Wow. What else do you really say, but, wow. A fantastic game that had a little bit everything, good pitching, solid defensive plays and the dramatic ending.
Be honest, did the hairs on the back of your neck and arms stand up when Ken Griffey Jr. strode to home plate with his signature pigeon-toed strut as the remaining crowd at Safeco Field roared and flash bulbs exploded? It was one of the better moments of a seasons, filled with good moments. Think about the good moments last year. Right now I can’t remember one.
“It’s just destiny when he’s up,” said Chris Jakubauskas, who got the win in relief. “It’s 20 plus years in the big leagues. He’s been in every situation at least twice and probably knows what pitch is going to thrown before the pitcher does.”
Junior provided the heroics as only he can. And of course, he could only comment on it as only he can.
“The first eight innings was going along nicely and then all of sudden the brakes got put on,” he said. “A couple guys started to get hunger and I just decided to send them home at a reasonable hour.”
He let that be known to manager Don Wakamatsu.
“Griffey said that if I had been a little smarter and gotten him into the game a little sooner, we could have all gone home earlier and had a nice dinner,” Wakamatsu said. “A guy like him is made for the spotlight.”
But for as much as Junior wanted to make light of his game-winning single in the bottom of the 14th, he also tried to keep things perspective.
“In all seriousness, these guys battled all day,” he said. “It’s the least I can do is go up and give them a good at-bat. From 7 p.m. till 10:50, they made some great plays defensively. It was an unbelievable game.”
For a game to reach 14 innings at 0-0, two things need to happen – 1. good pitching, 2. solid defense.
“I don’t think people realize it,” Griffey said. “We were sitting up here talking about all the amazing plays that were being made.”
The good pitching was apparent from the start as starting pitchers Felix Hernandez and Mark Buerhle both gave solid outings.
Hernandez pitched 7 innings and allowed just six hits, while striking out 10 and walking four and all the while battling a calf that kept cramping and causing issues.
“I had it before, I think two years ago,” he said.
Buerhle was just as good, pitching 8 innings, also allowing six hits and striking out three.
Then there were the bullpens. The Mariners bullpen quartet of Sean White, Mark Lowe, Shawn Kelley and Chris Jakubauskas allowed just four hits and two walks over seven innings, while striking out seven.
"They pitched real well” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “They bring some arms out there. They may be the best bullpen we have faced all year long. They’re pretty solid."
The second aspect was the defense. Let’s rip off the good plays.
&bull Ichiro throws out Laynce Nix at home in the fifth with Rob Johnson making a nice block on the play.
&bull Jack Hannahan comes in for an injured Jack Wilson and makes a handful of solid plays including a pretty diving stop for an out.
&bull Jose Lopez makes a couple nice stabs of hard hit balls.
&bull Adrian Beltre fields a tough Podsednik bunt and makes a brilliant play on an off-balance throw.
&bull Rob Johnson picks off a sleeping Scott Posednik at third base, crushing an almost sure run opportunity. Guillen was not pleased.
"We did everything bad to lose this game,” Guillen said. “We got picked off at 3rd-base. We had a lot of opportunities to score when we didn’t."
When asked for more specifics about the pick-off, Guillen, as always, didn’t hold back.
"You don’t expect that to happen at the big league level,” he said. “You expect everyone to know what they’re doing. I guess he was thinking about something else."
Guillen wasn’t happy, and Griffey joked at his expense a little.
“Oh, Ozzie is so mad me right now,” Griffey said with a smile.
As for the team pounding that Griffey took in the outfield, he took it in good spirits.
“I’m going to look at the video tape and there’s going to be a massacre tomorrow,” he said.
WHITE SOX NOTES:
&bull Tonight’s game remained scoreless through 14 innings… was the first time Chicago has remained scoreless through 13 innings since Sept. 22nd 1975 @CA… game stayed scoreless through 15… Angels won in 16.
&bull Mark Buehrle took the no decision but pitched 8.0 shutout innings, avoiding a loss for the first time since his Perfect Game (7/23 vs. TB)… now thrown at least 6.0 IP in 20 of 24 starts… Sox are 15-9 in his starts (42-49 otherwise).
&bull Buehrle caught Mike Sweeney in a pickoff at 1st base in the 2nd inning… has 62 pickoffs since 2001 (his first full season) and leads the Major Leagues during that span.
&bull Tony Pena has given up runs in all three appearances vs. Seattle this season (6/19 w/ARZ, 8/10 w/CWS) including game-winners in this series; Kenji Johjima’s 2-run HR on Monday and Ken Griffey Jr.’s walk-off single today.
&bull Jim Thome’s walk in the 3rd inning tied Eddie Yost for 10th on the all-time list (1,614)… already the current active leader in BB, and is a .600 hitter (6×10) against Felix.
&bull Making his first start for the White Sox since being claimed off waivers from Toronto, Alex Rios went 1×6.
&bull The Mariners recorded their first ever 1-0 win in extra innings…was their 28th one-run victory (28-14 overall) and are now 7-4 in extra-inning games…10th walk-off win of the season, 3rd in Majors behind NYY and LAD (11).
&bull Tonight’s game was the 1st time Mariners history to remain scoreless through 14 innings… first time Mariners have been in a 0-0 ballgame through 9 innings since July 18, 2001 @ KC and the first 0-0 game through 10 innings since April 24, 1993 vs. NYY.
&bull Ken Griffey Jr. singled home the game-winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning.
&bull Seattle concluded their 3-game series against Chicago with a 1-0 victory…are now 13-3 in "rubber games" to decide a 3-game series, including 12 of last 13…Seattle is 23-13-1 in series this season, including 16 of last 20.
&bull Felix Hernandez went 7.0 strong innings, holding the Sox scoreless and tying his season-high for strikeouts (10, last: 5/24 vs. SF)… now tied for 1st in the AL (Z. Greinke, KC) with 19 "quality starts" on the season… took the mound after a Mariners loss for the 16th time this season and is 11-3 with a 2.32 ERA (29 ER, 112.1 IP) in those games.
&bull Ichiro made a standout double play in the 5th, catching Jason Nix attempting to tag from 3rd base… Ichiro later added a double and is batting .440 (18×40) against Buehrle for his career.
&bull Mark Lowe extended his scoreless innings streak to 9.1 innings, now T-2nd in AL with 21 Holds.
&bull In 10th inning, Rob Johnson picked off Scott Podsednik at 3rd base with 1-out and runners on 1st and 3rd for 2nd out.
&bull Adrian Beltre went 3×6, his 4th straight multi-hit game, extending his hitting streak to 8 games…batting .444 (16×36) during the streak and .390 (16×41) since returning from the disabled list August 4th.
&bull Rob Johnson went 1×3 and has hit safely in 16 of last 19 games (.299/20×67), raising his average from .195 to .230.
&bull Ryan Langerhans sacrifice bunt in the 8th was the Mariners AL-leading 47th sacrifice bunt.
&bull Jack Wilson left the game in the 5th inning after aggravating his left-hamstring and was replaced by Jack Hannahan.