After 15 innings of seemingly endless baseball, Jason Vargas was credited with the win – his first for the Mariners and first in the majors since April 13, 2006, when he was with Florida.
But even he will admit the entire Mariners bullpen deserved credit for the victory in Sunday’s extra-inning affair.
“It was a team effort,” he said.
Specifically, his team of relievers.
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Seattle relievers – all seven of them used – allowed three runs over 102/3 innings to allow the offense time to win the game.
“The bullpen was just outstanding,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said.
For Vargas, a win wasn’t really on his mind when he came in to replace Miguel Batista, who’d just given up three runs in the top of the 13th. He was doing damage control.
But when the Mariners tied it in the bottom of the 13th, that changed. It was his game to win.
“I knew I was the last one out there,” he said.
Vargas responded by throwing two solid innings, allowing two hits and striking out four.
“To be able to do it under those circumstances was big for me,” he said.
Because he’d been starting in Tacoma, Vargas was comfortable going more than an inning. He would have gone five or six more if needed.
“I could have gone 100 pitches or as many as it took to end the ballgame,” he said.
Vargas, called up Friday when Roy Corcoran was placed on the disabled list, hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2007. He had shoulder surgery and missed last season. He came to the Mariners as part of the big trade that sent closer J.J. Putz to the Mets.
“It’s been a while, and it’s a nice feeling to step in between in the lines of a big league field,” he said. “It was really good.”
While Vargas got the win, Miguel Batista avoided a loss. Batista pitched 22/3 innings and gave the Mariners two scoreless innings in which they could have won the game. The A’s got to him for three runs in the 13th, one of which was unearned.
“He put us in the position, your back is to the wall and you need to get as much as you can from him, and he ended up throwing 65 pitches,” Wakamatsu said.
Sweeney reaches milestone
Mike Sweeney’s first homer for the Mariners was the 200th of his career. It wasn’t gaudy, but he was proud of the milestone.
“By no means is it a milestone like (Ken Griffey Jr.) with 600,” he said.
Of course, Sweeney wasn’t guaranteed two homers in the big leagues, let alone 200, when he was drafted by Kansas City in the 10th round of the 1991 draft.
“It’s a small milestone for a big league player,” he said. “But for a guy like me that was a late-round draft pick and a guy that takes pride in my work ethic, it’s quite an honor.”
An honor he almost didn’t get to reach. After getting released by Oakland last September, Sweeney thought his baseball career might be done.
“Being stuck on 199 for the rest of my life wouldn’t have been that much fun,” he said.
An outfielder for Tacoma
The Mariners signed outfielder Jerry Owens to a minor league deal. Owens was recently designated for assignment by the White Sox and refused the assignment to become a free agent. He had 12 at-bats and one hit in 12 games for Chicago this season. Owens will be with Triple A Tacoma today.
The host Mariners start a two-game series with the Texas Rangers. Today’s 7:10 p.m. game will feature each team’s No. 1 starter: Felix Hernandez (4-0, 2.38 ERA) for Seattle, and Kevin Millwood (2-2, 2.13 ERA) for Texas. The game will be broadcast on television on FSN.
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