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September 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM

For the 2012 Mariners, 1-0 has been the magic score

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(Mariners outfielders Michael Saunders, Casper Wells and Franklin Gutierrez celebrate Saturday’s 1-0 victory. Photo by Associated Press).
This was their sixth victory this season by that score, most in franchise history. Four of them, of course, were complete-game shutouts by Felix Hernandez, including his perfect game on Aug. 15. The six-person no-hitter against the Dodgers on June 8 was by that same 1-0 score.
And there there was last night, which might not have been up there with a perfect game, a no-hitter, or Felix’s masterpiece at Yankee Stadium that Eric Wedge called the best performance he’s ever seen from one of his starters. But it was notable in its own way, especially for Blake Beavan’s excellent performance in beating the Mariners’ arch-nemesis, Matt Harrison; and for Josh Kinney’s relief work to get out of a two-on, no-out jam in the eighth.


“The Rangers have arguably the most potent offense in the game,” said Michael Saunders, who provided the game’s only run with a second-inning homer that held up. “One through nine is a threat. That’s the best game I’ve ever seen Beavan pitch. To hold those guys to no runs is a feat in itself.”
Beavan, meanwhile, saluted Kinney, who struck out Ian Kinsler, got Elvis Andrus to fly out, then struck out Michael Young — all with the tying run on second and go-ahead run on first, no outs.
“Honestly, I think that was the highlight of the game right there,” Beavan said. “I don’t even look at what I did today. I look at what a guy did coming out of the pen, a teammate, stepping up big right there with the heart of the order about to come up.”
Here’s what Kinney said: “I was telling myself I wanted to make every pitch a good quality pitch. There wasn’t much room for error. My mindset was to make strikeout pitches, pitcher’s pitches, and make them hit my best stuff. I couldn’t afford to throw one in the zone to those guys. They’re danged good hitters, and there was no room for error.”
The Mariners needed these wins over Texas the last two nights, because it was starting to look like their season was unraveling down the home stretch.
“We take every game seriously,” Saunders said. “We have 162 to play, and we’re not quitting. We’re also playing for next year, and to send a message we don’t quit. We took a big series off Texas, and we still have the Angels and A’s. Maybe we can break some hearts.”
One amusing quote from Texas manager Ron Washington about Justin Smoak, who had a single and double against Harrison (getting thrown out at second trying to stretch the former). Washington was asked what he said to Harrison when he went out to talk to him in the eighth with two outs, a runner on first and Smoak at the plate.
“He just told me he could get Smoak,” Washington said. “I was letting him know that Smoak had been beating him around the ballpark all night. Then his teammates chimed in and said, ‘Let him get him.’ So I walked off.”
Harrison did get him, on a popup. But Smoak has hit in seven of his last eight games, going 15-for-31 (.484) with six runs, three doubles, two homers and four RBIs. He has five multi-hit games during that span and is hitting .358 (19-for-53) in September. It doesn’t mean he’s “cured”. but at least it’s a promising sign that Smoak may be figuring some things out.

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