It wasn't until Sunday morning that the parents of Mariners relief pitcher Emiliano Fruto heard about their son's first major league victory...
It wasn’t until Sunday morning that the parents of Mariners relief pitcher Emiliano Fruto heard about their son’s first major league victory the night before.
Fruto tossed the final 2-2/3 innings of Seattle’s 3-2 victory Saturday night over the Texas Rangers, a 13-inning affair that took four hours, 16 minutes.
By the time Fruto became the winning pitcher, it was well after midnight in Cartagena, Colombia, where his father, Emiliano Sr., and mother, Maria Nazly, live. The first thing Fruto did Sunday morning was make a long-distance phone call.
“I called my dad and my mom and told them I pitched two innings and won the game,” said Fruto, brought up last week for his fourth stint with the Mariners this season. “They were real happy for me and told me congratulations and everything. It was very special.”
Fruto had long dreamed of such a moment while playing ball as a youngster in the sandlots of his country. He’d held his breath Saturday, knowing he was done for the night and wouldn’t earn the victory unless Jose Lopez came through with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 13th.
“I needed to wait an inning to find out what would happen,” Fruto said. “Finally, Lopez got the hit and we could go home. I felt so happy.”
Seattle relievers allowed only one run on three hits over the final seven innings. That left the bullpen 5-0 with a 1.99 earned-run average over its last 13 games at home.
Fruto’s biggest challenge might have been resisting the temptation to overthrow. It had been 13 days since his previous outing for Class AAA Tacoma at Tucson and his arm felt stronger than usual.
“You have to be careful when you go that long without pitching,” Fruto said. “When you come in, you want to throw hard. And that’s why, sometimes, if you aren’t careful your arm can get very sore afterwards.”
Some wide-eyed players and coaches with the U.S. finalist Murrayhill Little League team from Oregon got a tour of the Mariners’ clubhouse and took batting practice at Safeco Field before the game Sunday. The squad made the U.S. final at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., before losing out to the eventual tournament champions from Georgia.
The youngsters were guided through the clubhouse and indoor batting cages by Mariners infielder Eduardo Perez. They later posed for photographs with closer J.J. Putz and other Mariners in the team’s dugout.
Mariners pitching prospect Ryan Feierabend, recalled from Class AA San Antonio on Friday, knows a bit about what the star-struck kids were going through. Feierabend has been living out his fantasy baseball experience the past few days, having grown up a Cleveland Indians fan in Ohio, where he cheered on present-day teammates Richie Sexson and Ben Broussard.
“It’s been a lot of fun coming in here and getting to meet those guys,” he said.
Feierabend was 11 when he watched current Mariners manager Mike Hargrove guide the Indians into the World Series for the second time in three seasons in 1997. Now, he has Hargrove for a boss.
“It’s kind of weird,” Feierabend admitted. “But it’s definitely an honor having someone of his caliber as a manager.”
• Hargrove remembered making it to the regional qualifying tournament with his Little League squad from Houston back when he was in grade school. The following year, his family moved to New Mexico.
• Mariners outfielder Chris Snelling is mired in an 0-for-16 batting slump, but finding other ways to help the team. He laid down a sacrifice bunt for the second time in as many days Sunday to move the eventual tying run up to third in the sixth inning. Snelling nearly managed another successful bunt in the eighth, but Ichiro, the lead runner, was thrown out at second on a close play.
Geoff Baker: email@example.com
How the runs scored Sunday
Rangers first: Matthews Jr. singled to right. M.Young singled to center, Matthews Jr. to second. Teixeira grounded into fielder’s choice, second baseman Lopez to shortstop Betancourt, Matthews Jr. to third, M.Young out. Lee hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Ibanez, Matthews Jr. scored. Blalock struck out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rangers 1, M’s 0.
Mariners sixth: Ichiro doubled to right. Snelling sacrificed, pitcher Eaton to first baseman Teixeira, Ichiro to third. Betancourt singled to left, Ichiro scored. Ibanez singled to right, Betancourt to third. Sexson grounded into a double play, shortstop M.Young to second baseman Kinsler to first baseman Teixeira, Ibanez out. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rangers 1, M’s 1.
Rangers seventh: Laird flied out to center fielder Ichiro. Matthews Jr. walked. M.Young doubled to left, Matthews Jr. scored. Teixeira popped out to shortstop Betancourt. Lee flied out to right fielder Snelling. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rangers 2, M’s 1.
Mariners seventh: Broussard homered to right on a 2-2 count. Littleton pitching. Lopez grounded out, second baseman Kinsler to first baseman Teixeira. Rivera lined out to shortstop M.Young. Bloomquist struck out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left on. Rangers 2, M’s 2.
Rangers ninth: Huber pitching. Kinsler struck out. Laird walked. Matthews Jr. singled to left, Laird to second. On Rivera’s passed ball, Laird to third, Matthews Jr. to second. M.Young singled to left, Laird scored, Matthews Jr. to third. Teixeira grounded into a double play, second baseman Lopez to first baseman Broussard to shortstop Betancourt, Matthews Jr. scored, M.Young out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. Rangers 4, M’s 2.
The week ahead
M vs. Toronto
7:05 p.m., FSN
LH Jake Woods (4-2) vs. LH Ted Lilly (12-12)
T vs. Toronto
7:05 p.m., FSN RH Gil Meche (9-8) vs. RH Shaun Marcum (2-3)
W vs. Toronto
1:35 p.m., no TV
RH Cha Seung Baek (3-0) vs. RH A.J. Burnett (7-7)
Th @ Kansas City
5:10 p.m., Ch. 11
LH Jarrod Washburn (8-13) vs.LH Odalis Perez (5-7)
F @ Kansas City
5:10 p.m., FSN
RH Francisco Cruceta (0-0) vs. RH Luke Hudson (7-5)
Sa @ Kansas City
5:10 p.m., FSN
LH Jake Woods (4-2) vs. LH Mark Redman (9-8)
Su @ Kansas City
11:10 a.m., FSN
RH Gil Meche (9-8) vs. RH Runelvys Hernandez (5-9)
For the record
W/L streak: L-1
At home: 40-32
On road: 28-42
vs. AL West: 14-34
vs. Angels: 9-10
vs. Oakland: 1-15
vs. Texas: 4-9
vs. AL East: 24-17
vs. AL Cen.: 16-19
vs. NL: 14-4
vs. LHP: 20-20
vs. RHP: 48-54
Extra innings: 6-7
Sunday’s crowd: 34,321
Overall attendance: 2,257,488
Season avg. (71 games): 31,795
Biggest crowd: 46,325
Smallest crowd: 16,102
2005 avg. (71 games): 34,578