It’s nice to watch it happen to someone else every once in a while.
A night after the Mariners lost their tenth game by walk off in 2013 (TENTH!!!) on Monday night, they were in need of some sort of bounce back win. And for a while, it looked like they would go down quietly. Joe Saunders’ first inning can only be described as horrifying. Forty pitches thrown and four runs allowed. He allowed three runs in the first three batters. The game looked lost, and the Mariners had only made three outs.
However, Saunders found a way to settle down, got some double plays behind him and got through the next five frames without allowing a run. After forty pitches in the first, he threw just 62 in the next five. Where was that in the first inning, Robby Thompson and Carl Willis must have wondered.
Regardless of Saunders’ solid pitching from innings two to six, the Mariners don’t win this game without Nick Franklin putting together a slump-busting performance. Coming into the game hitting just six for his last sixty, the second baseman hit a huge two-run homer in the third inning to halve the A’s early advantage. Franklin tattooed a Sonny Gray hanging change up, and did so with two outs. It was a huge momentum swing for Nick, who would contribute again later in the game.
In the eighth inning, down by two runs against one of baseball’s best bullpens, Seattle didn’t have much of a chance. That was before the Oakland bullpen decided to implode however. The Mariners brought seven batters to the plate without making an out against Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook. Michael Saunders, Henry Blanco, Brad Miller and Franklin had hits, and Kyle Seager and Raul Ibanez drew walks. The Mariners hung a hulking five spot on Oakland and restored some confidence in the process.
A win like this, especially considering how the bullpen shut the door (allowing one hit in three innings), can only be good for this young team’s confidence going forward.