Stop the presses – the Seattle Mariners won a game in Chicago! It was a Felix Hernandez game, of course. We all knew that when the team won their first ever game at U.S. Cellular Field (or so it feels), that it’d be Felix leading the way. While Felix turned in yet another unreasonably excellent performance, he actually had to be bailed out in the late innings. The offense came to his rescue, then the game continued for another five innings. It was one of those wins.
For eight innings, this was a dream of a pitcher’s duel. Felix Hernandez: eight innings, eight strikeouts, one walk, three hits, two runs. The last two hits and both runs came in the eight, of course, as he was just about untouchable up until that point. Jose Quintana: 7.2 innings, ten strikeouts, one walk, four hits, no runs. It was a slugfest, but of the defensive nature.
So Felix started the eighth by allowing a triple, and by inning’s end it was 2-0 Chicago and we all knew how this was going to end. The M’s get shut out on a day when Felix pitches phenomenally, and drop another heartbreaker to the stupid White Sox. But that’s not what happened – a rally’s what happened.
Eric Surkamp walked Robinson Cano to open the ninth. Robin Ventura quickly pulled his pitcher, inserted another pitcher (Zach Putnam), and that pitcher gave up a single to Corey Hart. Kyle Seager lined out, moving Cano to third. A Mike Zunino sacrifice fly brought the first run in, but also pushed the M’s to their final out. No worry – Logan Morrison singled on a ball that Gordon Beckham couldn’t handle at second. Michael Saunders got to be the hero, driving a single to right. Brad Miller almost put the M’s on top, but his liner was caught. Again, no worry – he’d get his shot.
In the top of the fourteen – because this was a baseball game that lasted fourteen innings – Saunders singled with one out. He stole second with Miller at the plate, putting the winning run in scoring position. Then Miller drove the ball deep, it hit the ground… and bounced over the wall. Saunders scored, and the M’s handed Fernando Rodney a lead. 1-2-3 they went, and the M’s were glad they kept their closer fresh. Baseball strategy is weird.
Taijuan Walker vs. Hector Noesi! Maybe in an alternate universe that’s the pitching matchup for a Mariners vs. Rays game or something, where the M’s traded Walker and had to slot Noesi into the rotation due to shortsightedness. Hey, you wonder, how’s Noesi doing as a starter, anyway? Let me tell you! He’s been terrible. Game starts… now! Happy Taijuan Walker Day. Finally, he’s not facing the Astros.