This looked like those other two Mariners games against NL clubs earlier in the week until the final few innings. The Mariners again did not do much against an opposing starter, mustering just four hits in 6 1/3 innings off Travis Wood.
But the M’s took it to the Chicago bullpen late, tying it with a pair in the eighth and then winning it 5-4 in the 10th.
Mike Zunino delivered the winning run with a bases-loaded, single up the middle. He’d worked the count full against Shawn Camp – who was in spring training with the Mariners in 2012 — before lining the next pitch over the second base bag.
“It’s one of those things where you have to be patient,’’ Zunino said. “But it’s one of those things where I felt it was a very comfortable at-bat.’’
Zunino made Camp work and didn’t chase pitches.
“He kept coming with the fastball,’’ he said. “So with a 3-2 count, I knew I had to stay aggressive.’’
The Mariners had seen Michael Saunders and Raul Ibanez draw a pair of walks to lead the inning off. Jason Bay bunted both over and then Justin Smoak was walked intentionally to load the bases for Zunino.
It was obviously a fun postgame clubhouse, with Zunino and newcomer Brad Miller carted off for some postgame beer shower treatment.
This was one of those rare games where hitters both young and veteran contributed equally to the team’s success and were rewarded for it.
The same could be said of the bullpen, where rookie Yoervis Medina collected the win with a scoreless 10th — after Smoak snagged a line drive and stepped on his bag to cap a double play following a leadoff single. That was an inning after veteran Oliver Perez struck out the side in the ninth.
Holding the Cubs in-check was key as it bought the offense time.
Nick Franklin had launched Seattle’s two-run, tying rally in the eighth with a leadoff double — one of three hits on the night for him, including two doules and a single. The Mariners had stymied most of the night by Wood, but Franklin said they stayed with their approach and it helped them capitalize off the bullpen.
“In that situation…my approach was the same,’’ Franklin said of his eighth inning at-bat, one of two doubles he hit on the night as well as a single. “I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and see it up. That’s what I did.’’
Miller was beaming postgame, thrilled with experiencing the walkoff in his first big league game. There was a hefty crowd tonight of 31,471 and Miller hasn’t gotten to experience something quite like that game-ending roar as a college or pro player up until now.
“I mean, a walkoff win in the first one, that was awesome,” he said. “Zunino battling like crazy and sending one up the middle, that was pretty sweet. I’m still on cloud nine, so it was awesome.”
He was also a little wet from his full-clothed shower.
“They got me,” he said. “They threw me in the cart and they got me, so it was pretty cool. I didn’t feel it, though. I’m still running on adrenaline right now, so it’s been cool.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was just pleased to see the game end better than it started.
“I liked the fact that the bats did get better as the game wore on,’’ Wedge said. “That’s something I’d like to see more regularly.’’
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