June 18, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Mariners survive game of bullpen roulette
Tom Wilhelmsen cost Jeremy Bonderman the win, but not the Mariners. Wilhelmsen held it together long enough in the eighth and the ninth before leaving with two on and two out. Charlie Furbush finished that inning off by striking out Josh Hamilton.
Then, Kendrys Morales finished his former team off in the 10th with a slicing line drive single off the glove of leaping shortstop Erick Aybar. That scored Kyle Seager from second after his two-out double off Garrett Richards and the Mariners went on to a 3-2 win.
Yoervis Medina finished off the Angels 1-2-3 in the 10th for his first career save. Not a textbook way to win, but it counts as a win nontheless.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Wilhelmsen will have to get used to pitching in situations he hasn’t in a while.
“You’ve got to use your guys in your bullpen and Tommy’s a guy we’ve got to use, even though he’s in a different role,’’ Wedge said. “Otherwise, he can’t be here. So, that was the situation tonight.’’
Wedge wanted Medina to close and was not going to use him earlier. He’d sent Oliver Perez out in the seventh because of a bunch of switch-hitters and possibly lefty Josh Hamilton due up.
Left-hander Furbush has been used a lot lately and was only available to face a batter or two. That left a choice between Danny Farquhar or Wilhelmsen and Wedge went with the latter.
Then, when Wilhelmsen blew the save, Wedge still needed somebody to work the tie game in the non-save situation ninth. So, he stuck with Wilhelmsen.
“There were a couple of guys we wanted to try to stay away from and Tommy (Wilhelmsen) is the guy to go to right there,’’ Wedge said, referring mainly to Carter Capps in the “stay away” part. “It’s a fresh inning. We had to send him out there for the next inning too because of what ended up happening.’’
Josh Hamilton is now just 2-for-12 with six strikeouts lifetime against Furbush, who came at him with nothing but breaking balls for that ninth-inning strikeout with two on and two out.
“I was definitely giving him a heavy dose of breaking balls,’’ Furbush said. “It’s just something that in the past has worked for me against him. I decided to go with my best pitch there and see how it turned out.’’
Justin Smoak had a good night swinging the bat and hitting some balls hard, including that homer off Joe Blanton on the first pitch he saw coming off the DL.
“Raul had gone deep right there, so I was sitting dead-red first pitch,’’ said Smoak, who figured Blanton would try to land a fastball for an early strike. “I got a fastball and put a pretty good swing on it.’’
Smoak said his timing at the plate was not an issue.
“I felt great,’’ Smoak said. “I felt like I hit three balls hard. So, it’s one of those things where you’ve just got to keep putting in the work.’’
So, the Mariners improve to 3-2 on this trip. They have Felix Hernandez going on Thursday night, so, if Joe Saunders can surprise people tomorrow night, maybe the Mariners — if they figure out how to score in more than an inning or two — might really salvage something on the road here.
This was the first step.