Standing in his underwear in the old clubhouse of an ancient stadium, Lou Piniella could be forgiven for thinking about the off day the American League had taken from his Seattle Mariners on Monday.
“It would be a nice day to play golf in Seattle, wouldn’t it?” he said wistfully.
And then the game started. The one the league had shoved into a nice little May day off, asking the Mariners to fly to Detroit for less than 24 hours instead of letting them fly home for 36 hours of relaxation.
Whatever the Mariners felt about this game wasn’t noticeably improved when Detroit scored seven first-inning runs. And even after they scrambled back to go ahead by one run in the third inning - the Mariners had the look of a team that wished it were somewhere else.
In the end, the Seattle bullpen recorded every out the Mariners got and allowed just three runs in what became a 10-8 loss to the Tigers.
All in all, they’d rather have been playing golf in Seattle.
“That’s the worst game of my life,” Bob Wells said.
He had to be right - in his third start, he didn’t get an out. Not one. Inheriting a 1-0 lead before taking the mound, the 28-year-old rookie faced six Tigers and all reached base and scored.The sound effects were supplied by Cecil Fielder, who hit a cannon-shot grand slam after walking to the plate 1-for-19 this season with runners in scoring position.
A rejuvenated Jay Buhner had two hits and two more RBI, giving him 20 for the year, and rookie shortstop Alex Rodriguez had a career-high three hits and three RBI. Mike Blowers, mired in a long slump, singled home two runs in a third-inning rally.
Dave Fleming went four innings in relief and gave up one earned run.Still, that homer merely tied a game that had appeared long gone after one inning.
“In the end it was a bit of a pitching duel,” Piniella said. “They scored and we didn’t. We had chances … “
He didn’t finish that sentence because he was fuming. Not about the few late scoring opportunities that got away. Not even because rookie reliever Rafael Carmona gave up a two-run, game-winning home run to Kirk Gibson.
“Ah, Carmona walked Cecil (Fielder) and fell behind Gibson,” Piniella said. “Other than that, he pitched a pretty solid four innings.”