DETROIT – The sickening sound of Franklin Gutierrez crashing into the outfield wall in the second inning reverberated around Comerica Park.
“The guys said they could hear it in the dugout,” outfielder Ryan Langerhans said.
“I think there’s a chain-link wall and something behind it, but it was really loud,” third baseman Jack Hannahan added. “It didn’t look good.”
The Mariners, in fact, feared the worst as Gutierrez lay stunned on the warning track.
Manager Don Wakamatsu thought the center fielder might have a broken wrist or a concussion, while trainer Rick Griffin feared a broken collarbone or separated shoulder.
The fact that Gutierrez was not seriously hurt made the Mariners’ costly 9-7 loss to the Tigers – one that, combined with the Angels’ doubleheader sweep, cost them 11/2 games in the standings – a little easier to take.
“He’s very, very fortunate,” Griffin said. “It could have been worse.”
As it is, Gutierrez has a bruised left elbow and left knee, as well as bruised ribs on his left side, and an abrasion on the knee. X-rays of his elbow were negative.
He’s listed as day to day, but Wakamatsu raised the possibility that Gutierrez might play in Thursday’s series finale. He later acknowledged that was “wishful thinking. You don’t know how sore it is. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is going to tell a lot.”
“I feel OK,” said Gutierrez, who was walking gingerly after the game. “I feel good. I just went to get the ball when I hit the wall, and I hit the ground. That’s all I remember.”
Starter Garrett Olson had already put the Mariners in a 6-1 hole, and two runners were on base when Ryan Raburn hit the fateful drive to right-center off Chris Jakubauskas that plated two more runs for the Tigers for an 8-1 lead.
On a night in which the teams combined for seven homers – a season-high four by the Mariners – Seattle chipped away throughout the game, but fell short.
They got a pair of solo homers from Jack Hannahan, a two-run shot by Langerhans, and a solo blast from Wladimir Balentien, who took Gutierrez’s spot in the batting order.