Felix Hernandez could only laugh in wonderment. "He threw seven innings on Friday and got no decision. He threw one inning today, he won...
SAN DIEGO — Felix Hernandez could only laugh in wonderment.
“He threw seven innings on Friday and got no decision. He threw one inning today, he won the game.”
Hernandez was referring to teammate Miguel Batista, who earned the victory in relief on Sunday, less than 48 hours after laboring 6-2/3 innings in a start against the San Diego Padres.
Batista, of course, thought it was poetic justice.
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“I’ve said from the beginning, wins come in very different shapes and sizes,” he said. “You take it when they come. The other day, I pitched good enough to win, and I didn’t. Today, I was blessed enough to get a win with one inning.”
Batista pitched the eighth because the Mariners have had to use their bullpen excessively during a stretch of 26 games in 27 days.
“It was his bullpen day, and Miguel has pitched out of the pen before,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “Out of all the guys we’ve got down there, him and a couple others could pull that off, and he did.”
Today | @ Cleveland, 4:05 p.m., FSN | M’s RHP Cha Seung Baek (3-2, 4.91) vs. RHP Paul Byrd (6-2, 3.80).
Tuesday | @ Chicago Cubs, 5:05 p.m., Ch. 11 | M’s LHP Jarrod Washburn (5-5, 3.94) vs. LHP Rich Hill (4-4, 2,89).
Wednesday | @ Chicago Cubs, 5:05 p.m., FSN | M’s RHP Miguel Batista (7-4, 5.48) vs. LHP Sean Marshall (2-2, 2.08).
Thursday | @ Chicago Cubs, 11:20 a.m., no TV | M’s Jeff Weaver (0-6, 12.46) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (5-3, 3.01).
Friday | @ Houston, 5:05 p.m., FSN | M’s RHP Felix Hernandez (3-3, 4.41) vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (3-6, 4.52).
Batista, who last pitched in relief on Oct. 1 while with Arizona — against the Padres — pointed out that he’s no stranger to the bullpen.
“People forget, I was the best-paid swingman in the game three, four years ago,” he said. “I made $3.5 million for the Diamondbacks, and that’s what I did — start today, relieve tomorrow, and it got me recognition.
“I’d do it all the time, if I’m capable of doing it. Some guys physically can’t take abuse or distress. I’ve always said I’ll do anything to help the team win any possible way.”
The bonus for Batista was picking up his seventh “W” when Seattle rallied in the top of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. In baseball parlance, that’s known as “vulturing” a victory.
Asked if he should now be called “The Vulture,” Batista said with a smile, “Well, if that works for you.”
Felix finding his way
Hernandez, who had been shaky since coming off the disabled list, gave an encouraging performance. In six innings, he gave up seven hits and three runs, with one walk and six strikeouts.
All the San Diego runs came in the fourth on long balls — a solo homer by Mike Cameron, and a two-run homer by Terrmel Sledge.
“I’m real happy,” Hernandez said. “My command was there. I threw more strikes. My two-seamers worked good today. I just made mistakes on a couple of pitches. This is the best I’ve felt [since coming off the DL].”
In his previous five starts, Hernandez was 1-2 with a 6.31 earned-run-average, giving up 42 hits in 25-2/3 innings.
“I thought Felix threw the ball better than he has,” Hargrove said. “He kept us in the game. He would have probably stayed in the game, had we not been playing a National League game.”
Hernandez was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
• Yuniesky Betancourt, 0 for 4 in the game, had his 20-game hitting streak snapped.
• Mariners C Jamie Burke had three hits off Padres starter Chris Young and is 5 for 5 off Young in his career.
But Burke made his biggest mark in the game with a great slide and touch of the plate to elude the tag of catcher Josh Bard in the seventh. He scored the tying run from second on Ichiro‘s single to center.
“I just knew he had the front part of the plate, and I had the back side,” Burke said. “I felt the further I could get away from him and try to reach around and tag it with my opposite hand, the better chance I had.”
• Kenji Johjima, who had the day off, elaborated on the play in Saturday’s game on which he went into home standing up in the seventh. He was tagged out on a throw from 1B Adrian Gonzalez.
Johjima said he didn’t slide because the discarded bat of Betancourt was in front of the plate.
“I knew they were throwing home, and I knew it was a situation that I needed to slide,” he said through an interpreter. “But if I would have slid in that situation, I would have injured my leg.”
Hargrove said afterward that he and Johjima “came to an understanding” about the play.
Asked if he would do it differently if the play came up again, Johjima replied, “That was a choice at the moment that I made. If I were to get instruction to slide even if it risked hurting my leg, I would definitely do it.”
• Jeff Weaver, lifted from Saturday’s game after four innings because of lower back stiffness, reported improvement and is expected to start Thursday at Wrigley Field.
• Adrian Beltre, who has a sore left elbow from being hit by a Justin Germano pitch in Friday’s game, sat out Sunday.
• After the game, the Mariners made another of their dreaded sidetracks to Cleveland, where tonight they will make up the second of four games snowed out in April.
Paul Byrd, who was one out away from a five-inning no-hitter in the opener of that series before Hargrove’s argument led to its postponement, will pitch for the Indians against Cha Seung Baek.
The Mariners were clearly not thrilled with the detour before opening a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
“To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to,” Ichiro said through an interpreter. “If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.”
For the record
vs. AL West: 12-10
vs. L.A.: 2-7
vs. Oakland: 4-1
vs. Texas: 6-2
vs. AL East: 9-7
vs. AL Central: 8-7
vs. NL: 4-2
vs. LHP: 12-3
vs. RHP: 21-23
Extra innings: 1-0