The Seattle Mariners were desperate for some runs. After going 23 innings in a row against the Texas Rangers this series, without scoring, the Mariners picked up four runs just in time to make a great come from behind win in game three.
One thing needs to be noted before we talk about the late inning hit parade and the eventual comeback. Kevin Millwood had a very good outing for the Mariners Wednesday. If you were watching, you probably experienced an elevated heart rate at times, definitely some frustration, but when he came out of the game after six innings of work, you wanted to tip your cap to the guy.
Millwood threw 103 pitches, 61 for strikes. He walked three but struck out seven, and gave up one run on four hits. He was wild at times, and very effective at times. There were even times he was wildly effective! All in all it was a gutsy outing for Millwood, making his Mariners debut against his former team. After surrendering one run in the first inning, he went five scoreless innings and gave the Mariners a chance to comeback. You can't ask for much more from your No. 5 starter than that.
The likelihood of a Mariners comeback looked meek, however, when Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrews went back-to-back with a pair of home-runs in the seventh off Steve Delabar that extended the Texas lead. Delabar was pulled and Lucas Luetge was asked to come in and face Josh Hamilton. The lefty-lefty matchup worked in the Mariners favor and Luetge struck Hamilton out to end the inning.
With six outs to go and facing yet another shutout, the Mariners offense caught life when John Jaso ripped a triple to lead off the eighth. Two batters later, he scored on a Dustin Ackely single to center field. As encouraging as that sounds, it was not the Mariners best inning. Chone Figgins struck out with nobody out and Jaso on third, then after the Ackley single, Ichiro grounded into an inning ending double play.
Luetge returned in the 8th to face all right handed batters and the heart of the Texas lineup. It was an interesting move on the part of Manager Eric Wedge to leave him in there, but after Tom Wilhelmson, the usual eighth inning go-to threw two innings the night before, he wanted to see what Luetge could do. He retired Adrien Beltre, gave up a single to Michael Young, got Nelson Cruz swiningg and Craig Gentry to fly out to right.
The Rangers still had a two-run lead with their closer, Joe Nathan coming into the game. Justin Smoak got things started with his second single of the game. He was followed by Kyle Seager who doubled. Jesus Montero scored Smoak with a sacrifice fly and Munenor Kawasaki who came into the game for Seager moved up to third. Michael Saunders then doubled which scored Kawasaki to tie the game, and then stole third. After Brendan Ryan struck out for the second out of the inning, Jaso delived another hit, a single to score Saunders and give the Mariners a 4-3 lead.
The comeback was solidified in the ninth by Brandon League who picked up his third save of the season and win went to Luetge who had come into the game in the seventh.
Now the Mariners have a chance to split the series in Texas and go 4-2 on this early season road trip. Jason Vargas takes the mound for the Mariners in game four of the series against lefty, Derek Holland of the Rangers. Game time is 11:05 PST and can be seen on Root Sports or heard on 710 ESPN Radio.
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