08/20/12 9:25 PM ET
Kinney happy to get second chance at first save
By Greg Johns and Josh Liebeskind / MLB.com
Kinney finally got another chance Sunday, gutting out a 2 1/3-inning, 42-pitch performance for an extended save.
"If I'd a had to go and finish my career and say, 'Well, I never got a save, but I was pretty close to getting one,' that would be a good story, too," Kinney said.
But don't get Kinney wrong, he wanted the save, and the 33-year-old is more than happy to be able to tell his save story with a different ending.
"I'm glad I got one, at least, to my name," he said with a grin. "Yesterday's game was cool. I threw a lot of pitches and it got ugly there at the end. I was cruising and then lost it on a couple of hitters. Wedge kept me in there, I'm glad he did. I'm glad Tom [Wilhelmsen] didn't have to come in, he had the day off. It was just good to get it over with, and I got a save."
Kinney also did the Mariners a favor. With Stephen Pryor not available and Wedge trying to stay away from Wilhelmsen, the closer, Kinney's extended appearance allowed the bullpen to start its series with the Indians on Monday with their closer available.
As for Luetge, well, Kinney has some bragging rights back.
"We're tied. We're on the leaderboard," he laughed. "We each have one behind Tom."
Mariners expect big crowd for Felix's next act
SEATTLE -- With the Mariners turning Safeco Field into the "Supreme Court" on Tuesday for Felix Hernandez's first start since his perfect game, a near-capacity crowd of yellow-shirted fans is expected to cheer on Seattle's ace.
And Hernandez, who already gets a kick out of the 800 fanatics in the normal King's Court rooting section down the left-field line, isn't quite sure how he's going to feel seeing the entire Safeco throng wearing the new "King of Perfection" T-shirts and waving "K" cards when he's pitching.
"I don't know how it's going to be," Hernandez said Monday, unable to suppress a grin. "I think I'm going to get chills. I don't know what I'm going to do. But it'll be good. I'm really looking forward to it."
Among those in attendance will be his wife, Sandra, and kids Mia and Abraham. Those are his biggest fans and they flew back to Seattle on Monday after a week in Venezuela that ironically kept them away from his biggest moment yet as a Mariner.
"They always come to my games. Always," he said. "This was the first time they didn't come and I throw a perfect game. It's the first time in five years my wife hasn't been there."
But there have been a lot of firsts for Hernandez since he kept the Rays silent for 27 straight outs last Wednesday. He won his first American League Player of the Week honor on Monday. He's been dealing with the uproar of his accomplishment in some way every day since.
And now he's coming to grips with the "Felixing" phenomena, with various fans and celebrities striking the one-foot-up, both-arms-raised-to-the-sky pose he struck after the final out Wednesday.
"That's another crazy thing," he said. "People everywhere are doing it. That's unbelievable. I don't know why I did that, for real. It had to be special, right? Sometimes I yell or do something else. I don't know.
"I always kiss my wrists [where he has the names of his kids tattooed], but that was different. [Franklin Gutierrez] was asking me, 'Why did you do that? And I said, 'I don't know. I don't know. I don't even know what I'm doing right now.'"
Sounders soccer star Freddy Montero, who struck the "Felix" pose after scoring a goal this weekend, will throw out the first pitch Tuesday.
Wedge non-committal on September callups
SEATTLE -- With only 10 games remaining before the calendar turns to September, manager Eric Wedge said the Mariners will definitely add some players from the Minor Leagues when rosters are allowed to be expanded for the season's final month.
But Wedge wasn't ready to name names, other than saying first baseman Mike Carp and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez would be brought back once their injury-rehab sessions are done.
Even when asked specifically about pitcher Danny Hultzen, last year's first-round Draft pick, Wedge declined to provide any clues. Hultzen threw five innings of no-hit ball on Sunday for Triple-A Tacoma.
"We just want him to continue to pitch and stay focused on what he's doing down there and not get caught up in looking beyond that," Wedge said. "There's always an adjustment phase when you go from one level to the next. He threw a good ballgame last night, that was good. Let's let him focus on his routine and getting ready for his next start."
Gutierrez, returning from a concussion, played his second rehab game Sunday and went 2-for-4 with a double.
"I saw him last night and he had a good look in his eye," Wedge said. "It's exciting to get him back out playing again."
Carp, on the disabled list with a strained left groin muscle, played catch on Monday for the first time since injuring himself on Aug. 14, but is still a ways off from playing in games.
• An update from STATS, Inc.: The 42 consecutive batters retired by the Mariners from the ninth inning of Tuesday's win over the Rays to the fifth inning of Friday's victory over the Twins was the longest such stretch by a Major League team since 1947.
Included in that span, of course, were the 27 outs by Felix Hernandez in his perfect game. The previous long was 40 by the Rangers in 1996 and Pirates in 1959.
• After struggling to hit at home early in the season and having their batting average under .200 for much of the first two months, the Mariners have gradually pulled their Safeco Field average up to .214 with their latest stretch of games.
Seattle still ranks last in the AL in scoring at home at 3.13 runs per game, though it averaged 4.2 per game over the last 13 games going into Monday's series opener with the Indians.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.