(Franklin Gutierrez watches Bobby Abreu’s homer in the sixth inning, one of three off David Pauley in the inning. Photo by Associated Press)
After being a yawner for five innings, this one got pretty interesting in the latter stages. Franklin Gutierrez still couldn’t believe he was called out at second base in the ninth when he scrambled back to the bag on his double (originally ruled a two-base error on center fielder Peter Bourjos.)
“I don’t know what he was seeing,” Gutierrez said of umpire Jerry Meals. “I thought I was safe; he called me out. There’s nothing to say. I saw a replay. It was obvious.”
If Gutierrez had been safe, the Mariners would have had runners on second and third with no outs against Angels closer Fernando Rodney, with Michael Saunders coming to the plate as the potential tying run. Instead, they had Casey Kotchman at third, one out. He eventually scored on a wild pitch, but the M’s could get no more and lost 5-3.
Of course, I’m still trying to figure out why Gutierrez initially tried for third on the play with Kotchman running ahead of him. There’s no way the slow-footed Kotchman was going to score. More understandable was his other baserunning misadventure in the second, when he tried for a triple after banging a drive off the scoreboard in left. Bourjos threw him out at third. Mariners manager Daren Brown said he didn’t mind Gutierrez’s aggression on that play, considering there was one out in a scoreless game.
“Being on third base with one out is obviously a better scoring opportunity than being on second base with one out,” Brown said.
One highlight for the Mariners was Josh Wilson’s spectacular double play in the fifth — diving stop up the middle, and flip from his glove to Figgins. I expect to see that as a “Web Gem” on the highlights shows.
“Figgy was calling for the ball,” Wilson said. “I did what I could to get it to him as fast as I could.”
Wilson said that if he had transferred the ball to his right hand, not only would the runner heading for second, Erick Aybar, likely have been safe, but he would have had a chance to take out Figgins and risk not getting the batter, Jeff Mathis, at first.
Oh, the Mariners are now 11-28 versus the American League West.