BY SPNW Staff 08:51PM 07/21/2015

Game recap: Mariners 11, Tigers 9

Leading 4-0, then trailing 8-6, the Mariners sent up Franklin Gutierrez to pinch-hit with the bases loaded in the eighth in Detroit. He delivered the blow of the season, a grand slam for an 11-9 win.

Franklin Gutierrez had a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning to rescue the Mariners. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

Takeaway

His career given up for done after a long series of injuries and ailments, OF Franklin Gutierrez had a magnificent comeback Tuesday at Comerica Park — a pinch-hit grand slam, only the second in club history, to beat the Tigers 11-9 in the Mariners’ wildest game of the season (box score). The Mariners led 4-0, fell behind 8-6 and then Gutierrez in the eighth whipsawed it again.

Essential moment

Setting up the astonisher: Against reliever Neftali Feliz and trailing 8-6, Austin Jackson beat out an infield single and Kyle Seager singled to left. After Nelson Cruz popped out, Robinson Cano singled to center to load the bases for Seth Smith. A wild pitch scored Jackson. Smith was intentionally walked to reload the bases.

Pinch-hitting for SS Chris Taylor, Gutierrez, in his 38th plate appearance after three months in the minors, turned on a 95 mph fastball, helping decide a four-hour game that had 26 hits and used 13 pitchers.

Pitchers

Starter Taijuan Walker was given a four-run lead in the first inning, but squandered it against No. 1-hitting offense in the American League. He allowed three home runs, including a two-run shot by Mariners killer Yoenis Cespedes (18 career homers against Seattle) that tied the game at 5 in the fifth. Walker gave up seven hits and six runs.

The pen gave up three more runs, including a bases-loaded walk from Tom Wilhelmsen,  before Carson Smith came on to get a four-out save.

Hitters

Cano had three hits and Jackson and Seager two each. Almost as important, they struck out only five times against the Tigers, who have the No. 14-ranked ERA in the AL. Cruz hit a monster home run to dead center in the third inning, his first since July 3. The Mariners were six for 12 with RISP, a season high.

Cespedes hit his 14th homer of the season and 18th of his career against the Mariners, which have helped produce 39 RBIs against Seattle.

Words

“When you are a pinch-hitter, you have to be ready for any pitch. I’m not thinking about anything but putting a good swing on the ball.”  — Gutierrez

“I can’t event recount what happened  . . .  I just wanted the veteran (Gutierrez) up there in that situation. You know you’re going to get a quality at-bat. You gotta slow things down and get your breathing right.” — Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.

Noteworthy

The Mariners have played 35 one-run games this season (18-17 record), tied with the White Sox for the most in the American League . . . For the second year in a row, the MLB players union chose Seager as the Mariners’ nominee for the 11th annual Heart and Hustle Award, which honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. It’s the only MLB award voted on by former players. Winner will be announced Nov. 10 . . . Cano hit seven homers in his past 23 games heading into Tuesday after totaling just two in his first 67 games of the season . . . Cruz had two hits in his previous 20 plate appearances – both singles — with two walks and seven strikeouts prior to being hit by a pitch Tuesday, then hitting a pitch a long way in the third. His last homer was 57 plate appearances ago.

Next

Game three of the series is 4:08 p.m. PT Wednesday. Seattle sends LHP Mike Montgomery (4-3, 2.51 ERA) against Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 4.55).

 


YourThoughts

  • Kevin Lynch

    Whew! Fortunately, the Mariners rallied. RJ would have blown a gasket on this one. A conniption would have ensued, I’m afraid. An aorta buster. But, in any case, now our thoughts turn to whether the M’s can actually win two games in a row. Hmmnnnn….maybe we should check in with RJ on this. He seems to be studying the likely scenarios. Har! Har!

    • art thiel

      RJ is a weapons-grade curmudgeon. I would like to see a four-game win streak just to read his response.

      • Rj Smith

        These guys cannot & will not win 4 games in a row before September & we know this.

        • coug73

          The M’s are going to have an epic finish to this season falling 1 game short of the playoffs or in last place. Buckle up buttercup.

          • Rj Smith

            There will be no joy in Mudville & no post season for the M’s. Last place finish it will be.

          • Effzee

            Going out on a limb there, I see.

          • Effzee

            With all the money dumped on sluggers in this lineup, and the way pitching on bad teams gets worse as the season goes on, if they don’t make a run at that added Wild Card spot it will be the absolute pinnacle of laughable disgrace. Even I, the Nearly-as-Curmudgeonly-as-RJ, half expect them to weasel into that final playoff spot, just because of the slugger-to-crappy-pitcher ratio they will benefit from in August and Sept.

          • Kevin Lynch

            “slugger-to-crappy-pitcher ratio”…you might have something there. I just got a weird feeling when I read that…………nah.

          • art thiel

            I like that metric: Slugger-to-crappy pitcher. Hello, Bill James?

        • art thiel

          Thank you Nostradamus.

          • coug73

            The M’s could use some divine intervention. RJ I miss the funny nose and glasses promotion. AT stay strong I think some good material is coming via the M’s fool’s progress thru this season.

    • Rj Smith

      Evidently some people enjoy less than mediocre baseball, which is obviously who the M’s management cater to. And they almost did blow it with Lloyd continuing to run Rodney out there in close games, I see another non scoreless outing again. By the way…. I’ve stopped watching the games whenever possible, theses clowns are no longer a must watch. I love the M’s but this team is awful & extremely disappointing with the outcomes. They just scored 6 games worth of runs tonite, so get ready for some more hitting “funks” as Lloyd calls it. Go ahead, keep watching with glee & hoping for a miraculous turn-around from a team that can’t hit, doesn’t walk/wear down pitchers, doesn’t steal bases, can’t run the bases, has a terrible bullpen & shaky starting pitching. Have fun with that.

      • Kevin Lynch

        It IS fun! I chortle. These guys are entertaining. Entertainingly BAD. I don’t understand the insistence on pitching Rodney when games have not been decided. That looks like suicide. Lomo/Trumbo is going to come to the fore. I sense something interesting is going to happen to one or the other. August looks very playable for the M’s. Not as tough as the last two months. It’s possible….could turn around…..nah.

        • art thiel

          Don’t hurt yourself straddling the fence.

      • art thiel

        But you still keep watching . . . I’m not saying playoffs, but I’ve watched many more M’s teams with far worse talent. This isn’t one of them. Lots of flaws, especially in the pen, but none insurmountable by mid-Sept.

        • Rj Smith

          Art, I can’t remember the last game I watched. I’m sure they lost though, either got pounded into dust or blew chances by failing to push across a lousy run or 2. I agree they have had worse teams, but when have they been hyped as post season contenders & failed miserably? 2015, that’s when. They are not going to “put anything together” these guys are not very talented & are done. When watching this team & you get excited &/or surprised by A. A hit, B. consecutive hits, C. A walk, D. More than 1 baserunner, E. A run….. there’s a problem. Oh look….. a day after a “big win”, they get absolutely destroyed….. big surprise there. The illustrious back to back wins continues to elude this team as they fall further & further BELOW .500, yet somehow people still think they have a chance, Dumb & Dumber style.

  • dingle

    Blind squirrels. Nuts.

    • art thiel

      Lots of blind squirrels in AL.

      • Kevin Lynch

        Not THAT blind.