Mariners shut down by Yanks' Wang
Weaver unsupported until Broussard homers in eighth inning
NEW YORK -- Famine met feast at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, when the Mariners came within five outs of being no-hit less than 24 hours after unleashing a 20-hit assault against the Yankees.But with one out in the eighth inning, and the capacity crowd getting louder with each out, first baseman Ben Broussard sent a Chien-Ming Wang pitch over the fence in right-center field for a home run, ending Wang's bid or a no-hitter and a perfect game. Broussard's bash in the Bronx snapped a string of 22 consecutive batters retired by Wang. "I've broken up a no-hitter in the Minors, but never in the big leagues," Broussard said. "He threw me a fastball on the first pitch, and I think it was an offspeed pitch on the second. I'm not sure." Whatever it was, Broussard ended the drama that was building pitch-by-pitch. Jose Guillen followed with a sharp single, but Seattle never scored after Broussard's homer, absorbing an 8-1 loss before 51,702. The Mariners were last no-hit by Dwight Gooden, also at Yankee Stadium, on May 14, 1995. "After four innings, you don't think about being no-hit," Broussard said. "We hit some balls hard early in the game, so it was not like he was completely dominating. "[Wang] did a good job keeping us off balance, and in the sixth inning, you start realizing that he has a shot at this. We had to be patient and make him start throwing more pitches." That was a tactic that worked well the previous night. Too bad the Mariners couldn't carry over a few runs from Friday night's 15-run outburst for Jeff Weaver, who was facing his former team. "When it goes bad, it goes bad," Weaver said of the offensive discrepancy, "but this was a step in the right direction. I felt a lot better out there, not worrying about mechanics or arm angle. It was nice to get past the third inning and throw more than 100 pitches." Weaver needed a strong showing to stay in the Mariners' rotation, and he came up with his best effort of the season. He held the Yanks to one run over five innings but took it on the chin in the sixth, when New York batted around and scored five runs. "I thought Weaver was awfully good today, I really did," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "He threw strikes, and if he throws like that all year, we'll be all right and he will, too." Hargrove added that the performance earned Weaver another start, which will come on Thursday against the Tigers, another of his former teams. "He had a good sinker going today, got some big strikeouts with his changeup and his slider was good," Hargrove said. "I thought he did a good job." Weaver escaped a second-inning jam unscathed, but there was no such luck in the third, when the Yankees scored the game's first run. Even so, it could have been much worse for the struggling right-hander. The Yankees loaded the bases loaded with nobody out, although only one ball went past the infield. Doug Mientkiewicz drilled a leadoff single to right field and advanced to second on a wild play at first base. Broussard made a diving stab to snag a one-hopper hit by Melky Cabrera. Seeing that he had no play at second, Broussard got to his feet, noticed that Cabrera and Weaver were running neck-and-neck to the base and tried to make the play himself. As Broussard dove glove-first to the base, Weaver and the runner collided. Cabrera never touched the base, but he was called safe. "I thought my glove hit the base before his foot," Broussard said. "It was bang-bang, and I closed my eyes, but I was told that replays showed that [Cabrera] never touched the base." Derek Jeter attempted to bunt the runners into scoring position, and it worked out better than the Yankees expected. Weaver fielded the ball with his bare hand, whirled and threw to third base.
But Willie Bloomquist, subbing for Adrian Beltre, was playing third base on the grass, anticipating a bunt, and he wasn't able to get back to the base to catch Weaver's throw before Mientkiewicz slid into the bag."The play was at third base, but Willie couldn't get back to the bag in time," Hargrove said. That loaded the bases, and Bobby Abreu lifted a sacrifice fly to Ichiro Suzuki in center field. Cabrera tagged at second and sprinted to third, sliding in ahead of Bloomquit's diving tag, he but overslid the base and was tagged out. Weaver ended the inning by retiring Alex Rodriguez on a popup to Bloomquist. The Yankees threatened in the second inning, when Jason Giambi walked with one out and scampered to third when Jorge Posada doubled off the right-field wall. But Weaver slipped a sidearm slider past Robinson Cano for an inning-ending strikeout. "I thought Jeff did a great job, especially in that [second] inning, when they loaded the bases with nobody out and scored only one run," Hargrove said. But Weaver picked the wrong day to improve, because Wang was brilliant. "From what I saw, he was throwing one pitch, and that was a sinker," Bloomquist said. "He varied speeds on it a little bit, from 91-94 [mph]. It has good movement, but there is late movement, which makes him so effective. He got a ton of ground balls and threw a great game. He basically shut us down with one pitch." The Mariners came close to getting a hit three times before Broussard came through. Jose Lopez drilled a shot to Rodriguez in the third inning, and A-Rod made a backhanded catch and threw Lopez out at first. Ichiro drilled a line drive up the middle leading off the fourth inning, but the ball hit Wang solidly and fell to the ground, no more than a foot away from the pitcher, who picked it up and threw in just enough time to get Ichiro at first. Ichiro also came close in the seventh, driving a ball into left-center field, where Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui made a fine over-the-shoulder catch. It created one of the loudest roars of the afternoon in the Bronx. But Broussard finally quieted the masses. "That's my first home run in Yankee Stadium," he said. "That's pretty special."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.