Or, at least, one of the most unconventional.
I moved to Seattle exactly 4 weeks ago today, from Tacoma. I don’t have cable and I likely won’t for quite some time because I really only actively watch TV for the sports I follow (the rest of the time, I find myself passively watching crap like Big Daddy reruns on FX and way more Man vs. Food than any reasonable human being should ever watch). Anyway, as such, I don’t get to watch as many Mariners games as I’m used to (and don’t believe the hype; listening to games on the radio … not better at ALL).
Today, however, I got to sit in front of a TV like the good ol’ days, and I witnessed quite the exciting contest.
Pineda had a no-hitter going into the 6th inning, but even before that you could tell it just wasn’t going to happen for him. He struck out a lot of guys (career high 10 when it was all said & done), but he was also falling behind in counts, walking guys, giving up stolen bases, and burying more pitches in the dirt than I’m comfortable with. Whatever he was throwing early (change up or slider, I don’t know which) was working for him like gangbusters as he had 7 K’s through three innings; I honestly wondered if he’d go on to approach 20 K’s this game. But, the command after that fell off the table, and it almost cost us the ballgame.
The first run scored from a walk, a stolen base, and an error on the throw down to second; from there, it was a ground ball RBI out to cut our 2-run lead in half. This all happened while the no-no was still taking place, and you had to wonder if this lead would hold up. Especially considering the way Pineda’s pitched in his last three games.
To his credit, he got outs when he had to, and even though he gave up the tying run in the 6th on Tampa’s only hit, he charged into the 7th inning with just under 100 pitches. It might’ve been better to NOT have him go in for that 7th inning, but what can you do? We were down a reliever today after Pauley got the boot and we have to get as much out of our starters as we can (especially considering Bedard couldn’t even get through two innings yesterday).
To our offense’s credit, we didn’t give up. Ichiro led off the game with a single, and Dustin Ackley got him home with a 2-run homer to deep right-center field. For a while there, that looked like all we’d get as their guy settled down brilliantly. However, Ackley jumped all over another pitch in the bottom of the 6th (after they’d tied it in the top half of the inning) for a screaming double, and Mike Carp jumped all over the subsequent offering for the game-winning single.
From there, Jeff Gray was perfect, and Brandon League finally got to pitch in a game that mattered. They combined for 2.2 innings, 0 hits, and 3 strikeouts. So THAT’S what a Mariners win looks like … it had been so long, I’d forgotten.
So, yeah, this wasn’t your traditional 1-hitter where the starter goes all the way with a mastery of all his pitches, nor was it a shutout (and indeed it was almost a loss), but it was still a helluva ballgame and I’m actually a little glad I chose to do this instead of going out into that northwest sunshine. Thank you Mariners, for not making me want to kill myself.