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Mariners balance four homers with messy pitching in win

Hisashi Iwakuma wasn't too sharp, but luckily some of the bats were.

Tom Pennington

I'm going to take this time to tell you a little bit about me. If you don't care to read about me or my life, feel free to skip on down a few lines of text. Don't worry, I'll keep it brief, but it'll bring my explanation of why the Mariners 7-5 win over the Rangers worked for me tonight. I work at a school -- specifically doing IT. School started recently, so my life has been a bit nuts as of late. People who do event planning can appreciate the chaos that surrounds a school before school starts. Rather than planning for a one-day event, however, my event is nine-months long. As much as I love the Mariners' playoff chase, I needed a bit of a breather game, another game sort of like the Mariners' win over the Rangers yesterday. Tonight, the Mariners delivered in a weird way, sort of.

I'm a pessimistic sports fan. The Mariners taught me this years ago. So when Ron Washington abruptly retired earlier today and the Rangers unveiled a lineup card that looked like it was accidentally meant for the Round Rock Express, it seemed like a perfect storm for a Mariners' loss. A team, emotionally charged by the abrupt departure of its beloved manager, who stepped away for personal reasons, pulls one off for old Ronnie. Personally, I don't care much about old Ronnie. People talk about their favorite memory of him, and mine is one of him that wasn't even him.

Things started out nicely with Kendrys Morales knocking his first home run of the evening in the second inning. My brain said Peter relax but then the frayed nerves of the work week reminded me that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. The ghost of Ron Washington almost answered my fears and tried to have Iwakuma killed. Immediately, the 2-0 lead meant absolutely nothing. Even though Iwakuma made the catch and flashed one of those nervous smiles of someone who knows that every new day from that point on is a blessing, I wasn't convinced. The game was probably over. Somehow, some way, the Rangers were going to win.

Swallowing that painful pill wasn't made any easier by Iwakuma's pitching. He finished the game with 5.1 innings pitched and ended up giving up three earned runs, helped in part by Adam Rosales homer off of Brandon Maurer. Even though the Mariners were ahead, it always seemed like the Rangers were going to stagger back in. Then the bottom of the order appeared. Morales hit his second home run of the evening, Mike Zunino went yard and Brad Miller reminded everyone that he is a shortstop who can hit the ball far.

By the time the dust had settled at the top of the sixth, the Rangers were down 7-2 and I was finally able to relax. The Mariners, fresh off of pounding the worst pitching in the league into oblivion the night before, were in the process of doing it all over again. I cracked a beer, finally sunk into the couch and said good bye to the work week. When Rosales hit his previously mentioned home run off of Maurer's hair, I still felt relaxed. This just seemed like a game the Mariners had to win. The Rangers just seem like one of those teams that is having one of those seasons where the fight is gone. The Rangers seem like the Mariners used to seem, and the Mariners seem like the Rangers used to seem. This rather ignorant view point benefited me for the remainder of the game, especially considering the Mariners had to use six relievers and the game wasn't even close to a guarantee until the final out. Sometimes, when it all seems like the whole thing is one broken seam from completely unravelling, we have to take a step back and remember we are rooting for a good, winning team now. Because in the end, all that matters is that the Mariners won. Depending on how the Tigers and the Giants game plays out, the Mariners either hopped into a tie for the Wild Card or kept pace. This is our lives now.

  • James Jones entered for Endy Chavez in the fifth inning after the ghost of Ron Washington was up to nefarious tricks again. Chavez went for a steal of second base. As he slid, his helmet slid off his face and got mashed between his face and a knee. He would leave the game visibly bleeding, but it was good news in the end. He got three stitches and doesn't have a concussion.
  • Mike Zunino's hit his 20th home run, good for the most by a Mariners catcher.
  • This was the third time this season the Mariners have hit four home runs in a game.