August 3, 1997 in Sports

Piniella’s Talk Helps M’S Take The Cake Wife’s Birthday Goes Forgotten, But Speech Inspires Club To 14-4 Victory

Larry Larue Tacoma News Tribune
 

He rarely delivers speeches and dislikes calling clubhouse meetings, though the one the Lou Piniella held Saturday resulted in a Seattle victory - at considerable cost to the manager.

After seeing his team lose four consecutive games, Piniella mulled over what he wanted to say for nearly 24 hours and then told the Mariners it was time to put their game in order and refocus on the intensity of a pennant race.

Set free upon the Milwaukee Brewers, the Mariners got home runs by Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Russ Davis and Rob Ducey - and a grand slam from Paul Sorrento - and snapped their losing streak with a 14-4 victory.

And the price Piniella paid?

“I thought all day about what I was going to say, about what happened the last week, and when I called home I wasn’t thinking,” Piniella said, more than a little sheepish. “Just before I hung up with Anita, she said, ‘Aren’t you going to wish me a happy birthday?”’

Husbands everywhere can identify with the terror that followed. Piniella has been known to throw bases, rip off his uniform, destroy water coolers and is smart enough to realize a man does not forget his wife’s birthday.

“I knew it was her birthday, I was going to send flowers …” he said.

It’s doubtful Anita Piniella will take her husband’s 835th career managerial victory in apology, but for the Mariners it was a badly needed triumph. They awoke Saturday morning out of first place in the American League West for the first time since June 12.

“It was a good time for a meeting, we were a little dead,” winner Jeff Fassero said. “And Lou doesn’t call them often. When you do, say the right things, and he did. He congratulated us on getting to this point of the season in the shape we’re in. And he told us now is when the fun starts.”

Piniella did his share after the meeting, too, getting the team started on a hit-and-run call that helped the team to an early lead. And the Seattle offense pounded out 14 hits in support of Fassero, who won for the 10th time this season. AMong the highlights:

Griffey hit his 33rd home run of the year, a two-run shot that gave him 100 RBIs in his first 105 games. Junior added a two-run single later.

Davis had a dreadful night in the field (two errors), but hit his 15th home run.

Sorrento turned an 8-0 game into a 12-0 game in the sixth inning when he hit the seventh grand slam of his career, his 21st home run this year. His six RBIs gave him 56 for the season.

Ducey, platooning in left field with Rich Amaral since the departure of Jose Cruz Jr., hit his second homer of the year - a 412-foot shot to straightaway center field.

The Edgar unloaded his 18th home run in the eighth inning.

“Lou told us before the game we were a great team, and he’s right,” Fassero said. “We won’t score 14 runs every night, but we might score six or seven. I told myself when we got three in the first inning, I’d make that be enough. But this team kept pushing all night, kept adding runs.”

Fassero went six innings, gave up two runs, and then turned it over to Norm Charlton, Bob Wells and Heathcliff Slocumb.

Mariners 14, Brewers 4

Seattle AB R H BI BB SO Avg. Cora 2b 3 3 2 0 1 0 .328 Gates 2b 2 0 1 0 0 0 .242 ARodriguez ss 5 2 2 0 0 0 .313 Griffey Jr cf 3 2 2 4 1 0 .298 a-Amaral ph-cf 1 0 0 0 0 1 .258 EMartinez dh 4 2 2 2 0 1 .330 Buhner rf 3 1 0 0 1 1 .242 Tinsley lf 1 0 1 0 0 0 .218 Sorrento 1b 5 1 2 6 0 1 .274 Ducey lf-rf 5 1 1 1 0 3 .274 RDavis 3b 4 1 1 1 1 0 .290 Marzano c 5 1 1 0 0 1 .300 Totals 41 14 15 14 4 8 Milwaukee AB R H BI BB SO Avg. Vina 2b 5 0 3 0 0 0 .294 JsValentin ss 4 0 0 0 0 1 .260 Loretta ss 1 0 0 0 0 0 .291 Cirillo 3b 3 0 1 0 0 0 .280 Huson 3b 2 0 0 0 0 0 .228 Nilsson 1b 4 0 0 0 1 0 .287 Voigt lf 5 0 2 0 0 1 .264 Mieske rf 4 2 2 0 0 0 .251 GeWilliams cf 3 1 1 1 0 2 .265 b-Burnitz ph-cf 1 1 1 2 0 0 .270 Dunn dh 4 0 1 0 0 3 .271 Matheny c 4 0 1 0 0 2 .241 Totals 40 4 12 3 1 9 Seattle 330 205 010 - 14 Milwaukee 000 002 020 - 4 a-struck out for Griffey Jr in the 8th. b-homered for Williams in the 8th.

E-RDavis 2 (17), Marzano (3). LOB-Seattle 6, Milwaukee 10. 2B-Griffey Jr (25), Sorrento (15), Cirillo (30), Voigt (6), Mieske (13), GeWilliams (20). HR- Burnitz (18) off BWells; EMartinez (18) off Misuraca; Ducey (2) off Misuraca; Sorrento (21) off Misuraca; Griffey Jr (33) off Woodard; RDavis (15) off Woodard. RBIs-Griffey Jr 4 (102), EMartinez 2 (80), Sorrento 6 (56), Ducey (7), RDavis (55), GeWilliams (35), Burnitz 2 (50). SB-Dunn (3). GIDP-Marzano, Voigt.

Runners left in scoring position-Seattle 3 (Sorrento 2, Ducey); Milwaukee 5 (JsValentin, Nilsson 2, Dunn, Matheny).

Runners moved up-ARodriguez, EMartinez, Buhner.

DP-Seattle 1 (RDavis, Gates and Sorrento); Milwaukee 1 (Loretta, Vina and Nilsson).

Seattle IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Fassero W,10-6 6 9 2 2 0 7 107 4.06 Charlton 1 0 0 0 1 0 15 7.69 BWells 1 3 2 2 0 2 24 5.70 Slocumb 1 0 0 0 0 0 18 5.66 Milwaukee IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Woodard L,1-1 2 7 6 6 0 1 54 5.40 Hansell 3 3 2 2 0 4 47 9.64 Misuraca 4 5 6 6 4 3 72 7.71 IBB-off Misuraca (Griffey Jr) 1. HBP-by Hansell (ARodriguez), by Woodard (EMartinez).

T-3:04. A-43,215 (53,192).


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