Third baseman Kyle Seager was in line Thursday for a rare day off.
He had just had an even rarer two-error game, the Seattle Mariners were facing a tough left-hander in Detroit ace David Price and it was a day game after a night game.
Seager doesn’t get many days off. He had started all but one other game this season, and all but four in each of the two previous years. But manager Lloyd McClendon figured this was a good time for a break.
Seager wanted none of it — in part because of two errors in Wednesday’s 9-4 loss to the Tigers.
“If you don’t play today,” he said, “you’ve got to sit on the day before a little bit longer. You want to get back out there. I don’t like not playing. So if I get the option, I’d rather play.”
McClendon yielded and noted, “I’m glad he insisted.”
Seager opened the scoring Thursday with a homer in the first inning against Price, and it was his double in the ninth that knocked Price out of the the game. The Mariners won in 12 innings, 3-2.
Mike Zunino didn’t enter the game until the Detroit 10th inning as a replacement for Jesus Sucre, who exited earlier in the inning for a pinch-hitter.
Not only did Zunino delivered the game-winning RBI double in the 12th, but he made a key defensive play in the 10th that possibly prevented the Tigers from a walk-off victory.
Speedy Anthony Gose was on first base after a leadoff walk when Carson Smith buried an outside breaking ball with Ian Kinsler at the plate. Gose read the ball in the dirt and broke for second.
Zunino corralled the ball with his glove and threw out Gose at second.
“Ahh, close my eyes and, hopefully, it goes in (the glove),” Zunino said. “I knew he was an aggressive runner. That ball was outside of my body. The only thing I could do was try to glove it.
“At that point, it was trying to find out where he was. He had a big secondary (lead), so my initial reaction was to back pick. He actually was going, so I had to redirect.
“Robby (Cano) was there, able to catch it and put a good tag on him.”
The comeback trail for Mariners left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush is now likely to include a minor-league rehab assignment.
“It’s been so long now,” McClendon said, “that he needs to get some (game) action.”
Furbush hasn’t pitched since July 7 but tested his recovery from biceps tendinitis Wednesday by throwing long toss before shifting to a flat-ground bullpen workout.
“He felt real good,” McClendon said. “He’ll probably do a bullpen when we get home, and we’ll see where we are.”
Plans call for Furbush to throw another flat-ground bullpen session prior to Friday’s game against Toronto at Safeco Field. He would likely need to throw at least once from a mound before departing on a rehab assignment.
That suggests Furbush’s return to active duty is at least a week away. He was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 33 games prior to his injury and had stranded all 16 of his inherited runners.
“It’s obviously affected us,” McClendon said. “He’s that dominant lefty. In big situations, we didn’t have him. We didn’t have him in New York, and a couple of times here (against the Tigers), we didn’t have him.”
Nelson Cruz is averaging 403.4 feet for his 24 homers, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, after hitting tape-measure bombs Tuesday and Wednesday against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
The only players with more than 24 homers who are averaging greater distances are Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27 homers, 417.6 feet) and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout (28, 410).
Cruz hit a 452-foot drive (by ESPN measurements) on Tuesday against Shane Greene that went into the second deck of shrubbery beyond the center field wall.
On Wednesday, Cruz had a 441-foot shot to left against Anibal Sanchez before hitting another homer (364 feet) to right field.
“I don’t know,” Cruz said. “I guess I just get hot when I come here (to Detroit).”
Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney, a pending free agent, recently switched agents. He is now represented by Octogon Baseball after leaving MVP Sports Group.
Rodney, 38, is concluding a two-year, $14 million deal and, barring a strong finish, faces an uncertain market. After leading the majors last season with 48 saves, he has a 5.59 ERA in 41 games and has lost his closer’s job.
One of the more puzzling aspects of D.J. Peterson’s disappointing season at Double-A Jackson has been his inability, as a right-handed power hitter, to handle left-handed pitchers.
So it was encouraging Wednesday when he went 2 for 3 against Montgomery lefty Chris Kirsch in the Generals’ 3-2 victory.
Peterson had just three hits in 41 previous at-bats this season against lefties — a major reason he is batting just .220 with six homers and 42 RBIs in 89 games.
The Mariners selected Peterson, 23, in the first round of the 2013 draft. He batted .297 last season with 31 homers and 111 RBIs in 123 games at Single-A High Desert and Jackson.
A year ago, Peterson batted .299 in 97 at-bats against left-handers with seven homers and 26 RBIs.
The Mariners are staging their fourth fireworks night of the year Friday at Safeco Field, and it’s a sing-along. The show starts shortly after the conclusion of the game against Toronto.
Some other promotional highlights on the upcoming homestand:
▪ Saturday is the annual Fight Hunger Day. The Mariners are joining with 97.3-FM in a fund-raiser for Northwest Harvest. Volunteers will collect non-perishable food items and cash donations beginning at 11 a.m.
Mariners Care will conduct a silent auction of autographed memorabilia on the main level behind Section 128. Bidding runs through the sixth inning.
▪ Also Saturday: Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano are serving as grand marshals for the Seafair Torch Parade, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in downtown Seattle.
▪ Tuesday is the 11th annual Stitch ’n Pitch promotion, which allows fans to get help from experts on their knitting, stitching or other fiber art projects. They can also view the latest related products from Seattle-area shops.
It was four years ago Friday — July 24, 2011 — that the Mariners set a franchise record by suffering a 15th loss in a row in a 12-8 setback to the Red Sox in Boston.
The skid would hit 17 before the Mariners broke it with a 9-2 victory over the Yankees in New York behind Felix Hernandez. The previous record for consecutive losses was 14 in 1992.
The contingent of Mariners officials heading this weekend to Cooperstown, New York, to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Randy Johnson includes chairman and chief executive officer Howard Lincoln and club president Kevin Mather. … Seager’s homer in the first inning against Price was his sixth of the season against a left-handed pitcher. The only left-handed hitter with more homers against lefties is Texas’ Prince Fielder with seven. … Felix Hernandez has the 14th most-popular jersey based on sales in the first half of the season, according to Major League Baseball. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the reigning World Series MVP, ranked first. …The Mariners won for just the second time in 10 Thursday games.
The Mariners open a six-game homestand with the first of three weekend games against Toronto at 7:10 p.m. Friday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.77 ERA) will likely face Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison (9-2, 5.19). Hutchison was scratched from a planned start Thursday at Oakland because of flu-like symptoms.
email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners