UPDATED WITH POST-GAME QUOTES
Those of you who took the first eight innings off didn’t miss anything. The Mariners seemed dead in the water after managing just an Adrian Beltre solo homer off John Danks and seeing Brandon Morrow walk six guys and allow three runs — two earned — in a ho-hum afternoon contest in front of the second-smallest crowd all season.
But Danks left the game after eight innings and closer Bobby Jenks surrendered solo home runs to Jose Lopez and Bill Hall to tie things up.
It took five more innings from there, but Seattle finally pulled it out, 4-3, in the 14th inning when Ichiro singled to the gap in right center. That brought home Ryan Langerhans, who had singled with one out, then advanced to second when Kenji Johjima was hit by a pitch.
“The story for me is 8 1/3 shutout by the bullpen,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Thank God it’s September and we have some arms down there, but they did a phenomenal job.”
That they did, with Jason Vargas, Randy Messenger, Garrett Olson, Miguel Batista, David Aardsma, Mark Lowe and finally, Shawn Kelley, holding the White Sox off the scoreboard.
With a little help from catcher Adam Moore, who handled every one of those 14 innings.
“I was joking with Rob (Johnson) on the bench and told him I was feeling exhausted in about the fifth inning,” said Moore, often touted as the team’s catcher of the future. “Because finally, all of it (the jitters) started coming out of me.”
Moore eventually relaxed “in about the third or fourth inning. I started relaxing, knowing that it’s just a baseball game. Going out there and competing, getting the staff to throw strikes and work ahead in counts.”
We saw some outstanding defense as well tonight from young Matt Tuiasosopo at second base. He made that diving stop, ranging to his right for a ball that many seasoned major leaguers don’t make over there.
Tuiasosopo told me he’s gotten used to being back playing the middle infield after a month of doing it for Class AAA Tacoma.
“You have the double-play feed, and that’s the toughest part of the change,” said Tuiasosopo, who was drafted as a shortstop but had been primarily playing third base in the minors. “The groundballs, I have a little more time on but the big thing is the double-play feed and knowign what to do on cutoffs and throws from the outfield and stuff.”
Tuiasosopo had that leadoff double in the eighth as well. Don’t forget, his biggest test will be showing the M’s he can hit in the majors.
Wakamatsu said he liked some of the “stuff” he saw from Morrow, even though his command was seriously lacking at times.
“The story’s been the command, the walks,” Wakamatsu said. “If he eliminates some of those — two of those walks scored — and maybe he gives up only one run and gets deeper in the ballgame.
“Stuff-wise, I thought his stuff was good. It’s just the education of him learning how to pitch out there.”