Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
April 11, 2008 11:17 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
A happy clubhouse, as you might expect, after what was certainly Seattle's biggest win of the young season.
Still, the players know better than anyone that it only means so much this early in the season.
"We played well tonight and we got the hits when we needed it,'' said Raul Ibanez. "But it's really just one game.''
Mariner manager John McLaren said the biggest thing might have been that it was the first game of a home stand, and following a pretty disastrous 2-5 road trip.
"We needed this for us,'' he said.
A lot of other guys got what they needed tonight, as well.
Raul Ibanez had his first big game of the year with two homers, though maybe we should have known it was coming considering he is now 12-21 with four homers against Angels starter Jered Weaver. Ibanez said he had no idea why he hits Weaver so well, calling it "lucky.''
Kenji Johima got his first hit after 23 at-bats without one and also walked twice, saying later "I saw the ball well all night.'' He said he hopes this is the beginning of a turnaround.
Brad Wilkerson, who was 3-24 for the season, got the big two-out hit in the sixth that put the Mariners ahead for good.
Mark Lowe came on in the ninth to get his first save of his career and said he loved closing.
"It's just a different feeling, a huge rush, knowing your team is about to win and you are there to close it out,'' he said.
Richie Sexson got a bases-loaded walk, one of six for the Mariners for the night as they now have an AL-high 47.
And Felix Hernandez, despite some rocky moments, got his first win of the year, gutting out 117 pitches (68 strikes) allowing nine hits, four runs and three walks. He also struck out Vladimir Guerrero three times, only the fourth time that's happened to Guerrero since 2004.
The downside was the fielding --- two more errors to give Seattle an AL-high 12.
"We're better than that,'' McLaren said afterward, adding he plans to get with coaches and figure out some extra work to alleviate the problem.
McLaren said his players need to "slow down'' and "anticipate'' where they need to go with the ball.
And while it's just one game, and just one early series, as noted earlier, the Angels swept Seattle the first time the two teams met last year, setting a tone that seemed to last all season as the Angels went 13-6 against the Mariners. First impressions sometimes can tell a lot.
The two teams will be back at it at 6:10 tomorrow with Carlos Silva going against Jon Garland.