Wave of offense lifts Mariners to win
Hall contributes in debut with club to help drop Indians
CLEVELAND -- The Mariners found the perfect way to rebound from a tough loss -- jump out to a big lead, hit a few balls out of the park and turn it over to your pitching staff.The Mariners used that formula in Friday night's 9-4 win over the Indians at Progressive Field. The result was far more pleasing for manager Don Wakamatsu, who watched his team suffer a crushing 7-6 defeat Thursday in Detroit, when Seattle couldn't hold a pair of four-run leads and lost in the ninth when closer David Aardsma gave up two runs. "You come off a series like Detroit, where you feel like you shortchanged yourself, to come right back out and play good baseball and swing the bats is nice to see," Wakamatsu said. The effects from the loss didn't last long. The Mariners scored seven runs in the first four innings. Josh Wilson, Jose Lopez and Russell Branyan homered, and Bill Hall drove in two runs and had two hits in his Seattle debut. Luke French won for the second time in four starts since being acquired from the Tigers on July 31. The left-hander pitched six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. French is 2-1 with Seattle and 3-3 overall. "From the first pitch tonight, I felt like I was on my game," he said. "My slider was working. It was a little sharper tonight. I think I got five of my six strikeouts with the slider." Hall, making his first appearance since being acquired from Milwaukee on Wednesday, got the start in left field instead of his usual spot at third base. He delivered an RBI single in his first at-bat in the second and added a sacrifice fly in the third. Hall also doubled in the seventh. Hall's big hit in his first at-bat made for a nice transition to his new team. "That made it a lot easier," Hall said. "I hadn't played in a week or a week and a half. I was wondering about my timing. Getting a hit in my first at-bat helped me forget about my timing." Hall's single followed walks to Mike Sweeney and Branyan. After Sweeney's RBI single in the third off David Huff broke a 1-1 tie, Branyan walked again. Hall came up with the bases loaded and hit a fly ball to center that was deep enough to score Lopez. "I think getting a hit the first time helped me relax in my second at-bat," Hall said. "With the bases loaded and one out, I was just looking to drive the ball to the outfield and get the RBI." The Mariners blew it open with a four-run fourth. Wilson's solo homer came with one out. After Ichiro Suzuki doubled, Franklin Gutierrez singled for another run before Lopez hit a two-run homer. The offensive outburst left French with a 7-1 lead as he went to the mound in the bottom of the fourth. "I always tell myself it's 0-0," he said. "You get a couple runs early, and sometimes you relax. I've learned that doesn't work, so I think like it's 0-0 all the time." Branyan added a solo homer in the seventh. Hall was acquired from the Brewers for Minor League pitcher Ruben Flores. Asked why Hall debuted in left instead of third, his primary position with Milwaukee, Wakamatsu said, "We're looking at more the matchup with the two lefties." The Indians will start Aaron Laffey, another lefty, on Saturday night.
Outfielder Michael Saunders, who opened the season on the disabled list because of surgery on his right shoulder, didn't start Friday night."His shoulder is fine," Wakamatsu said. "It gives him a break from a lefty. It gives Billy a chance to play." Wakamatsu said Hall will probably start at third Saturday night. "We talked about once we got him we wanted to see him play a little bit," Wakamatsu said. "This gives us two days to take a look at him." Hall appeared in 66 games, making 50 starts, at third base for the Brewers. He played seven games in the outfield, including seven starts. Hall was designated for assignment by the Brewers on Aug. 11. He batted .201 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 76 games with Milwaukee.
Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.