I can take or leave Interleague play in general (hey, baseball is baseball) but, I’ve always thought that if the two leagues are going to continue to play each other under their own rules – why not give the home fans a chance to experience “the other rules”? Well, thanks to a scheduling conflict with U2, in which the Florida Marlins were forced to move their home series with the Mariners to Seattle, some 15,000+ Mariners fans got just that chance. For the first time ever, National League rules were played in an American League ball park.
And boy-oh-boy, was it fun!
The game, much like the weather, started out rather ominously…
Felix had a bit of a rough start to put it mildly. He threw a TON of pitches in the first few innings – at one point, logging more balls than strikes. But, I was just as confident in Felix’s ability to settle down as I was in knowing the ‘steel umbrella’ would roll slowly but surely over the field to protect us as the trickle of raindrops turned to a torrent.
No question that Felix was a bit wild early on…
he walked one in the 1st and another in the 2nd and also hit back-to-back batters. But, he didn’t allow a hit or a run until the 4th after the lead-off batter singled and ended up scoring when the 3rd out was recorded as a strikeout, but a wild pitch sent the batter to 1B and the runner at 3B home. But that would be that for The Fish. Felix would allow another hit and another HBP but cruise the rest of the through eight innings.
Speaking of cruising, Nolasco retired the first EIGHT M’s…
and then, leave it to Felix to break up the “no-hitter”. Needless to say, the sparse crowd was LOVING it. Later in the game, the top of the 9th to be exact, Felix got a standing ovation when he appeared in the on-deck circle as the crowd anticipated not only seeing him hit again, but realized that it meant he’d be going out to pitch in the bottom of the 9th, but after Guti’s single he was called back and the boos rained down.
As for the rest of he offense, let’s just say they made the most of a couple of innings…
Other than Felix’s single in the 4th, there were only two other innings that the M’s even had runners on base. In the 7th, after Brendan walked and Adam singled, Justin grounded into a FC but Brendan was able to stay in a rundown between 3B and home long enough to allow both Adam and Justin to move up a base.
Dustin recorded another first when he was intentionally walked and then Miggy hit into a FC and Adam scored. Carlos, believe it or not, had an infield single. So, with the bases loaded and Guti at the plate, Jay Buhner (who was a guest announcer on the radio with Rick) played his best Mike Blowers prognosticator and called the next play BEFORE it happened – he said something to the effect of, “…good time for Guti to get right with a base hit up the middle to score two…” and that’s EXACTLY what happened. M’s up 3-1.
Then, Miggy comes through with a little insurance in the top of the 9th…
After Justin flied out and Dustin walked, Miggy had an EIGHT pitch at bat, sending that eighth pitch over the hand-operated scoreboard to put the M’s up, where they would stay, 5-1. While home runs are always fun, this had a little extra special feeling, as the crowd, led by the King’s Court, was chanting O-LEE-VO during Miggy’s entire at bat.
Speaking of the King’s Court…
As I tweeted after the game, it is the best thing since sliced bread. They totally sparked a rather sparse crowd of 15k+ (which actually, considering it was all walk-up, wasn’t bad). Sporting their yellow t-shirts and holding up their “K” cards every time Felix got two strikes on a batter. Then, when Felix was up to bat, they turned the cards around showing the “Hit it There –>” (pointing to left field fair territory).
Great to see Brandon get back out there…
even though it wast’s a save situation, he needed some work and a confidence boost – and got just that with a flyout, a strikeout and a ground out.
And, some of the best for last, sparkling DEE all around…
-Justin made a couple of nice plays on his own, as well as combining with Felix covering 1B (I have long thought that particular play is MUCH harder than it looks and Felix makes it look absolutely effortless).
-Adam made an awesome, charging play and a strong throw to 1B for the third out of the 5th.
-And Dustin just continues to instill confidence with his play in the field, making a couple routine plays as well as a great one to end the game.
-Carlos recorded ALL THREE outs in the 7th including a nice running catch to the warning track and another where he had to reach into the King’s Court crowd to snag a foul ball.
DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES