SEATTLE (AP)—Mariners defensive replacement Ryan Langerhans(notes) was preparing to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning Tuesday night when veteran teammate Mike Sweeney(notes) gave him an unsolicited pep talk.
“C’mon, man! Just pop the tape in the VCR and hit play!” the former Oakland Athletics said to Langerhans.
Langerhans channeled the vision of his last big hit in a similar situation, then nailed a pitch from Oakland’s Craig Breslow(notes) for his second game-ending home run as a late-game substitute in three weeks that sent scrappy Seattle to a 4-2 victory over the Athletics.
Franklin Gutierrez’s(notes) singled with one out in the 10th off Breslow (5-7), who is tied for the most losses among major league relievers. It was Gutierrez’s fifth hit and seventh time on base in the two games he’s been leading off while Ichiro Suzuki(notes) rests a tight calf muscle.
Then Langerhans, who entered for defense the inning before, smacked a 2-2 pitch into the first row of seats beyond right field. His winning homer landed in almost the same spot his two-run shot in the 11th inning on Aug. 7, when he entered in the seventh inning and then beat Tampa Bay.
Guess who was the first to meet Langerhans screaming “I told you so!” amid his latest mobbing at home plate. Yep, Sweeney’s grin was as big as his advice.
“When I crossed the plate, he was beaming,” said Langerhans, who spent two games with Oakland in 2007 between stints with Atlanta and Washington.
Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) got the small, quiet crowd on its feet during a pinch-hitting appearance with a man on and one out in the eighth against Michael Wuertz(notes). Griffey was 4 for 6 with two home runs against him, but the 39-year-old slugger struck out waving over a 2-2 pitch in the dirt.
Gutierrez stole second on that pitch. Then Jose Lopez(notes) chopped a ball to the right of charging third baseman Adam Kennedy(notes). Gutierrez slowed his run to third, veered onto the infield grass and almost looped around the ball. It clanged off Kennedy’s glove and kicked away for a game-tying error.
“I got an in-between hop and just missed it,” Kennedy said while claiming he didn’t notice Gutierrez.
“I mean, he’s our secret weapon,” Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said of the reserve acquired from the Nationals two months ago.
Last week’s trade for Hall has already led to at least one win for the Mariners. Wakamatsu admitted he wouldn’t have even made the move to insert Langerhans a week ago, before his team acquired Hall from Milwaukee for a minor leaguer. The Mariners currently have just four outfielders with Suzuki out. Hall is the only one who can also play infield.
Kennedy’s single that scored Mark Ellis(notes) in the seventh inning had put Oakland up 2-1. That was the last pitch thrown by Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes), who allowed nine hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings.
A’s rookie Brett Anderson(notes) allowed one run and six hits with eight strikeouts in seven impressive innings. The 21-year-old left-hander, Oakland’s centerpiece in the trade that sent Dan Haren(notes) to Arizona following the 2007 season, leads major league rookies with 117 strikeouts.
“The kid’s 21 years old, and he’s awfully impressive,” said Wakamatsu, Oakland’s bench coach last year.
NOTES: Wakamatsu had hoped to have Suzuki back Wednesday, but now says it could be Thursday or later. … Seattle 1B Russell Branyan(notes) tied it at 1 in the second with his 31st home run. Branyan extended his career high in homers and ended an 0-for-13 skid since he last home run on Saturday in Cleveland. … A’s 3B Eric Chavez(notes), who had season-ending surgery in June, is in Seattle getting his back treated and sat with his team in the dugout Monday. Manager Bob Geren said the six-time Gold Glover looks “really good” and strong and that he is planning to resume baseball activities in January, “if not before.”