What a difference an offense makes.
More specifically, what a difference the Mariners offense makes, when it shows up.
Jason Vargas crafted his sharpest performance of the season, lasting 6.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned runs, and 10 strikeouts. He fanned 5 of the first 6 batters, holding the A’s scoreless through 6.1 IP and relinquishing just one run to Yoenis Cespedes on a 88 MPH four-seamer that sailed 424 feet into the left field bullpen.
Brandon League, being Brandon League, collected his fourth blown save of the year. He arrived with 2 outs in the 7th, handed back-to-back singles to Jonny Gomes and Derek Norris, and exited with a no-decision for Vargas and the jeers of the 12,411 fans in attendance.
Still, I said I would talk about offense, so let’s talk about offense. As they did on Monday, the Mariners managed 7 hits, putting 4 men in scoring position and driving in 2 runs. Franklin Gutierrez lined a 92 MPH fastball that landed just short of the left field fence for an RBI double. Ichiro, last night’s leadoff-hitting DH, went 3-for-4 with a pair of base hits and a walk.
The real heroes of the game were Brendan Ryan and Tom Wilhelmsen, who chased off extra innings with a line drive RBI single and a smooth three outs in the 9th. With last night’s outing, Wilhelmsen has extended his scoreless streak to 16.1 consecutive innings in 14 appearances.
After a minor heart attack from Brandon League, I can appreciate this game for representing all the best bits of the 2012 Mariners. They showcased dominant pitching, sharp relief, and clutch hits. The green hydro won. I counted no more than seven A’s fans in attendance.
If today promises more of the same, we may see the M’s shed a few games in their bid for
the division the second wild card third place.
Next game: vs. A’s | June 27 | 12:40pm