Opponent: New York Yankees
When : 7:10 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Where: Safeco Field
TV: ROOT Sports, all three games
Radio: ESPN710 AM, all three games
Pitchers: Today -- Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez (14-11, 3.15 earned run average) vs. right-hander Phil Hughes (4-5, 6.41). Tuesday -- Left-hander Charlie Furbush (3-8, 4.84) vs. right-hander A.J. Burnett (9-11, 5.27). Wednesday -- Left-hander Jason Vargas (8-13, 4.49) vs. right-hander Ivan Nova (15-4, 3.94).
For 15 minutes before Sunday's game at Safeco Field, there was perspective.
The Mariners and Royals mixed with police, fire, medical and rescue personnel along the baselines, a giant American flag was unfurled in center field and the somber sound of "Amazing Grace" wailed from bagpipes. Following that was the "National Anthem" as only a military band can play it.
Teams throughout major league baseball, which was part of the emotional healing after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, honored the victims and heroes on Sunday.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was in Buffalo, N.Y., as manager of the Indians' Class AAA team on the morning of the attacks preparing to join the big-league team. Pitching coach Carl Willis was on a flight home to Durham, N.C., when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
"At a moment's notice, whatever your perspective was on life, it changed," Wedge said. "What was so important to you literally 10 seconds before was put back into perspective."
Wedge said he has asked a few of the Mariners' players what they were doing on 9/11/01 and learned how much older he is.
"One guy told me he was in fourth grade and he remembered his mom picking him up from school and driving him home," Wedge said.
The teacher's best moment
Steve Delabar couldn't mask his joy amid a tough loss by the Mariners on Sunday. For a guy who thought his career was over after six minor league seasons and a 2009 elbow injury, it was OK to smile.
The 28-year-old Delabar, who started this year as a high school substitute teacher in Kentucky, pitched a scoreless ninth inning and struck out two in his major league debut.
"Everybody asked how nervous I was," he said. "When they first called my name, I was really nervous. I had to take a few deep breaths before I started throwing because I had to calm my nerves."
He threw a strike on his first major league pitch before getting Alcides Escobar to fly out to center field. Delabar then struck out the Royals' Alex Gordon and Melky Cabrera.
Of the 16 rookies with the Mariners, Delabar is the oldest.
He was he Padres' 29th-round draft pick in 2003 and he never pitched above the Class A level before an elbow injury and subsequent surgery to insert a steel plate in 2009. He went into teaching and early this year was a high school sub in Elizabethtown, Ky., where he also helped coach the John Hardin High baseball team.
He tried out with the Mariners in April and they signed him to a minor league contract, and he progressed from Class A High Desert to Class AA Jackson to AAA Tacoma. The Mariners called him up Sept. 6.
That heartwarming story aside, the important part Sunday to manager Eric Wedge was that Delabar pitched an effective ninth inning in a close game.
"Very impressive," Wedge said. "He kept it a one-run ballgame in the ninth inning and gave us a chance to come back. His fastball was good, he was under control, his delivery was fluid. He threw some real good splitters as well. It was real good to get him out there."
Mariners hitters struck out 51 times in the four-game series, including 28 times in the final two games. Shawn Kelley, who had partial "Tommy John" elbow surgery Sept. 1 last year, hasn't allowed a run in his four relief appearances since returning to the Mariners this month. Of the Mariners' 146 games, 76 have been decided by two runs or less. They're 23-25 in one-run games and 10-18 in two-run games.
Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer
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