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June 2, 2012 at 7:36 PM

For Michael Saunders and his teammates, a much better second game result

Michael Saunders had some rough moments after having that fly ball go off his face during the late stages of Friday’s opener. He’s an emotional guy at the best of times and needed some support after one of the lower moments of his career.
“I was more hurt, I think, than pissed off,” Saunders said. “Like I said, last night was on me. I took responsibility for the loss with that mistake in center. I got to talk to my wife a little bit and she calmed me down. She reminded me that we get to come out here again.”
And Saunders and company took full advantage during today’s 10-8 win in 12 innings, snapping a nine-game win streak for the Chicago White Sox.
Saunders had one of four Seattle home runs and a career-high four hits.
It was an up-and-down affair, the type where it’s easy to give in.
“This was one of those long games,” Mariners catcher John Jaso said of the four-hour, 16-minute contest. “You hope to limit these games a little throughout the course of the season. But it definitely makes it a lot better getting the win than the loss.”
Jaso finally broke the deadlock with a double in the 12th inning. Chone Figgins added the insurance with an RBI single and Hisashi Iwakuma held on for the save.
And afterwards? Lots of cheering could be heard behind the closed clubhouse door before the media was let in. The Mariners enjoyed this one.
“I think it’s more about the game and how we won it more than anything,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Regardless of who we’re playing and where we’re playing, we’re going to come out and approach the game the same way,” he said. “These guys are right in the middle of defining what type of team they’re going to be and what type of team they’re becoming here really quickly.”

Saunders is defining the type of player he’s going to be, especially with Franklin Gutierrez now possibly three weeks away from rejoining the club.
He told me he kept his emotions in check throughout this one and tried not to let any anger over last night dictate today’s performance.
“It was a new day, to be honest,” he said. “I had my time yesterday to reflect and everything like that, but I was back in there today. And I just knew that yesterday needed to be yesterday and today needed to be today, just like tomorrow needed to be tomorrow. It’s a new day.”
That didn’t stop the fans in center field from getting on him whenever he went for a ball.
“I was getting worn out,” he said. “That’s the beauty of baseball. They come in, they get to wear you out a bit. They told me not to catch it with my face, all sorts of stuff.”
This time, he didn’t.
The bullpen didn’t flinch much either after Hector Noesi left the game.
Stephen Pryor admitted to some nerves after he came on and fanned Paul Konerko in his debut to end the seventh.
“After the first out that inning, I came to the dugout and felt a little short of breath,” Pryor said, admitting to some nerves. “But I was able to get it back and come back out for the next inning.”
He almost got out of the eighth as well until Dayan Viciedo hit his 12th home run of the season off him on an 88 mph slider. We’ve heard that flat sliders can be the downside for Pryor, so this is worth keeping an eye on.
“I threw him a lot of sliders trying to stay away from him,” he said. “But I left one up and he got a hold of it. So, it’s a good learning experience for me as well. I’ll take my knocks and try to get better for the next one.”
Not much more to say about Tom Wilhelmsen tossing those three one-hit innings with four strikeouts. He was money when the team needed it today.
He threw a brushback pitch to Alex Rios at one point that broke late into the zone for a strike. That’s some wicked movement.
“That was a good win, a good ballgame,” Wilhelmsen said. “Both teams were fighting, fighting, fighting and today we came out on top.”

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins, Hisashi Iwakuma


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