The season ends four weeks from tonight, but the Mariners just matched their 2011 win total with a 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. Seattle scored two runs in the fourth and the Red Sox could only respond with one in the sixth and that was it.
That gives the Mariners 67 wins this season, equaling what they did in their 67-95 campaign a year ago.
“It should mean something to them,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “These guys have worked hard to get better and they are better. And they’re going to keep getting better. They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, as well they should be. They’re finding different ways to win ballgames. They’re much more comfortable playing different types of ballgames, whether it be different teams or different places that we’re playing at different times of the year.
“Or, just the ballgame itself. Every baseball game evolves over the course of nine innings or even beyond that sometimes and you’ve got to be able to handle every type of situation. Whether it’s a lead early, or you’re down early, or a big lead, or if you’re way down early and find a way to compete and come back and give yourself a chance to win in the end.
“We’ve played so many close ballgames this year that their heart beat is a lot better. So much better now than it was earlier in the year and of course, a lot better than it was last year.”
Seattle’s bullpen held Boston down the final three innings to get Kevin Millwood his first win since July 28 and only his fifth victory of the season. He’s had 10 no-decisions, so run support has been a bit of an issue, as it was again in this one.
This was the 16th game in a row in which the Mariners have done all of their scoring in just one or two innings out of nine. But they improved to 9-7 over that span regardless and take the series two of three from Boston.
Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen made it interesting by walking the leadoff batter in the ninth. But then, he reared back and struck out Ryan Lavarnway and Mike Aviles before getting David DeJesus to hit a light tapper back towards the mound. Wilhelmsen fielded it and threw to first to end the game.
Afterwards, Wilhelmsen said matching the 2011 win total with four weeks to go is an accomplishment.
“It’s great,” he said. “We have a chance to keep on building and keep on adding. Keep the momentum going. The past is the past and we’re looking forward.”
Ackley also said he can see the improvement in the team since the first half.
“That’s awesome,” Ackley said of matching last year’s win total. “To think of where we’re at right now after having a tough first half and to come back strong in the second half and to put it together a bit, it’s exciting. It’s exciting for the rest of theyear, throughout the year and it’s exciting going into next year.”