Tonight did not feel like a loss.
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone crazy. I was at the game. I know how it ended. The Mariners rallied, Justin Smoak delivered, and Eric Thames was shaving-cream-pied in the face (and mouth). It was a fantastic night.
To clarify, however, the six innings when Seattle trailed Tampa Bay did not feel like the aimless banging our heads against the wall we’ve been trained to expect. Kevin Millwood hit a season high with 8 strikeouts, holding the Rays scoreless through 6 of 7 IP. Stephen Pryor’s fastballs aimed for 100, and peaked around 99 for a double and 2 strikeouts in 1.2 IP.
Even Smoak had a productive night, going 1-for-2 with a leadoff double, walk, and a sac fly that was Safeco’d on the warning track. It would be an understatement to say that Justin responded positively to the pressure he now faces, given a poor showing in Tacoma and Mike Carp’s trip to the 15-day DL.
By the time the 9th rolled around, I was mildly concerned that Chone Figgins and Miguel Olivo were up to bat. Joe Maddon was concerned as well, albeit for different reasons. I turned my cap inside out. Maddon turned his outfield inside out.
Fortunately for him, and unfortunately for me, Olivo was not destined to be the hero of tonight’s game. Perhaps another day he will send a two-run jack into a two-man outfield. Tonight’s win belonged to Thames, who popped a walk-off single over the head of a somersaulting Sean Rodriguez.
To cap the Mariners’ finest win in recent memory, I’ll leave you with Eric’s parting words of the night, moments after John Jaso delivered the victory pie mask: “My mouth was OPEN!”
Next game: vs. Rays | August 15 | 12:40pm