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May 7, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Great job by Mariners bullpen helps Seattle pull out dramatic 3-2 comeback win in ninth

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Not every day do you have a legitimate shot at a game in the ninth inning after your starting pitcher has been forced to leave after three frames.
But that’s what happened in tonight’s dramatic 3-2 win for the Mariners against the Detroit Tigers. The Mariners couldn’t buy any timely hits off Doug Fister, but Seattle’s own relief corps combined for just one run allowed over six innings to keep them within striking distance.
And strike they did in the ninth, with three runs off erratic closer Octavio Dotel for the win. Dotel walked Brendan Ryan, then Ichiro, then uncorked two wild pitches to bring home the first Seattle run.
Jesus Montero promptly ripped a Dotel offering off the center field wall for a double that tied it. Duane Below came on to pitch and Kyle Seager bunted Munenori Kawasaki to third base.
John Jaso hit the sacrifice fly to right field and the M’s came pouring out of the dugout in celebration.
“It was great, that was a good feeling having that energy there at the end of the game,” said Jaso, who got pounded on the back and head by several jubillant teammates. “I’ve always been the one doing the beating up. Never got the treatment myself.”


Jaso said the entire team did a great job of hanging in the contest.
“We stuck in there until the end,” he said.
Jaso was looking for a high slider and that’s exactly what he got from reliever Duane Below, who’d come on to replace Dotel the previous at-bat.
Montero’s hit was the game-changer, given how it tied the score and moved the winning run into scoring position with none out. He’d been watching as Dotel fired one erratic pitch after another. Getting ready to hit a good pitch wasn’t easy, he said, because he wasn’t seeing very many of them.
But with the count full, he was hoping for a fastball from a pitcher who couldn’t find the zone.
“It’s a little bit tough because you;ve got to find the right pitch — a good pitch you can hit hard,” he said. “So, with a 3-2 count, I was thinking fastball all the time. e left it over the plate and I made nice contact right there.”
Montero liked the way Hisashi Iwakuma threw for his three innings in relief of Beavan, saying his splitter was good and he was doing a better job of mixing his pitches all over the place.
Iwakuma told me he was trying to throw his fastball both inside and then off the plate — using the splitter down and away to finish off hitters.
He also mixed his curveball in well and the change of speeds — as well as location — kept the Tigers off-balance.
Iwakuma went a long way towards establishing some worth to the team — striking out five batters over three innings while giving up only one run.
Shawn Kelley and Charlie Furbush did some strong work to get the M’s through innings seven and eight, while Steve Delabar struck out a pair in a perfect ninth.
That set the stage for Mariners heroics in the bottom of the inning.
Beavan said afterwards that his hand felt numb for 20 to 25 minutes after he was hit in the elbow by Miguel Cabrera’s liner. The elbow is wrapped in a bandage now and very stiff. The team will see how it feels tomorrow but Beavan knows he can’t rush things and there is always a possibility the team might have to replace him for a start.
There is an off-day on Thursday, so that start could be pushed back a bit.
I asked Erc Wedge whether Iwakuma could get a start if Beavan can’t go and the manager replied that this indeed is a possibility.
Wedge liked Iwakuma a lot more today. Felt he mixed his pitches well and liked how prepared he was early. In fact, Iwakuma got ready quicker than Wedge expected. Wedge had been prepared to stall for time but did not have to.
So, that’s why they do indeed play this game for nine innings. All that stuff that happened in the middle frames meant something. The M’s won’t win these types of games very often, but when they do, it makes everybody feel good.

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jesus Montero

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