That was the first time I've been in attendance to watch the Mariners win in San Diego, and oh, was it ever satisfying.
I have to keep this particular recap short, because I don't have much time to write it, but I will say this: Gil Meche essentially repeated his previous start, allowing a bunch of runs yet still throwing well enough to miss a bunch of bats, and the Mariner bats were as hot as I've seen them all year. I was prepared for the worst when Meche semi-imploded early on, but the Sexson homer got me re-energized, and it was smooth sailing from there. Let's go to the chart, which pretty accurately mirrors my level of happiness over the course of the game:
Biggest Contribution: Richie Sexson, +27.1%
Biggest Suckfest: Gil Meche, -22.5%
Most Important Hit: Winn triple, +23.5%
Most Important Pitch: Nady homer, -14.5%
Total Contribution by Pitchers: -15.8%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +67.4%
Easily a game won by the bats, because Meche had a pretty weak start and the bullpen didn't see action until the game was well in hand. My personal highlights were (A) Sexson's opposite-field blast, (B) Beltre's terrific newfound patience (ignore that WPA figure - it's a sample size deal), and (C) Boone hitting a ball off the center field wall after I predicted a home run.
To keep this concise, I'll just throw up some observations from Upper Infield Reserved Section 302:
- The Mariners hit three triples in the fifth inning. It's the first time they've done it in franchise history, and the first time anyone has done it in eight years. Granted, Winn's shot bounced directly off of Klesko's glove, but the accomplishment remains pretty impressive. Petco plays well for speedy gap hitters; it plays all the better when Brian Giles and Ryan friggin' Klesko are manning the outfield corners. If Klesko isn't the worst defensive LF in baseball, I don't want to know who is.
- Speaking of Brian Giles, it took 20 pitches for him to take a full swing. 20. No swings until his fourth plate appearance. He's either the most selective or the laziest hitter in baseball.
- Adrian Beltre in June: 61 at bats, nine walks, seven strikeouts. Get excited, because it looks like he's going to have a pretty fun second half.
- Congratulations go out to Paul McAnulty for picking up his first career Major League hit. The hit was a single, a slow opposite-field roller through the hole that came in the ninth inning of a nine-run game with one out and nobody on base against Matt Thornton. He might want to petition to have that one called an error.
- Call me greedy, but Bret Boone was safe on that play at the plate in the ninth. It's one thing to speed up the game by establishing a more generous strike zone, but I don't agree with calls like that.
- By a similar token, Nady would've been out by a good five feet in the bottom of the second had Pat Borders not dropped a perfectly-placed strike from Ichiro on a sac fly. At the time, I was incensed, although I cooled off pretty quickly. Still, it was an impressive fifteen seconds of rage, with words coming out of my mouth I didn't know I knew.
- Things that annoy me at the stadium: sitting in front of rather enthusiastic women who possess the capability of unleashing a series of incredibly high, shrill, ear-piercing screams. It would be one thing if this particular woman saved her shrieking for choice moments ("Hey, Roberts homered! Bully!"), but it was more like a powerful, merciless tidal wave of blinding pain for my ears, combined with such useful suggestive contributions as "Let's go, Blum!" and "Come on, Burroughs!" It's not like Sean Burroughs is standing in the batter's box thinking, "Man, I'm just terrible up here. Wait, what's that crazy lady screaming? 'Come on'? Why, when you put it that way, that's fantastic advice! Thanks, crazy lady!" Sean Burroughs hasn't done crap since getting promoted to the Majors, and I doubt he'll be able to find the answer to achieving his full power potential by listening to clueless wild banshees.
- In the later innings of the game, we became aware of four drunk Mariners fans near the top of the next section over. You find guys like these in any stadium anywhere when the home team is losing big. If you're a fan of the visitor, all you can do is smile, because they're the ones uninhibited enough to talk all the trash you're thinking.
- Mike Morse does nothing but hit, and hit to all fields. Forget worrying about regression to the mean - he's just tons of fun to watch at the plate right now.
Afternoon game tomorrow in a matchup of rotation aces. Guess who has the advantage?