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September 16, 2011 at 10:41 PM

UPDATED: Blake Beavan beats his hometown team with a four-hitter over eight innings

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Blake Beavan will be smiling tonight. OK, maybe not too much. Doesn’t want to look cocky, since that was his reputation in Texas before the Rangers dealt him to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade a year ago last July, but this had to feel good.
And he admitted after the game that it did.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, when asked if it was extra special. “I had people texting me today (from Texas) telling me not to beat up on them too bad. And I was like ‘I want to go out there and shut ’em down.”
And he did it calmly and efficiently, tossing eight shutout innings while allowing just four hits in a 4-0 win.
He was at 95 pitches through eight and I thought they’d let him finish. But Brandon League came in to get the final three outs.
Casper Wells had already hit his first home run in four weeks in the seventh off C.J. Wilson for some added cushion.
But Mariners manager Eric Wedge said afterwards he wasn’t taking any chances with the top of the Texas order due up in the ninth. Wedge said he would have left Beavan in there had the M’s scored some add-ons in the eighth.
Anyhow, this ties for the longest outing of Beavan’s career, the previous eight-inning effort coming back on Aug. 6. Once again, for the second start in a row, Beavan threw an abundance of curveballs and appears to have established it as a bit of a weapon.
Before, he’d been primarily a fastball-changeup guy. This changes the game a bit.
“It just helps me keep them off-balance more,” Beavan said. “I mean, you’re talking about a 75 mph pitch. Compared to a 90-to-93 mph pitch. When you’re looking at a big difference like that and you can command both pitches, it’s going to be a little tough for a guy to hit.”

As for the changeup, Beavan plans to use that more selectively going forward now that he has the curve to rely upon.
He said it’sd not a matter of developing confidence to use the curve. Just trusting it to do the work once he establishes that he can get it over for strikes in any given game.
You could see how off-balance the hitters were. All those grounders and popups.
The biggest grounder was by Elvis Andrus with two on and none out in the sixth on a sinking fastball inside. That became a double play and Josh Hamilton popped out after that to end the last Texas threat of the night. The only Texas threat of the night.
“I think he’s gained a great deal of confidence in that pitch,” Wedge said of the curveball. “Obviously, it’s a pitch he needs. It’s a better pitch for him. It’s a pitch that he can command both in and out of the zone now. When you can throw it and have the confidence to throw it whether you’re ahead in the count or behind in the count…it says a great deal about a starting pitcher.”



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