Mariners rally to take series from A's
Broussard replaces Sexson, becomes hero in wild victory
SEATTLE -- Ben Broussard wants to play every day, and he's made no secret about how frustrating it is that he doesn't. Rather than take those frustrations out on his team, though, he tries to take it out on the opposing pitcher.Just ask Santiago Casilla. Broussard came through in the most unlikely of ways, and the Mariners rallied after blowing a six-run lead Sunday afternoon to beat the A's, 14-10, in front of 41,961 at Safeco Field. The win was Seattle's third straight, and it was a highly unconventional one at that. If there was a word-of-the-day Sunday, it would have been "throw." For starters, the Mariners wore "throwback" uniforms from 1977, which was their inaugural season. Then, first baseman Richie Sexson was thrown out of the game in the sixth inning after "mocking" umpire Mark Carlson, according to manager John McLaren. To cap it all off, it was an errant throw that allowed the Mariners to win the game. Every one of those throws adds up to one crazy win. Sexson never shouted or cursed at the umpire, but was clearly aggravated when Carlson claimed his foot left the base as he stretched to catch an off-line throw from shortstop Willie Bloomquist. McLaren was initially upset with the ejection, but quickly apologized after he was informed about the exchange between the two. "Richie was a little bit out of line, and the umpire did what he had to do," McLaren said. "I apologized to the umpire, I was not listening to him. He was trying to tell it to me, and I guess the Lou [Piniella] came out of me, because I wasn't hearing much." Broussard, who was in the training room stretching for a possible pinch-hit at bat, was immediately called into the game, much to his surprise. "I had to scamper down, find my glove, my hat, and just run out there," Broussard said. "It was great, I got into a close ballgame, and got to come up and have the chance to make a difference." The A's quickly erased a 6-0 Mariners lead and eventually jumped ahead of them, using a four-run sixth to grab a 10-7 advantage. Seattle quickly got one run back in the seventh, setting up Broussard's dramatic shot. Broussard stepped to the plate later in the inning with two outs, two strikes and a runner on base. All of a sudden, the regularly playing reserve was in a big situation, one he would not have been in had Sexson not been tossed from the game. "I don't get too caught up in it," Broussard said of not being a regular starter. "I just use it as motivation, turn it around and take it out on the pitcher." That he did. Broussard blasted Casilla's 2-2 pitch 401 feet to right field, knotting the score while sending the crowd at Safeco Field into a frenzy. They continued to cheer, and refused to sit down until Broussard left the dugout for a curtain call, his first in Seattle. "I wasn't expecting it," Broussard said. "I was getting beat up in the dugout, and everyone was cheering, and then I got to go out there, and I think it was just more for our team, just a curtain call for the team." Just one inning later the Mariners scored the eventual game-winning run after pitcher Huston Street threw the ball away while fielding an attempted bunt from Jose Lopez, who was trying to advance pinch-runner Jason Ellison from second. First baseman Dan Johnson couldn't handle the throw, and Ellison scored when the ball bounced into foul territory. Broussard tacked on an RBI single in the eighth. As if there wasn't enough going on in Sunday's game, center fielder Ichiro Suzuki became the third-fastest Major Leaguer to reach 1,500 hits with a second-inning single. Ichiro, who has recorded 200 or more hits in each of his six big league seasons, reached the milestone after 1,060 games. "I'm disappointed because people will stop talking about it now," Ichiro joked. "Maybe I should have stopped at 1,499." Only Al Simmons (1,040 games) and George Sisler (1,048) reached the benchmark faster than Ichiro, who surpassed Ty Cobb's mark of 1,070 games. The accomplishment came in the midst of a Mariners' outburst, where they recorded six runs in the game's first two innings. Starter Jarrod Washburn and reliever Chris Reitsma were unable to hold the lead though, as they allowed a combined nine runs in a span of four innings. But, just as they have done 32 times this season, the Mariners scratched and clawed their way back into the game, giving them a huge boost on the eve of a three-game series with the division-leading Angels. "Any head-to-head game with them is going to be big for us just because that's who we're chasing," Broussard said. "We know we just have to go out and play good baseball, and figure out ways to win." However, the game arguably belonged to Broussard, who finished the game 2-for-2 with three RBIs and one run scored. He is now hitting .287 on the season, but is continually mentioned in trade talks. "If something happens, and we lose somebody on the team, whether it's me or anybody else, it's kind of the nature of the game," Broussard said. "It's hard, but at the same time it can be exciting." For a moment, though, he spoke for the team on the field. The rally seemed like the culmination of a team coming together at the right moment. And as Broussard watched his monster blast sail just under the Hit it Here Café level in right field, he pointed to his teammates, who were just as fired up as the fans. "I can't explain it," he said of the moment. "I was just pumped for me team more than anything. I hit it and looked at them, and I was just kind of fired up seeing them respond."
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.