When you look at what happened tonight, it really wasn’t all that different from last night. The Mariners stranded 11 more baserunners after leaving 13 on the night before.
The biggest difference was Felix Hernandez holding the Los Angeles Angels to just two runs — one earned — through eight innings, unlike Aaron Harang getting torched for five runs just three frames in last night. Hernandez’s work allowed his team to finally generate some runs to go with all of their baserunners.
Hernandez made a huge difference on one fielding play in the fourth inning, fielding a Brendan Harris squeeze bunt and flipping to Jesus Montero. The catcher locked the plate and tagged out Mark Trumbo as he came bearing down on him.
“I think that was a big difference right there,” Hernandez said. “And we won the game.”
Montero was just glad he got out of it in one piece.
“That was a nice play by him, he threw the ball with the glove,” he said of Hernandez. “I was trying to block home plate. This guy (Trumbo) is huge. I was like ‘Please don’t hit me!’ ”
For a good part of the season, Montero hasn’t hit too many baseballs. His .208 batting average had gotten him a seat for a while. But he came through with the momentum-swinging two-run homer in the sixth.
“I mean, that’s what I wanted,’’ Montero said. “I wanted Felix to win. I want the team to win. I don’t want us to be like you’re saying – we’ve had a hard time scoring runs. But I gave him a little help.’’
We asked him what it felt like in the dugout afterwards, the momentum apparently swinging in a close game.
“I was like ‘Let’s go! Let’s go! We’ve got to win this’,’’ Montero said. “And we finally did it, We finally won. I feel happy because Felix won and we were down…we were like ‘Give us some runs. Let’s do something different.’ Then, I hit the homer. I started to get the guys going and we finally won.’’
We saw manager Eric Wedge pinch-hit for Raul Ibanez in the seventh with a southpaw on the mound. Wedge said that was primarily a by-product of having Kendrys Morales on the bench with a rare night off. Otherwise, he added, he’d have been left with the choice of going lefty-on-lefty with Ibanez, or bringing in Jason Bay and risking having the Angels counter with a righty.
ut the switch-hitting Morales solved that problem for Wedge. And he solved the Mariners problem of scoring big runs with that RBI single.
The Mariners will go for their first series win of he season tomorrow.
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