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September 26, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Mariners 6, Rays 2: Josh Wilson flashes some rare power to prevent Tampa Bay sweep

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They’ll have to postpone that playoff celebration by the Rays for at least one day after a Josh Wilson homer in the sixth inning propelled Seattle to a 6-2 win. The Mariners flashed some bullpen muscle the final four innings, with Jamey Wright getting Luke French out of a jam in the sixth, then pitching through the seventh, Dan Cortes striking out the side in the eighth and Brandon League finishing off the ninth.
“I just had a feel this time, I wasn’t nervous,” Cortes said. “I went in with pretty good confidence.”
Cortes also received some advice from catcher Josh Bard.
“I guess I’m just in the zone right now,” Cortes said. “Bard came up to me and said ‘Just throw strikes’. He knew that if I could put the ball in his mitt, we’d be able to get these guys out.”
Supposedly, Cortes has already been teased by Felix Hernandez because none of his pitches has yet reached 100 mph. Cortes, of course, came here reputed as a guy who could throw 102 mph.
But the thing is, though he “only” topped out at 99 mph, his pitches were on-target and effective. He threw an 83 mph slider for a strike following a 98 mph fastball that was swung on and missed.
That’s just as effective as throwing 100 mph.
Had the Rays won and the Red Sox lost later tonight, Tampa Bay would have clinched the wild-card. Not today, though. Solid effort by Seattle’s bullpen. And a timely home run from Wilson, only his second all season.


Wilson’s mother and father had traveled down here from Pittsburgh to see their son play. He obliged them with his first homer since May 10 and his second this season.
Wilson said that avoiding 100 losses is something that matters to this team.
“That’s one of those numbers no team ever wants to get to,” he said. “In some ways, there’s obviously still something to play for in my mind.”
Wilson added; “Even if it’s 99 (losses), it’s like the guy who hits .299 versus .300. It just looks better.”
The Mariners did catch a bit of a break for their upcoming series in Texas, The Rangers clinched last night and will likely rest a number of regulars for the series.
C.J. Wilson gets the start for Texas tomorrow, followed by Scott Feldman on Tuesday. Wednesday’s starter has yet to be announced.
Justin Smoak makes his return to Arlington for the first time since his trade from the Rangers. Smoak looked better today, contributing a pair of hits after manager Daren Brown gave him a mental break yesterday.
Matt Mangini also came through with a clutch RBI single in the seventh that made it a 6-2 game. That’s four hits by Mangini since he was called up.
The Mariners are quite the lookers as they leave for Texas on their chartered plane. They’re doing the rookie hazing today — good to do that after a win — so a number of players are wearing Hooter’s outfits and other tight-fitting women’s clothing.

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