On an 11-pitch at-bat in the 11th inning of Sunday’s Seattle Mariners game against the Kansas City Royals, Mariners outfielder Jesse Winker came through with a broken bat single to right field to lift Seattle to a 5-4 victory (and series sweep) in walk-off fashion; for Winker, the heroic moment couldn’t have come soon enough.
Jesse Winker, the Mariners’ biggest offensive acquisition this offseason, has started the season slow, but has shown impeccable plate discipline along the way. Taking bad pitches and swinging at good ones hasn’t yet fully paid dividends for him, but for a talented hitter like Winker, his 11-pitch at-bat resulting in a clutch knock to end the game should be a sign of good things to come.
Winker’s previous at-bat (a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the bottom of the 10th) also lasted 11 pitches; he fouled off a few pitches out of the zone during the AB, but I’m one to appreciate a middle-of-the-order hitter looking for an RBI, instead of a walk, with a runner on third and nobody out.
For the Mariners, Sunday’s win was their sixth out of their last seven, and kept the team in first place in the American League West during this early stretch of the season. After a much needed off day on Monday, the M’s will gather some serious airline miles en route to Tampa Bay for a three-game series with the 9-7 Rays, then will travel even farther southeast to Miami for an interleague three-game set with the Marlins.