By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Charlie Furbush’s anger after giving up a walk-off home run on Monday in the final of Cleveland’s four-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners was hard to miss.
Postgame, as he searched for answers, his face was still a reddish-purple hue of frustration.
He couldn’t wait to get back on the mound again to help erase that last outing.
Furbush got that chance on Wednesday and he pitched well, throwing three perfect innings of relief in the Mariners’ 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
“I just tried to make some pitches and keep it down in the zone,” Furbush said. “I just tried to do the best I could given the situation.”
Obviously, coming into the game in the fourth inning with your team down 7-0 isn’t quite the same as pitching in the 10th inning of a tie game like in Cleveland. There isn’t that same pressure.
But with starting pitcher Brandon Maurer lasting three innings, Furbush knew he had to give the Mariners and his overworked bullpen-mates more than just one inning.
“I did the best I could, given the situation I was in,” Furbush said. “I knew I was going to have to give us a couple of innings. And I just tried to work as fast I could and get in and get out of there.
Besides the three perfect innings, Furbush also struck out Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout along the way. He was the first lefty reliever to throw three or more perfect innings of relief in a game for the Mariners since Paul Mirabella in 1984
“I was telling Tom (Wilhelmsen) today that I felt pretty good when we were playing catch,” Furbush said. “I was just glad that it translated into the game.
Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge was pleased to see Furbush bounce back. Before the loss in Cleveland, Wedge liked what he saw from Furbush in the prior two outings, throwing 32/3 perfect innings with five strikeouts.
“It was nice to see Charlie go back out there and pitched the way he pitched,” Wedge said “That was big for him.”
Saunders bats second
Wedge did a little shuffling with the lineup on Wednesday, dropping leadoff hitter Michael Saunder to second with lefty C.J. Wilson on the mound. After being such a catalyst to the offense when he came off the disabled list, Saunders’ bat has cooled.
Going into Wednesday’s game, Saunders was batting .125 (4-for-32) with 13 strikeouts over his last eight games.
“I don’t think it’s fatigue,” Wedge said. “I think he’s expanded the zone a little from time to time. When he stays within his zone, he does damage. I think he’s just expanded his zone, trying to do a little too much. We’re at our best when these guys are willing and able to set the bat down and take a walk and let the next guy get a shot at it. When they try to do too much or get a little greedy up there, that’s when you get in trouble.”
Jason Bay (Trail, B.C.) and Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.) are the first Canadians to bat 1-2 in a starting lineup since at least 1921. Lineup information before then is relatively unavailable. … Robert Andino made the start at third base, his third different position in three straight games having played second base on Monday and shortstop on Tuesday. He became the sixth Mariners player to start three different infield positions in three consecutive games. Kyle Seager started at the same three positions in three games in 2011. … Kendrys Morales has a hit in 15 of his past 18 games (3-for-4 on Tuesday), and 8-of-9 games on the road trip. … Brendan Ryan went 2-for-3 with a double. It was his fourth multi-hit game in his past six games.