SEATTLE – Ben Broussard was on the trainer’s table, stretching out in the event of a late-inning pinch hitting appearance when he realized his day was going to start earlier than he had planned.
Watching his team on the training room TV, he saw Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson arguing a call with first base umpire Mark Carlson. Seconds later, Sexson was ejected and Broussard was scrambling to get into the game.
One inning later, Broussard made the most of his unexpected appearance, hitting a game-tying two-run home run that highlighted a 14-10 comeback win against Oakland in front of 41,961 at Safeco Field Sunday.
Broussard also added an RBI single in Seattle’s four-run eighth inning that gave the Mariners a third straight win.
“I was getting stretched,” he explained. “That’s kind of my routine every day. About the fifth or sixth inning I’m getting stretched. I had just started it and I saw the play. I saw Richie say something and I thought, ‘Oh, don’t get tossed.’ Then all of a sudden it was like, he got tossed. I had to sprint down, find my glove and my hat and run out there and throw five or six throws and be ready. It was a good little adrenaline rush, it got me going.”
Broussard, who is batting .287 in limited action this season, makes no qualms about his desire to play more.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I want to be in there every day. It’s one of those things I have no control over, so I just have to go out there and take care of business when I’m between the lines. They know. I’ve let them know how I feel many times. If I go out there and play good, it’s going to make it hard for them not to get me in there. I don’t get too caught up in it. I try to use it as motivation and try to turn it around and take it out on the pitcher.”
Broussard’s big game was just part of the reason the Mariners avoided an embarrassing loss after jumping out to an early lead.
After putting up two runs in the first inning, the Mariners made it 6-0 in the second when Adrian Beltre hit a three-run home run, his 16th of the year.
Oakland responded with three runs in the third off of Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn, who wasn’t at his best Sunday. Washburn lasted only five innings, giving up five runs – three earned. Of the 15 outs he recorded, none came via the ground ball.
In relief of Washburn, Chris Reitsma allowed four runs in the sixth as Oakland built a 9-7 lead with the A’s bullpen cruising through the Mariners lineup.
Ichiro Suzuki, who earlier in the day collected his 1,500th career hit, led off the seventh inning with a bunt single that ended a streak of nine consecutive batters retired by Oakland’s bullpen.
After stealing second and third, Suzuki scored on Beltre’s RBI single. The Mariners tied the score when the next batter, Broussard, hit a two-run home run.
“Ben’s hit was huge,” said Mariners manager John McLaren. “Ben has been big for us. Ben would like to play every day. When you have played regular and done well, it’s a tough assignment to be sitting next to me sometimes. There’s no doubt that he’s an everyday player and he’s not able to play for us on an everyday basis right now, but I respect the way he’s a professional. He’s there for us whenever we need him.”
After Sean Green worked a scoreless eighth, the Mariners took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning. Kenji Johjima led off the inning with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Jason Ellison. Ellison scored on a throwing error on Jose Lopez’s sacrifice bunt.
“Today was a game that we could not lose,” said Johjima. “It was a very big game for us. What happened I think will help us in the future.”
Jose Guillen added a two-run single with the bases loaded in the four-run eighth, and Broussard added his second hit of his abbreviated game to drive in Vidro for the final run.
“It’s so easy when you get behind to say, ‘This is not our day’ or whatever, but these guys never took that mindset,” said McLaren. “They got the job done and that’s a credit to them.”