We’ll keep this one relatively short and sweet since this wasn’t a game worth delving too much into. The Mariners didn’t get another hit after Trayvon Robinson’s leadoff single in the fourth, but did secure the winning run of this 4-3 game after two walks and a double-clutched throw to third by pitcher Jose Mijares let them load the bases with none out in the bottom of the eighth.
Kevin Millwood needed that run — which scored on a Mike Carp sacrifice fly — to secure his first win since May 23. Millwood was holding his breath at the end after Casper Wells lost Lorenzo Cain’s triple in the sun and saw a run score to narrow the Seattle lead to just one run again.
But Tom Wilhelmsen did indeed close it out. Millwood had seen his offense score two runs or fewer in seven of 10 games since notching that prior win two months ago in Texas.
So, he’ll take this one.
“It was nice, yeah, it’s been a while,” Millwood said.
Now, the 15-year veteran will see whether his 4-8 record and 3.90 ERA will land him one final shot with a contender by the July 31 trade deadline. At age 37, this is likely Millwood’s final season, though he says he hasn’t spent time following the trade rumors that have mentioned his name a few times.
“No, my computer’s broke,” he said, drawing some laughs. “So, no.”
I asked Millwood whether he feels this may have been his final game for Seattle.
“You know, I really haven’t thought about it,” he said. “I try not to worry too much about things I can’t control and that’s one of them.”
Millwood has seen other players he’s teamed with let the deadline get to them at times.
“I’m sure,” he said. “I guess if your name gets thrown out a lot, I’m sure that can bother some guys. Like I said, I try not to worry about things I can’t control. I can’t control what any other team does or what this team does.”
Photo Credit: AP
For now, he says, he’ll “just try to roll with it and see what happens.”
One thing he’ll miss if traded?
Brendan Ryan at shortstop.
“Defensively, I’m not sure you can get any better,” Millwood said. “I’m sure people don’t look at him too much because he’s not having a great offensive year. But with the ground that he covers and the way he makes plays, I don’t know that there’s a better one out there.”
Ryan saved Millwood from a likely double with a racing catch of a popup in shallow left field in the fifth. The ball was hit by ultra-fast Jarrod Dyson and if that ball hits the ground, he’s likely on second with one out.
The best play was Ryan going deep in the hole and then firing a one-hopper to first to nab Yuniesky Betancourt to end the sixth inning. Ryan felt he could have made a better throw, but, for crying out loud, he was 10 feet deep in the outfield grass at the time.
Gotta love the perfectionist in him.
“Those tight games, you want to make them all because you never know what’s going to happen,” Ryan said. “Especially when every ball that went up in the air today seemed right in the sun for whatever reason.”
Yeah, this wasn’t always a pretty game and the sun didn’t help. Seattle scored two runs as a result of plays not made in the field, as did the Royals on that Kyle Seager error in the first inning and then the sun-aided triple in the ninth.
The double-clutched throw by Mijares to third really changed the entire complexion of that eighth inning because the way the Mariners were swinging their bats after the fourth, they probably don’t make it a 4-2 game that frame without the pitcher’s botched fielding play.
“I felt like we swung at some bad pitches today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “(Royals starter Bruce) Chen was keeping us off balance, we were chasing a little bit. But I like the way our guys competed. I think that’s the one thing that’s been very consistent for our guys, espeically lately — putting up better at-bats and making pitchers work. We did make him work, but he did a nice job.”
Still, the M’s hung on for the win. They are now 9-4 over the last 13 games — 6-1 versus the Royals and 3-3 against the Yankees and Rays.
Tomorrow, they go for the four-game sweep.