It is a great time to be a Seattle Mariners fan. After some struggles out East against two teams battling for playoff contention, the Orioles and Yankees, the Mariners have been on fire. They took two of three from the Angels in Anaheim including a win over Jared Weaver. Then, they returned to Seattle for a nine-game home stand, and the Mariners just finished it at 8-1, winning a season-high eight games in a row. Although the Mariners haven’t scored more than five runs in any game during this streak, the offense has done enough to put the Mariners in position to win, and the pitching staff has taken advantage. Seattle now stands at 61-64, and they can actually see the Angels, 3.5 games ahead, to possibly climb out of the A.L. West cellar.
Twins series. After taking two of three from the Rays, Minnesota came into town. At the All-Star Break, Seattle was last in the entire American League record wise behind Minnesota. The two teams’ fortunes had reversed as Minnesota slumped into Seattle. Hisashi Iwakuma started off the series Friday night on the right foot in a 5-3 win. Iwakuma picked up where Hernandez had left on Wednesday, throwing four perfect innings and ending up with four hits and one ER in 7.0 IP. The offense came up clutch Saturday as the Mariners rallied from down 2-1 in the seventh to win 3-2 on John Jaso’s pinch hit sacrifice fly in the ninth. It was the second walk-off of the season for Jaso who has been impressive from the plate all season (.289, 8 HR, 41 RBI). Blake Beavan finished the sweep with a 5-1 win on Sunday. Since being recalled from Tacoma, Beavan is 5-1 with a 3.74 ERA.
Indian series. Clutch hitting carried the Mariners again in the opener of the Cleveland series. Michael Saunders broke a 3-3 tie with his second two-run home run of the game giving Seattle a 5-3 win on Monday. Saunders snapped out of 1-for-35 slump to go 8-for-16 with three home runs after Monday’s Cleveland game. Eric Thames, acquired for Toronto, added a home run. Thames has 3 HR and 10 RBI since joining the team August 1st. Tuesday’s game featured the first outing for Felix Hernandez since his perfect game. Hernandez gave up a lead-off single but did little else wrong in cruising to a 5-1 win. He went 7.2 IP, giving up seven hits and 1 ER while striking out five Indians. The aforementioned Thames gave Seattle their eighth win in a row while completing a three game sweep of the Indians yesterday. With two outs in the eighth, Thames delivered a two-RBI double that gave Seattle a 3-1 win.
On the Horizon. Seattle has won 15 of their last 16 home games, but they’ll be back on the road starting tomorrow. Up next for Seattle is a trip to Chicago to face the White Sox. With a sweep, Seattle will be back at .500 for the first time in the season since they were 11-11 on April 27th. It’ll be a tall order for Seattle, though. Seattle is 1-5 against the White Sox this season, 1-2 in Chicago. The White Sox enter today’s play at 68-55, two games ahead of the Tigers for first place in the A.L. Central. The Sox are also riding high coming off completing a three game home sweep of the New York Yankees.