This was the type of series that can certainly boost the confidence of young hitters, especially one Jesus Montero, who collected three more hits today and matched his career high with four RBI.
Montero finished the series with 10 hits, the same number he’d managed in exactly one month worth of play prior to arriving in Kansas City.
“It means a lot, because I helped the team win,” Montero said. “We scored six runs and four of those were mine. But I’m swinging at the bat well and seeing the ball well. I’m just trying to hit it hard. Everything’s good, this steak is good. I’m just trying to swing and see what happens.”
Another stellar effort by Felix Hernandez, who goes eight innings and allows just the one run. It was 102 out there when the game ended.
Hernandez relied mostly on his four-seam fastball — not his sinker — to get all those quick grounders you kept seeing.
“I knew it was hot, so I was just trying to throw strikes and get some quick outs,” Hernandez said. “I was throwing a lot of fastballs because I realized the were sitting on my change-up and breaking pitch with two strikes. So, I started throwing my fastball.”
It took him only 65 pitches to get through seven innings. Hernandez did need 24 more to escape the eighth, but got a bases loaded strikeout and then a fielder’s choice grounder from Billy Butler to end it.
The Mariners scored 31 runs total in the series and saw numerous young hitters either break out or continue some hot stretches on the road.
“It was a great series for us, I love the way we played,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “It was a total team effort. You talk about your starting pitching, you talk about your bullpen and your offense and defense. You talk about a vision of the way you want your team to play and how you want to go out there and play Major League Baseball, this was about it. This is what we’re looking for.”
Can the Mariners keep this up in Tampa Bay? They won’t face Rays ace David Price, but will indeed see far better starting pitching than they did here. If anything, this series will help the Mariners remember how it feels to hit some baseballs hard again. And in this sport, things do tend to carry-over. It’s a game of streaks and confidence. We’ll see what this does for the M’s.
One key here was putting up multiple runs early. The M’s outscored the Royals 17-3 in the first two innings of these games. In the three wins by Seattle, they outscored them 16-0 the first two innings.
Helps change the complexion of things a bit.