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The road trip may have ended with a loss but overall it was a success. .
Sure, closing out the road trip with their four-game sweep of he A’s in Oakland would have been fantastic for Seattle. It would have even put them in first place in the American League West.
But after fighting back to win the opening game of the doubleheader, 6-4, in 10 innings, Seattle just seemed a step slow in the field and tick behind at the plate.
They got a solid start from Erasmo Ramirez and good relief work from Tom Wilhelmsen, but there was not much offense. Seattle mustered just three hits and no extra base hits against reliever Drew Pomeranz, who made the start, and the rest of the A’s bullpen.
But even after 19 innings of baseball and getting shutout in the second game, the Mariners were still one happy group.
Well, this 10-day road trip – consisting of three cities and nine games – couldn’t have gone much better. The Mariners went 7-2 on the trip.
“Given the travel as it was – and it was pretty tough New York to Houston and Houston to Oakland – and to come out of this series 7-2, it’s just an unbelievable trip,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I was very proud of my team and how we played. We put ourselves in a pretty good position.”
Coupled with their improved play at the end of their last home stand, they have won 10 of their last 13 games, improving to 17-16 on the season – alone in second place in the American League West ahead of Texas (17-17)
That seemed implausible 16 days ago when they had just lost their eighth straight game.
“I think the only ones that wavered was you guys – the sky was falling in and we might as well pack our games and go home,” McClendon said to the media in attendance. ” But our guys had a great attitude. I think they continue to believe in each other And I told them that they would, that if they continued to go about your business in the right matter things will turn around for you.”
Called up to be the 26th man on the roster specifically for the doubleheader, Ramirez gave the Mariners better than expected, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
“He threw the ball good,” McClendon said. “He did a nice job.”
It was a vast improvement to the type of starts he was giving the Mariners early in the season, the type of starts that got him demoted back to the minor leagues.
“I totally understand what happened,” Ramirez said. “I was totally lost. Everybody was asking me what the difference between spring training and now, and what I was doing. I put it all back together again. I wasn’t aggressive. I was scared to throw. That’s what I worked on in the minor.”
Now the Mariners head back to Safeco Field to open a seven-game home stand, starting with a four-game series against a talented Kansas City Royals (16-17) team.
“It’s definitely a building block and a good stretch and hopefully we can carry it over to home,” said catcher Mike Zunino. “We still have a lot of room to piece everything together and play a complete ball game. It’s still a work in progress.”