SEATTLE – A year ago, the Seattle Mariners probably don’t win this game. Down 7-2 in the third inning, last season’s team probably would have eventually succumbed 8-2, 9-3, something like that.
There simply wasn’t the offensive potential to make up a five-run deficit no matter how many innings were left to play.
It’s a little different now. The Seattle offense is far from a perfect entity, but it has shown the ability to put up runs in bunches, usually via home run.
The Mariners displayed it again on Wednesday, erasing that five-run deficit in two innings, highlighted by a six-run fifth inning, in a 9-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We had our backs against the wall,” acting manager Robby Thompson said. “But there was a lot a game to play. They kept their heads up. We’ve had that happen to us this season. I’d like to think we returned the favor. I’m proud of the guys.”
The come-from-behind win averted a sweep, much to the disappointment of a largely pro-Toronto crowd of 34,792 at sun-drenched Safeco Field.
How did Seattle do it?
“We just told each other it’s early in the ball game and keep putting guys on base,” said Justin Smoak, whose two-run double highlighted the six-run fifth. “We did that and got the big hits when we needed them.”
The reason they needed all those big hits was another lackluster outing from starting pitcher Aaron Harang. The veteran right-hander never made it out of the third inning.
The Mariners took the lead moments after Smoak’s double when Humberto Quintero blasted a two-run homer into the visiting bullpen. It was his second homer for the M’s since being signed on July 27.
Lost in it all was the redemptive performance of the bullpen – Brandon Maurer (3-7), Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina, Oliver Perez and Danny Farquhar.
Thompson used five relievers and they didn’t allow a single run after replacing Harang in the third inning.
“Great job by the bullpen,” Thompson said. “That’s a huge pick me up for the whole ball club and Aaron Harang.”