August 16, 2013 at 8:06 PM
Late home runs help Mariners stun Rangers 3-1
The Mariners had just two hits before the eighth inning, but made their next two count big-time as Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer in the eighth and then Justin Smoak added a solo shot in the ninth.
Danny Farquhar came on in the ninth and closed out a 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers.
Hisahi Iwakuma tossed seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball, striking out eight for the victory. A well-deserved one, too.
We spoke about the 0-for-21 slump that Seager had been in before the homer off Neal Cotts. The best part of that slump? Nobody really knew it was happening.
After all, Seager still had some of the team’s best offensive numbers in terms of OPS. His manager, Robby Thompson, had no idea the slump was that bad. Neither did Seager.
“I didn’t know until the postgame interview (on television) that it was 0-for-21, so that was good to hear,’’ Seager said. “It was one of those things where I kind of realized that I hadn’t gotten a hit in a while and it’s just one of those things that you go through. You go through the ups and downs and sometimes you can take bad swings and get hits and other times you’ll feel good and not get hits.
“For me, in this case, the past couple of days I’ve started to feel a little bit better.’’
In the pregame blog, Thompson was talking about how Nick Franklin seemed to be hanging his head a bit because of his prolonged offensive drought (Franklin drew a walk ahead of the Seager homer tonight). With Seager, it was the exact opposite.
“We knew he was struggling a little bit, but I just found out he was 0-for-his-last-21,’’ Thompson said. “We were just talking about it in here. You’d never know it the way that he handles and carries himself, whether he’s 10-for-20 or 0-for-21. That’s the sign of a pro right there. He’s a battler and that’s why he’s in there in the third (spot).’’
Mariners starter Iwakuma was one of those rooting for the ball to make it past a leaping right fielder Alex Rios at the wall.
“I was yelling ‘Get over that fence’,’’ Iwakuma said, through interpreter Antony Suzuki.
Iwakuma wound up collecting the win, but only after Yoervis Medina and Charlie Furbush got through that nervy eighth inning. Furbush got A.J. Pierzynski to pop out softly behind third base and has delivered in a number of high-pressure situations of late.
“I just try to blank everything out and execute one pitch at a time and not try to do too much from there,’’ he said.
The Smoak home run made things a bit easier on Farquhar as he tried to bounce back from that blown save two nights ago.
“It was a little hard for me to sleep that night, giving up the game the way I did,’’ Farquhar said. “But, to be honest with you, I’m pretty good at having a short memory.’’
And that’s really a key to breaking out of slumps, whether at the plate or on the mound. The more you carry it home with you, the more it feeds into a player’s psyche and makes it tougher to stay loose and emerge from.
We’ll see where Seager goes from here. Farquhar, Franklin and Raul Ibanez as well.