The game itself was nowhere near as lopsided as the final score. It was still 4-1 in the seventh before the Tampa Bay Rays scored five times their final two turns at-bat off Seattle’s bullpen.
The story of the game was, of course, Doug Fister giving up four first inning runs on a homer, two doubles, a single and a sac fly. He gave up just an infield hit the final five scoreless innings he pitched.
But with this offense, it was far too late by then.
“I was going to attack them with fastballs, keep it down and make the defense work,” Fister said. “But then, when I saw a couple of their hitters getting aggressive early in the count, I started to mix things up. It’s a little too late by that point, but that’s what I did.”
The offense didn’t do Fister any favors. Seattle failed to do anything with two on and one out against Matt Garza in the first, nor after a one out double from Mike Carp in the fifth.
Carp strained the arch in his right foot on the play and left the game.
“I just felt something pull in my arch as I was rounding first,” he said. “I feel fine right now.”
Carp has never had that happen before, so they’re going to see how he feels tomorrow.
“I’m just a little upset,” he said. “I make my debut in the outfield and I don’t even last five innings.”
Matt Mangini kicked in two more singles, including one to lead off the seventh in a game that was still 4-1.
But then he got doubled off the bag on that “tweener” line drive by Greg Halman.
“I know it was a bad baserunning mistake,” Mangini said. “I can’t remember the last time I did that during a game.”
Mariners manager Daren Brown and Mangini were both on the same page afterwards. They know he has to head back to first base and only advance if the line drive gets through for a hit. That’s because if the second baseman let the ball drop, he’d have been an easy force out in any event.
“It’s a mistake,” Brown said. “We talk about it, we address it and we move on.”
Brown was more pleased with the work by Fister after the first inning.
“I thought he went to a few more off-speed pitches early in the count, then used his fastball later in the count,” Brown said. “It was a quick adjustment on his part and he was able to make it.”
But Fister said it came too late. It’s a learning experience for him, one of several he’s had this season.
Personally, I think the four-run outburt happened so fast that he barely had time to think. But that’s just me. If Fister thinks there’s room for improvement, good for him. We’ll see what happens the next time.