BY Seth Kolloen 07:34AM 04/04/2011

Exit 164: Deep counts key to M’s series win

Wearing out A’s starters got the M’s an early road series.

Mariners take pitches, series: The M’s won the Oakland series by going deep. Not over the fence, but deep in counts. It started in the season opener, when the M’s pushed starting pitcher Trevor Cahill past 100 pitches in the fifth inning, then feasted on the A’s sub-par bullpen. The same formula also worked in game two. The M’s were just as patient in the game-three loss, as Gio Gonzalez threw 117 pitches in seven innings. Look how the M’s performance in this year’s first three games compares to previous years.

Mariners Taking More Pitches

Felix CG is a Mariners first: It wasn’t a dominating performance, as King Felix had just five strikeouts, but he held the A’s scoreless after a first-inning homer by Josh Willingham, kept his pitch count down, and recorded the first opening-day complete game win in Mariners history (that’s 35 opening days). Mariners 2-1, 2nd place in AL West, 1 GB. Next game tonight @ Texas.

Sounders score in multiples, but can’t win: The offense finally showed up. Brad Evans made a late run into the box and scored on a one-touch from a beautiful pass by Mauro Rosales, and O’Brian White headed in a spectacular Steve Zakuani cross. But the defense couldn’t keep San Jose down — the Earthquakes also managed two goals (and a fine save by Kasey Keller just before half kept it from being three). Stanley has more on the game. Sounders 0-2-2, 2 pts, 6th place in Western Conference. Next game Saturday vs. Chicago.

Top 5 Mariners all-time hits leaders…

1) Ichiro, 2,249 (he passed Edgar with an RBI infield single Saturday)
2) Edgar Martinez, 2,247
3) Ken Griffey, 1,843
4) Jay Buhner, 1,255
5) Alvin Davis, 1,163

What they’re saying…

“I took his record; you look at the numbers and that’s a fact. But he’s a hero in Seattle. He’s my hero, also. I played with Edgar for years, and that is a treasure for me. That’s what I remember.” — Ichiro

“As soon as Ichiro drew his bat back, I was going. You know he’s going to make contact, put the ball on the ground somewhere.” — Jack Wilson, on Ichiro’s record/breaking on contact for the go-ahead RBI single.

“It’s what Brad Evans does. People don’t realize that he makes those late runs in the box. We said to be aggressive in the box, to be first to the ball, to take some risks — and that’s what Brad did and he got a goal.” — Sigi Schmid

Better know an M’s pitcher: Erik Bedard

What sets Bedard apart is his curveball. When it’s on, it is one of the best in baseball. Bedard will also mix in a few different types of fastballs, which range from the high 80s to the low 90s. You know he isn’t going to go nine innings (he has just one CG in 141 career starts), but six or seven innings of keeping the Mariners in the game is good enough for a fourth starter.

Tonight’s target: Derek Holland

You may remember Holland as the guy who helped destroy the Rangers’ World Series last year, when he came into Game 2 and walked all three hitters he faced on 13 pitches. Control is key for Holland, since he has pretty average stuff. He throws a low-90s fastball, slider, curve, and has been working on improving his change. One thing that definitely needs improving is his wardrobe. This disturbing information comes from “Holland comes to the clubhouse every morning wearing a new T-shirt with a goofy saying across the front of it.” Oh God. NOVELTY T-SHIRTS ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR ANYONE OLDER THAN 17! DESTROY HIM, MARINERS!

In other news…

Must see highlight: Ichiro’s awesome throw to nail Hideki Matsui at third base Sunday.

M’s relievers Josh Lueke and Tom Wilhelmsen both made their MLB debuts Sunday. Lueke struck out the first batter he faced, ending the sixth, but in the seventh Ryan Langerhans lost a fly ball in the sun, Lueke walked the next two hitters, and ended up allowing four runs. Wilhelmsen pitched a scoreless ninth in mop-up duty.

Martinez also lost his spot atop the all-time RBI as a DH leaderboard Saturday after former Seattle property David Ortiz passed him.

USA Today’s annual MLB salary database puts the M’s payroll at $86.5M, or $52M less than the Angels.

Top hoops players from Washington crushed Oregon 107-84 in the Northwest Shootout.

Lorenzo Romar, in desperate need of post depth for next season, has the Huskies recruiting a Nigerian big man named–get this–God’s Gift Achiuwa.

Husky hoops PG recruit Andrew Andrews will enroll for next season now that Isaiah Thomas has left. Andrews had 31 points in the aforementioned Northwest Shootout.

The logo of new Qwest owner CenturyLink will begin appearing at Sounders games soon.

Sounders MF Erik Friberg had the flu and was only able to play one half.

The Sounders reserves beat San Jose’s reserves 1-0. This year’s first-round draft pick, Ghana native Michael Tetteh, had the goal.

Kevin McGuff is the new head coach of the Husky women’s hoops team.
McGuff, 41, was 59-7 the last two years at Xavier, which was a two seed in this year’s NCAA tourney.

Seven days closer to a championship…

Today, April 4
Mariners @ Texas, 5:05 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)

Tuesday, April 5
Mariners @ Texas, 5:05 p.m. (FSN now ROOT) Note: this is Pineda’s first start

Wednesday, April 6
Mariners @ Texas, 11:05 a.m. (FSN now ROOT)

Thursday, April 7

Friday, April 8
M’s Opening Night vs. Cleveland @ Safeco, 7:10 p.m. Magnetic Schedules! (FSN now ROOT)

Saturday, April 9
Sounders vs. Chicago @ Qwest, 1 p.m. (KING-5)
Mariners vs. Cleveland @ Safeco, 6:10 p.m. Felix Bobblehead! (FSN now ROOT)

Sunday, April 10
Mariners vs. Cleveland @ Safeco, 1:10 p.m. Ichiro T-shirt! (FSN now ROOT)

Check out my Seattle sports calendar, currently listing all M’s, Sounders, Storm and Husky football games. I use it in conjunction with my Google calendar to make sure I don’t schedule my dog’s grooming appointments during a big game.


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