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April 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM

Mariners win!! Mariners win!!

Those that came were initially part of dubious history — the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history at just 13,056.
And those that stayed ultimately saw a little bit of happier history as the Mariners rallied from a 7-0 deficit to pull off one of their greatest comebacks ever and beat Toronto 8-7 on Luis Rodiguez’ two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. That’s Rodriguez, above, being mobbed by teammates in a Jim Bates photo after his hit that helped Seattle snap a seven-game losing streak.
It’s only the fifth time Seattle has rallied from seven or more runs to win — the greatest comeback in club history was eight runs against the Angels in April 1996.
The last time they had rallied from seven down was against Texas on July 3, 1999.
“That was a pretty good win right there,” said a happy Felix Hernandez, who for once couldn’t sue for non-support. His worst outing in a while — giving up seven runs on 12 hits — was wiped away, a sure loss turned into a no-decision.
Hernandez, by the way, said there’s nothing wrong, just a bad game — said he was leaving everything up in the zone — and that he’s not frustrated, noting that he’s got 31 more starts to go.
Mariner manager Eric Wedge, meanwhile, said the victory indeed showed that this team has a different character than a year ago.
He noted that the Mariners continued to get good at-bats even after falling behind, working 11 walks — the first time Seattle has had 10 or more since June 24, 2004.
“Regardless of the type of game we are in, they play all the way through and this is what happens,” Wedge said. “These guys did it. They are the ones that are out there living it and learning and they pull for each other and they are out there fighting through it and that’s what you have to do.
“Obviously you get off to a rough start like this win-loss wise, it’s not a true indicator of the way these guys are competing. Ultimately when you do keep pushing like that good things will happen.”
Indeed, you have to give the Mariners that credit on this night that despite hitting just .225 for the season, they forced Toronto’s pitchers to work on almost every at-bat — and that ultimately proved too much for the Jays.
Blue Jays’ manager Jon Farrell said his bullpen has been showing good command and that “this was unforseen, for sure.”
He said the game turned in that eighth, when the Mariners drew three bases-loaded walks.
“Every time a pitch doesn’t go where you want it with the bases loaded, the strike zone seems to shrink on a guy,” he said. “Even in the ninth inning we took our chances against a guy hitting .091 versus a guy who is a perennial All-Star (alluding to the walk to Ichiro before Rodriguez came up) and we’d do it again.”
The heroes proved many for the Mariners: Michael Saunders going 2-4 with hits in each of the last two innings, and the leadoff double in the ninth; Justin Smoak going 2-3 with two walks; Milton Bradley with a solo HR and a bases-loaded walk in the eighth; Ichiro, 2-4 with two walks and the game-winning run; and the bullpen with three scoreless innings, including Josh Lueke getting his first win.
Then there was Rodriguez, fouling off five pitches with two strikes before finally finding one to his liking.
He said simply enough his goal was to “get a hit. That was a big situation for our team. This win is pretty great for us.”
He said he was looking for changeups and sliders from Shawn Camp, and finally got a changeup he was able to square up.
“This is big,” he said. “Big for me in my first year on the team.”
Seattle is still just 3-7 on the season and the win may prove to simply be brief highlight in another lost year. But for tonight, it’ll do.
— Here’s what Wedge had to say about Hernandez’ night: “They swung the bats well against him. They are a good hitting team. He left a few pitches up. But he’s such a great competitor, he was still able to run us through. Even when it wasn’t one of his best days he still gets us through six innings and allows us to go to the bullpen a little bit later and keep the game intact and ultimately that was one of the separators for us.”
— Rodriguez was in the game after Figgins left with a bruised left thumb. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day. Figgins said he initially hurt it on the hard shot in the second inning by Jayson Nix that scored Toronto’s first run. He said he aggravated it further in the third diving back to the bag and when he couldn’t bend it the way he needed to in his glove he pulled himself out.



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