There was much to like for Mariners fans in Seattle’s 2-0 victory over Oakland, including a reminder that in Jarrod Washburn they have a legitimate No. 2 starter.
There was also a telling play in the eighth inning that didn’t figure in the outcome, but certainly could have.
Ichiro Suzuki was on first base and Yuniesky Betancourt at third with one out. A ground ball, a sacrifice fly, Seattle would have another run.
Except Ichiro fell asleep at first base – and Oakland’s Joe Blanton picked him off. Ichiro’s first move was to get back, but when he couldn’t he took off for second, and Betancourt went for the plate.
Betancourt was out, and the Mariners didn’t get the extra run.
Manager Mike Hargrove wasn’t happy, but he related. He remembered doing the same thing one year against Baltimore.
"I was leading off first and I wasn’t more than about three feet off the bag," Hargrove said. "I looked at the mound and then I took my focus off the pitcher and looked at the plate – and McNally threw the ball right past my nose to first. My only reaction was to jump straight up, that’s how startled I was.