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August 15, 2011 at 11:06 PM

UPDATED: Late home runs propel Mariners to victory

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We’ll have my Talkin Baseball segment just after 8:20 a.m. PT on Tuesday on KJR AM 950’s Mitch in the Morning show. You may have missed Geoff Baker Live! (see replay below), but we ran down the list of the top three unsigned picks for the M’s heading into deadline day and looked at why the team had to get at least two of them done. A viewer asked me whether the M’s are hoping to boost Franklin Gutierrez’s trade value in August and September. Not as their primary goal, no. They’d like him to be their center fielder of the future. Someone asked about the report that Jason Vargas had cleared waivers, so I looked at what it realistically might mean. Mike Carp hit another two home runs. A viewer asked whether Carp could replace Justin Smoak as the first baseman going forward. Not a chance. Somebody else asked me whether Dustin Ackley can win Rookie of the Year. As good as he’s been, hasn’t played long enough. And finally, somebody asked me who I felt would be the highest-profile trade candidate on the Mariners this coming winter. My answer? Has to be Felix Hernandez. A deal might not get done, but the M’s will certainly get some intriguing offers they will at least have to look at.
On to the post…
Larry Stone was handling our in-game draft coverage tonight and has a detailed post up over at The Hot Stone League blog.
Lots of stuff happening late, the biggest being back-to-back solo home runs in the eighth inning by Mike Carp and Casper Wells.
The Mariners come back to win it 6-5, with Brandon League saving the first big-league win for Tom Wilhelmsen.
“It was so much fun,” Carp said. “It was back and forth all night. It was just one of those days you hope you can do over and over again.”

Carp now has six home runs and is batting .371 since his second go-around here began on July 19. As for Wells, he’s got four home runs his first five games at Safeco Field.
“It’s just confidence, knowing I’m going to be in there every day even if I go 0-for-4,” Carp said. “I have a chance to get out there and play instead of sitting around and wondering when I’m going to play again.”
Wells has now gone deep in three straight games. He’s got four homers since coming over from the Tigers on July 30.
“It was a lot of fun,” Wells said. “I’m sure it was fun from a fans’ perspective to watch that. We just kept battling. It never felt like we were out of it. We just kept feeding off each other, getting a lot of hits. Hitting is definitely contagious.”

Mariners manager Eric Wedge felt that starter Michael Pineda was “very erratic” for most of his five innings in which he yielded three homers and four walks. But Wedge said he doesn’t think it’s a matter of fatigue setting in, noting that Pineda got an extra day of rest this time around and will get another before his next start.
“He’s still strong,” Wedge said. “The velocity is still there. It’s still coming out of his hand.”
Wedge was impressed again by the at-bats taken all night long by his hitters, not just the home run swings in the eighth. The Mariners saw Trayvon Robinson collect his first three-hit night in the majors. driving home Wells in a three-run second inning.
“Our guys battled, never gave into it,” Wedge said. “It was a back-and-forth-game early and then tight throughout. Obviously Carp really stepped up for us as did Wells there late, but I felt we had good at-bats throughout.”
One more note, as a result of tonight’s Danny Hultzen signing, Chris Ray has been released by the team to make room on the 40-man roster. Yes, Ray was on the DL. But this isn’t the NFL. Contracts are guaranteed in baseball, so guys who are on the DL get released all the time.



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