July 2, 2012 in Sports

Wells’ double sparks Mariners

Associated Press
 
Elaine Thompson photo

Seattle Mariners’ Casper Wells doubles in three runs against the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh inning of a game on July 2, 2012, in Seattle.
(Full-size photo)

M’s sign top pick
The Mariners have signed first-round draft pick catcher Mike Zunino, who was taken with the No. 3 overall selection in June’s amateur draft. The Mariners announced Zunino’s signing on Monday evening. He was to be introduced at a news conference this afternoon. Zunino, from Florida, was considered the best college position player available in the draft. He was the Southeastern Conference player of the year in 2011 and was a first-team All-American in 2012.

SEATTLE – Casper Wells hit a go-ahead, three-run double with two out in the seventh inning and the Seattle Mariners beat the slumping Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Monday night.

Miguel Olivo and Dustin Ackley added back-to-back homers in the eighth as the Mariners rallied for the win in their first baseball game of the season against Baltimore.

Wells had a chance to drive home a run earlier in the game and failed. But he came up in the eighth and drove an 0-1 pitch from Jason Hammel (8-4) into the gap in right-center. Ackley, Munenori Kawasaki and Ichiro Suzuki all scampered home to give Seattle a 4-3 lead.

Wells picked up his first RBIs since June 20 at Arizona. He struck out with a runner on second in the third inning.

Olivo hit his seventh homer against Troy Patton and Ackley drove the next pitch over the wall in right for his fifth. It was the second set of consecutive homers this season for Seattle.

Chris Davis hit a three-run shot off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma in the fourth, but that accounted for all of Baltimore’s offense. After Davis’ 14th homer, the Orioles got just three baserunners against Iwakuma, Steve Delabar (2-1), Shawn Kelley and Tom Wilhelmsen.

The O’s have lost six of seven.

Ackley started the seventh with a walk and stole second when Hammel struck out Chone Figgins on a 3-2 pitch. Ackley advanced to third on Kawasaki’s single, but Brendan Ryan fouled out when catcher Matt Wieters made the catch at the edge of the top step of the Mariners’ dugout. Ichiro walked to load the bases and Wells followed with a liner that cleared the bases.

The six runs were the most scored at home by the Mariners since June 16.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the third when the unlikely trio of Figgins, Kawasaki and Ryan – none of whom entered the night hitting higher than .186 – combined to plate the first run. Figgins led off with a single, moved up on Kawasaki’s sacrifice and scored on  Ryan’s single to center.

Ryan was stranded at second and Seattle wasted another opportunity in the sixth. Wells’ one-out single was followed by John Jaso’s double that should have been caught by Steve Pearce in left, but glanced off his glove. With runners at second and third, Kyle Seager hit a tapper in front of the plate and Olivo struck out.

The Mariners were able to hang around thanks to their bullpen. Delabar worked two innings, striking out three and allowing one baserunner. Kelley struck out a pair in the eighth and Wilhelmsen worked the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

Iwakuma was making a spot start with Kevin Millwood still nursing a sore groin that has twice forced him to leave starts early in the past month.

Iwakuma threw five innings, giving up just three hits. But he made the one critical mistake to Davis on a 1-0 pitch.

Davis has made a point of picking on M’s pitching, first when he was with Texas and now Baltimore. He came into Monday hitting .314 with six homers, seven doubles and 14 RBIs in 29 career games against Seattle.

Notes>

The Mariners had three Japanese players in the starting lineup – Ichiro, Kawasaki and Iwakuma – for the first time in major league history. … Newly acquired Baltimore DH Jim Thome had his first hit with the O’s in the fourth inning.

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