting pitchers failed to go at least six innings. This was not a good outing by Felix Hernandez tonight. But it doesn’t matter now because Sexson, Sherrill and Putz pulled things out. A welcome off-day awaits the team on Thursday. Ahead of that, there’s Daisuke Matsuzaka today and a chance for a sweep. What a chance that is. Keeping the Indians in sight and the other teams behind them in the wild-card standings should be the goal.



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