Jason Vargas didn’t get the win, but his team did as Brendan Ryan delievered the go-ahead single in the eighth inning to hand Seattle a 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. It was a leap of faith that Ryan was even hitting in that situation with a runner on second and one out.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge could have called on John Jaso to pinch-hit for Ryan in that situation. But Ryan has hit a bit better lately and did have two hard lineouts to left field and center earlier in the game. This time, after Miller fell behind 3-0 and 3-1, Ryan lined the next pitch to right center where it would not be caught.
The single scored Casper Wells from second. Wells had led off the inning with a single, then stole second on a full-count strikeout for Dustin Ackley. The count being full had a lot to do with Wells getting the jump he needed, plus the fact that A’s catcher Derek Norris doesn’t appear to have much of an arm.
That steal was crucial in getting Wells into the right position on a night when hits were few and far between.
The other key to victory was the pitching tonight. You had Vargas striking out 10 and allowing just three hits over 6 2/3 innings. But then, Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen had to come on after Brandon League yielded the tying single in the seventh.
Furbush had the biggest struggle in the eighth after a leadoff walk to speedy Jemile Weeks. But the left-hander rallied and would eventually strike out the side, fanning Brandon Inge with two on and two out after an intentional walk to survive the inning.
That’s now 15 straight scoreless outings for Furbush and 17 straight games in which he’s recorded at least one strikeout.
On came Wilhelmsen, who hadn’t been scored on since mid-May in Boston.
He fanned Derek Norris with a curveball to end the game in another three-up, three-down inning.
That’s 25 strikeouts for Mariners pitching in two games.