Oliver Perez finishes with a flourish, striking out the side in the ninth for the M’s.
After 8, M’s, 6-1 — Should be a fourth series victory in the last five (with one push in Pittsburgh), assuming the M’s close out the A’s in the ninth.
Bay gets M’s one more — Jason Bay whacked a Jerry Blevins pitch over the dead centerfield fence in the seventh with nobody on, giving the M’s a 6-1 lead entering the eighth.
M’s 5, A’s 1 after 6 — Joe Saunders is now into the seventh over the 100-pitch mark and looking strong, having allowed four A’s hits. Whoops, make it five now. Saunders is just now exiting, having thrown 104 pitches and going 6 1/3 innings and pointed toward his third win of the season — all at Safeco, of course.
M’s get another run — In somewhat unorthodox fashion, the Mariners have stretched their lead to 5-1 after five innings with a run in the fifth. Michael Saunders led off with a bunt single — a bit of a lucky one, in that he blooped it about 25 feet high, but it fell perfectly maybe six feet inside the first-base line where nobody could track it down. Then Jason Bay hit a hard grounder to the left of third baseman Josh Donaldson, who seemed to get his feet tangled, and the ball hit his glove and squirted into short leftfield on what could have been a double play. Kyle Seager’s deep drive to the rightfield warning track scored Saunders.
M’s extend lead — Jesus Montero’s line single to left scored Michael Morse, who had doubled leading off, and the Mariners have a 4-1 lead after four.
M’s 3, A’s 1 after 3 — It hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride for Joe Saunders, who has allowed five baserunners in the past two innings. But he’s still atop a 3-1 lead entering the fourth. He got a break when, with two on and one out in the third, Josh Donaldson, on a checked swing, foul-tipped a third strike into Jesus Montero’s mitt, and then Saunders got Luke Montz on a hard grounder to second.
M’s 3, A’s 1 after 2 — Joe Saunders wavered in the A’s second, allowing back-to-back doubles by Josh Donaldson and Luke Montz, followed by a hit by Derek Norris that moved Montz to third. But after allowing that run, Saunders regained control, getting Nate Freiman on a fielder’s choice at the plate, striking out Brandon Moss and inducing a weak pop to first by Michael Taylor.
Big Start for M’s — Kendrys Morales, whom Mariner manager Eric Wedge had spoken of as pressing just two hours before, took Tommy Milone deep to left for a three-run homer in the M’s half of the first inning to stake his team to a 3-0 lead. Michael Saunders led it off with a hit to left and Kyle Seager walked on four pitches to set up Morales, who got a fat pitch about thigh-high and rode it out for his fifth homer.
Hey folks, Bud Withers here at Safeco Field. Happy Mother’s Day to y’all. Our great weather is departing us, but the roof is rolled back to reveal partly cloudy skies this afternoon.