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August 22, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Wrapping up Mariners’ 3-2 win over Cleveland

(Miguel Olivo scores the winning run, just beating Lou Marson’s tag. Photo by Associated Press).
Here is my game story from the paper. Here is the sad, sordid tale of the Mariners’ losing streak while I’ve been covering them on the road this year; like Mike Carp’s hitting streak, it came to an end tonight.
I’m going to take the easy way out tonight, because I got up at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight from Tampa to Chicago, then on to Cleveland. Bottom line, I’m fried, and there’s a doubleheader tomorrow. So here are some of the quotes from tonight’s post-game:
On Olivo tagging: You know what? We’ve got to do it. That’s the ballgame right there. I mean, for the most part, give ourselves a lead. He was aggressive, it was a good straight-on hard slide, and he got in there.
I can’t say enough about Gutierrez’s at-bat. A tough AB, and he hung in there and stuck in there, and was able to get the ball the outfield.
There were a lot of good things late in the ballgame. We continue to swing the bats better and take better Abs. Vargas was really good, came back strong today for us. It was nice to see the kid pitch the eighth, and Leaguer didn’t give into the fight there. Hell of a ballgame.
On Gutierrez’s at-bat: He didn’t give into it. He stuck in there, fought through the at-bat, and was able to get the sacrifice fly. I think it’s indicative of our at-bats. It’s been going on for awhile. These guys are starting to figure it out. It’s good to see the way they’re fighting through at-bats, and the way they’re making pitchers work.
On Ryan’s errors: Tough balls, though. Balls that were hit hard and not right at him. He’s moving around great. Just to cut off the first two balls. It looked like the last one (in the ninth) didn’t come up on him. Stayed down. He just yanked the throws a little bit. Carpy did a great job trying to stay on the bag. He (Ryan) hadn’t been out there for a while. As the baseball gods would have it, he had about 10 balls come his way, and he hadn’t played in two weeks. He’s a hell of a shortstop, and you have to love the way he moves around out there.
On Carp’s 20-game hitting streak: It’s a model of consistency, and even today, he wasn’t giving away at-bats. He’s fighting through at-bats, but that’s big-league pitching. He wasn’t making it easy for them. He was up there doing the same thing he’s been doing; he just didn’t have anything to show for it. Anytime you have a hitting streak of what, 20 games, it’s a level of consistency in hitting the ball hard you just don’t see very often.
On Ichiro’s leadoff home run: It was great to get us going. Any time he provides that type of energy to lead off a ballgame or any point in time, you love it. You feel it in the dugout, you set the tone early. You love to see that.
On Vargas’s second inning: He didn’t give into to it. He controlled the damage and got us deep in the ballgame. They were coming around to the middle of the lineup, and I wanted to give the kid, Ruffin, a chance to pitch in that situation. We talked about this with our young kids in the bullpen, and he stepped up.
On getting seven innings from Vargas: It’s big. Obviously, whenever you’re talking about playing four games, or five games, in this period of time, you always have concerns about your bullpen. For to get us deep in the ballgame, that’s big for us heading into tomorrow.

Like I said, almost three weeks of getting a hit every day, it’s a pretty cool accomplishment. I had a lot of fun with it, I’ll start a new one tomorrow.
They did a great job of getting me up again (in the ninth). Ackley got a big walk there. I wanted to get the big hit, bases loaded. Unfortunately, I struck out. It happens. It’s baseball. You’re not supposed to get a hit every day.
I battled, and got a couple of pitches to hit. I just fouled them off. I didn’t do what I wanted to do with the bat today, but tomorrow, different story.
On the On-base streak, still alive at 30: That’s a good one, too. I’ll take that one, too.
On the win: We had a couple of rough ones in Tampa, and it’s nice put them away. They’re in contention, they’re playing hard. They’re bringing all their guys at us, and we shut them down. It’s nice.
On the outing: It was pretty good. I felt like I had control of the ball and was getting ahead and didn’t walk anybody, so that helps
I felt good. I’ve been feeling good lately. It’s just tonight I was able to command the strike zone and get ahead early. I kind of changed the game plan and threw a lot more fastballs. I just got after them and made ’em work for it.
On why he changed the game plan: It’s just one of those things. A lot of teams have been looking to see me out over the plate and it’s just one of those things we changed tonight and went right after them.
On the 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded by Michael Brantley: That saved us a run. I’m glad I didn’t turn and throw it to second. That was a big one. That’s always your instinct on a comebacker when there’s a double play in order. But I think the bigger play was Trayvon keeping Asdrubal to a single that inning and keeping that double play in order. The defense was good tonight.
On going seven: It’s always important to go deep, regardless of what’s going on tomorrow. Tomorrow is tomorrow. My goal is to go out there every time and finish the game. I was pretty pleased the way I was throwing the ball.”
With one out in a tie game in that situation, and with Brandon League in the bullpen to close the game, you ned to go and go 100 percent and try to make it to home plate.
“I knew the center fielder would make a good throw. I saw the ball coming. I saw the home plate and I was going to try to run him over, but if I did, I might be out. I’m glad I slid.
I looked at his hands to see what he called because I knew he tagged me in the chest, but he made a good call. I knew my feet were touching home plate and then he came down and touched my chest. So I know I’m safe and I’m glad he made a good call.
On Vargas: We changed the way he pitched. We went more with the fastball because they’ve been hitting the change and the cutter. That’s a good thing. We started with the fastball because we’ve been watching film, and me and Bard talked to him and said we should go more with the fastball and less changeup and see what happened. It worked. I know next time we’ll need to throw more changeups.
On his hand after getting hit with a Chris Perez pitch in the ninth: It’s fine. It hit me in the knuckle. I saw that ball right at my face and thought it was going to break my nose. So I’m glad I moved quick and it hit my hand.”
I wasn’t thinking anything. I was just trying to make contact if it was a good pitch. He was kind of wild and I was trying to get that run in. So that’s what happened. Good for Olivo to hustle in that run.
I knew Carrera has a decent arm, but I was trusting in Olivo. He had to score that run to win the game and he did. He can run a little bit. I’m happy we won the game today.
On his first major-league win: It feels pretty good. It’s a great thing to be part of and have go on your record. I love being in pressure situations and being a go-to guy. So to be in a tie ballgame in the late innings is part of it.
On fitting in with his new team: It’s been a pretty smooth transition because everybody in the clubhouse has been great. Every day it just gets that much easier.
On memorabilia from the first win: I got two game tickets. That’s it that I know of. Maybe they’ll give me a ball or something.
On maintaining his closers mentality: Absolutely. Especially when you’ve got a guy like Brandon League behind you. You know if you can get the ball to him, then the game’s pretty locked down. So if I can get that one inning without any runs and get it to him, then that’s a save for me.



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