Mariners 7, Athletics 3
Ellison started a four-run rally and then touched off the brouhaha in Seattle’s 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
“It was a situation where we were all sticking up for the team,” Ellison said.
Ellison, in the starting lineup because of a late scratch to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, had a career-high four hits and scored the game-tying run in the seventh inning. Jose Lopez had three hits, including his eighth home run, and drove in two runs.
But it’s what Ellison did after scoring that will be remembered.
After Raul Ibanez hit a bases-clearing double, the relay throw from shortstop Bobby Crosby got by A’s catcher Jason Kendall. As Oakland starter Joe Blanton tried to retrieve the ball near the Seattle dugout, he shoved Suzuki, who had scored on the play.
Ellison, the closest player to the incident, took exception and went after Blanton, and the dugouts cleared.
“I didn’t really know how big he was,” Ellison said. “If I did I might have thought twice. We were just giving each other high-five’s after scoring and all I knew was (Blanton) pushed Ichiro. That’s something you just don’t do.”
Blanton and Batista were ejected from the game.
“The umpire said he saw someone jump the fence (near the dugout) and when I looked over the only guy I saw was Batista,” Mariners manager John McLaren said. “The umpires told me Ichiro would get tossed unless I could tell them who jumped the fence. Batista was standing there and I wasn’t going to let Ichiro get ejected. I know Batista took exception to that.”
Blanton (8-5) saw his three-game winning streak end after allowing six runs and a career-high 12 hits over six-plus innings. He didn’t record an out in the seventh, giving up hits to Ellison, Suzuki and Lopez before Ibanez’s double.
“I was just going after the ball,” Blanton said. “They had a lot of guys standing around who had scored and were on deck. I hit somebody and I’m not even sure what happened after that. I didn’t think I did anything wrong. (Ellison) was trying to get his teammate’s back and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s other stuff he did that bothers me, but I’m not going to say.”
Ichiro had the last laugh.
“The fact that the person who got pushed was not as excited as everybody else was funny to me,” he said through an interpreter. “I didn’t feel like I was pushed; it was more like getting out of the way. I understood why he did what he did and at the same time I was happy to see Ellison do what he did. The way we’re playing it feels like this team is bonding.”
Sean Green (2-1) got the win after pitching 1 2-3 scoreless innings of relief. Eric O’Flaherty pitched out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth to keep Seattle close. He got Bobby Kielty to hit into a 1-2-3 double play and then induced an Eric Chavez groundout.
“I was thinking get a ground ball,” O’Flaherty said of Kielty’s at-bat. “It was a slow chopper so I had time to gather myself. We’ve been getting a strong effort from everybody in the bullpen the whole season.”
Mariners starter Ryan Feierabend lasted four-plus innings, giving up three runs and five hits. He walked four and struck out one.
Suzuki hit a triple on Blanton’s first pitch of the game and scored on Lopez’s infield groundout.
Eric Chavez hit a one-out home run, his 13th, in the second to tie the game at 1-1.
Lopez’s homer made it 2-1 Mariners in the fifth but Adrian Beltre’s throwing error allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the fifth.
Kendall and Shannon Stewart singled to open the frame. Mark Ellis laid down a bunt which Beltre gloved, hesitated and then threw side-arm. The ball skipped past Lopez and wound up in the Mariners’ bullpen.
Beltre, who was 9-of-16 in the series, singled in a run in the ninth.
The Mariners have won four of their last five games, and 12 of 15 heading into the All-Star break. The A’s have lost four of five and are 7-15 over their last 22 games.
McLaren became the second Mariners manager (Mike Hargrove was the first) to record a winning record on his first road trip when Seattle completed a 4-3 trip through Kansas City and Oakland. … Stewart’s single extended his hitting streak to 14 games. … The Mariners are 7-2 against the A’s thus far after going 2-17 against them, including 0-9 in Oakland, last year. … J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless ninth to become the second Mariners pitcher to finish the first half with an ERA under 1.00, joining Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2003).