Mariners' win is Feierabend's gift
Lefty doesn't get 'W' but strong outing, rally helps end skid
SEATTLE -- The timing for rookie left-hander Ryan Feierabend was much better on Friday night, and it had nothing to do with the Movado wristwatch his wife gave him for his 23rd birthday earlier in the day.Five days between starts beats three days any time. "It made a big difference to be able to go through my four days of actual workouts and mentally prepare for the game by going over the hitters and things like that," he said after doing his part in the Mariners' 7-5 victory over the Athletics in front of 26,603 at Safeco Field. "That definitely helps out." While Feierabend did not get the win that he deserved, the Mariners bounced back from blowing a four-run lead in the sixth inning, ending a seven-game losing streak. Seattle (47-81) tied the game with a run in the sixth and won it with two runs in the seventh. Second baseman Jose Lopez and catcher Jeff Clement each drove in a run. Four Mariners hitters -- Ichiro Suzuki, Yuniesky Betancourt, Lopez and Clement -- each had two hits, Clement drove in three runs, and right-handed closer J.J. Putz notched his eighth save of the season, his first since June 9. It ended a streak of four consecutive blown saves for the American League's most reliable reliever last season. "J.J. is slowly getting back to his form," manager Jim Riggleman said. "He has shown signs of it lately." A leadoff walk to Eric Patterson on a full-count pitch and one-out single to center put Putz in a bit of a bind, but he induced Frank Thomas to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and get high-fives and handshakes afterwards. "I think I'm getting there," said Putz, who has been on the disabled list twice this season. " [My] velocity is starting to come back, [my] fastball command is starting to come back, and the split is still inconsistent, but I threw some good sliders tonight. The movement on my fastball is back to where it was last year." But best of all, he was standing tall at the end of the game, feeling good about registering a save. "It was a big relief," he said. "It has been a rough year, physically and mentally, and to be able to go out, walk the leadoff hitter and be able to get out of it with a ground ball when we needed it was huge." Putz saved the win for right-handed reliever Roy Corcoran, who improved to 4-0 with two scoreless innings. But the performance turned in by Feierabend drew most of the postgame attention. The left-hander, who posted a 7-1 record and 2.04 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma, surrendered six runs in three innings against the Twins five days ago. But Riggleman said after that game that the 53-pitch tuneup outing that Feieirabend had three days earlier could have been a factor. Turns out, it probably was. "After what happened in Minnesota, to go five innings and give up only run, I'm definitely happy about that," Feierabend (1-1) said. "We had some timely hitting and good defense behind me." He was own best defender in the third inning, when the Athletics had the bases loaded and Thomas at the plate. The count went to 3-and-0 before Feierabend took a deep breath, threw a strike, then another strike and finally more, which caught the Big Hurt looking. "That definitely was the biggest out of the game for me." The only scar on his performance was a one-out solo home run to Rajai Davis in the fourth inning. But Feierabend bucked down and retired five of the last six batters he faced, turning a four-run lead over to the bullpen. "He did a good job and we made a decision to get him out of there," Riggleman said. "He had a rough outing in Minnesota and we wanted to send him home tonight feeling good about his performance with a 'W'. "As it turned out, it cost us some runs and made for kind of a hairy situation. He didn't get the win, but he pitched good." The Athletics welcomed the change, though it hurt a little. The first two batters right-handed reliever Sean Green faced were hit by pitches, setting the table for the four-run rally that put Oakland in front for the second time. Green departed after five batters. Pitchers usually hand the ball to Riggleman and walk off the mound when his replacement is summoned. But Riggleman kept Green around for a few extra minutes. "I thought he was a little upset about being taken out of the game," Riggleman said. "I explained to him that this was not the time to be upset with me, you know. You have to pitch better than that if you want to say in the game. My comments to him were pretty mild, but I reminded him that I had a tough call there to make, and I needed to make it." The move didn't initially pay off as Cliff Pennington dumped a single into right field, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs. Seattle tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a single, a double and an infield out, and retook the lead an inning later, when Adrian Beltre doubled, advanced to third on a grounder to second, and scored when Lopez hit a two-strike pitch up the middle for a go-ahead single. He scored on Clement's two-out double to left-center. "Clement is doing a good job," Riggleman said. "He's been facing a lot of left-handed pitchers here lately and he's battling. He's taking some steps forward and an occasional step back. He took a big step forward tonight." The three RBIs were a career high and he is now batting .351 (21-for-60) in August.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.