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July 12, 2007 at 9:56 PM

M’s take a 3-2 thriller; hear audio clips

Make it a 3-2 win for the Mariners over the Detroit Tigers, with J.J. Putz holding on in the ninth despite a one-out double by Marcus Thames. Putz then had to face the ever-dangerous Gary Sheffield and MVP candidate Magglio Ordonez.
Putz got Sheffield to pop out to right. With the crowd on its feet, he then landed a first-pitch strike on Ordonez, then another to jump ahead 1-2. Ordonez fouled off the next pitch, then another as the tension mounted. Putz then got him to swing and miss, the crowd erupted and the M’s had a fourth straight win.
“They’re pretty tough,” Putz said of the Tigers he faced that inning. “I just had to make some good pitches, get them to swing at something out of the zone.”
Putz tied good buddy Eddie Guardado’s team record for 27 consecutive saves. He also shook off that shaky performance in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
“That was one of the greatest things I’ve ever been a part of,” Putz said of Tuesday’s festivites and game. “The outcome may not have been as good as I would have liked, but it was a great experience.”
Hear all that Putz had to say in this audio clip.
The M’s are now 39-2 when leading after the sixth inning.
Seattle beats the defending AL champions in a game that saw the M’s notch only six hits. But a contender has to sometimes win games like these.
Give an assist to second base umpire Bruce Froemming for his botched call on the mad dash by Adrian Beltre in the fifth that led to the go-ahead Seattle run scoring. Once he made it to second base without getting called out on the numerous tag attempts by Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen, Beltre — who had overshot the bag on his slide — had no choice but to head to third.
“There was no way I could come back to second because he (Guillen) was just standing right there,” Beltre said after his team’s fourth consecutive win. “I was trying to get my way around. But I turned around and my only way was to third, so I took off.”
Guillen was stunned that Beltre wasn’t called out. He felt he tagged him at least once.
“It felt like twice,” Guillen said. “I don’t know. He made the call.”
Froemming was having none of it, telling a pool reporter: “They don’t get him and now they come out to argue that they got him. But they don’t know if they got him or not.”
The television replays sure seemed to show a tag or two. Froemming later called Beltre out on appeal, ruling he’d never touched second. But the replays again seemed to disagree, as did Beltre.
“He said that I never touched the bag, which I did,” Beltre said. “He (Guillen) might have tagged me, I don’t know. It was weird because I was trying to swing away from him. I don’t know if he tagged me.”
Hear Beltre describe his mad dash and the rest of one of the wackiest plays in baseball this year.
Felix Hernandez did his part to get Seattle there, holding firm at just the two runs allowed despite giving up 10 hits. That fourth inning, when he got out of a jam with runners at the corners and none out, was huge.
“I was telling myself, that guy’s not going to score,” Hernandez said. “I know those guys are going to score some runs. I was just trying to keep us in the game.”
Hernandez didn’t have his two-seam fastball at all tonight. He struggled the first four innings to find his rhythm. But he got his team into the seventh with the lead and the bullpen took care of the rest.
Hear what Hernandez had to say afterwards on this clip.
Mariners manager John McLaren said he was pleased with how Hernandez kept Seattle in the game. And with Beltre’s persistence in continuing to run on the fifth inning play.
“Beltre did a little dodge dance out there,” McLaren said. “He was going in, out and around. I saw Bruce (Froemming) signal (safe) two or three times with his hands. So, I felt confident the run was going to score.
“It was a funny play,” he added. “You don’t see that play every day. But fortunately, Beltre got the great big hit for us. He kept it alive for us to score and it was the big play of the game.”
Hear his post-game audio session with reporters.
These are the games that true contenders find a way to win. There was much for the M’s to be pleased with, on a night they didn’t bring their A game.



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