Well how about that! The Mariners beat the A's on Monday, and they actually played good baseball. Good things happened from good players playing with good focus and energy. Good process (in places) was rewarded with good results, and the game ended in a good place for the Mariners: a win that put them three games out of first place in the AL West. So good, in fact, that I was frankly kind of surprised. I just started typing this paragraph, and by about the third "good" I just decided to roll with it because there were no other adjectives coming to mind. This is what happens when the Mariners perform consistently well for a week despite a few hiccups that usually derail every other effort. Your vocabulary reverts back to that of a fifth grader and with it, an awe-inspired love for what baseball used to be before we became jaded with Bavasis and Figginses and Jaso-Promotion-Turned-Abstract-Beard-Hat-Nights at Safeco.
I mean, what else can you say when Chris Young lasts six innings and only gives up three hits--the first of which coming in the fourth inning? Especially when this particular game happened against one of the best offenses in the American League on a windy night hovering above sixty degrees with an extreme fly ball pitcher on the mound? Yes, Chris Young took a no-hitter into the fourth inning today. I'm not quite sure I'd put it that way, but MLB.com made a video update of Young's first hit and called it "Lowrie breaks up no-hit bid with a single," so who am I to argue with the actual gatekeepers of the game?
One of Young's hits was a home run to Brandon Moss in the fourth, which plated the A's only two runs of the game. It was extremely well hit. A no doubter off the bat. But that's kind of the great thing about Chris Young: each start seems to just be an exercise to see which team can get to five runs before the other. Today, it was the Mariners, and Young didn't allow any more runs through his remaining two innings. When Felix gives up a home run, you might exhale with incredulity. When Erasmo gives up a home run, you could throw your arms up in the air, again, and load MLBTraderumors.com on your laptop. When Chris Young gives up a home run, its more of an okay there he got it out of the way and then you hope the M's can hit one in the next inning.
And then they did! The M's took two runs into the fifth following a productive first off the bats of Michael Saunders and Stefen Romero to lead the game. We should just keep complaining about Romero in the two hole, because whenever we do, he seems to do well. And it wasn't just the first, either. Here's what he did in the fifth, for the first time in a major league ballpark:
We probably know what we have in Romero, and it's probably not a baseball player that should be hitting second on a team with delusions of contending. But hey, I'll take stuff like this video any day, and gladly eat my words if he proves them wrong.
In slightly less exciting news, Brad Miller still seems broken. Or something. Not quite broken, actually, its more like his body was captured by invading alien forces after spring training and replaced with some sort of neurocomputer in his skull that activates at just the wrong times, causing him to look absolutely lost at the plate. And lost he has been--he hit a single in the top of the sixth that was pure luck--luck that can assuredly start a hitting streak, but luck none the less. Brad swung at the first two pitches of this at bat, but not quite in the way major league baseball hitters usually swing. See, instead of taking his position, digging his feet into the ground, making eye contact with the pitcher, and then deciding what kind of pitch was headed his way, Brad just swung. He would have swung at these pitches even if they were thrown over his head. In fact, after these two pitches, Kazmir tried to pick off Cole Gillespie on first and I was almost sure Brad was going to swing at that, too.
But, as luck would have it, he finally made good contact on a ball that was misplayed by Brandon Moss in left field, which scored Gillespie from first. Mike Zunino came up to bat next, and you have to know that poor Brad knows that he hasn't exactly been Mr. Cactus League anymore. He's well aware that he won't be up here forever playing like this. Or at least he seems to be aware of this, because he took that base like he was born on it, and proceeded to steal second and third, back to back in the same at bat. It was as if he would be able to take each bag back into the dugout with him and plop them down on the ground in front of LLoyd and say, "See? Look at these. I can't fit these on my carry-on back to Tacoma."
It may have done him some mental good, as well. After Young was pulled, LLoyd went to three different arms in the seventh, which ha...um...except it ended up working just fine. It seemed like a recipe for disaster for a minute, especially with Yoervis Medina coming on to face the top of the order in the eighth, but after eight straight losses a week ago, it's about time for some good luck. But Brad Miller! Yes! In the ninth, LLoyd decided to go to Rodney for the close, and this promptly happened with Donaldson at the plate:
Dammit, Brad. Just...be Brad Miller again.
So with tonight's win encapsulated by two moments--Romero's home run and Brad's diving catch--I'll leave you with two quick quotes from Divish from the clubhouse after the game. It's hard to separate our reactions from games like these sometimes, and difficult to think that these people in the moving image above might be just as shocked as you, because most of them are in their twenties, and have just started to experience what its like when your hairline starts receding and you can't eat an entire bag of gummy worms anymore. They went out there tonight and had fun, and were ultimately probably just as surprised as we were with the results of the game. How did they take it?
Romero on his HR:"There's no vibration. It feels like a hot knife going through butter, it's the best way I can explain it."— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) May 6, 2014
Miller on his diving stop: "That felt cool."— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) May 6, 2014
Perfect. Let's do this again tomorrow.