It seemed like everything had been going right against the Seattle Mariners lately.
And with the Boston Red Sox, one of the best teams in the American League in town, things were not looking up. Especially with undefeated Daisuke Matsuzaka starting for Boston, the odds of the Mariners winning Tuesday night were slim.
But for one day, Seattle was able to look like the superior team, as they beat the Red Sox 4-3 with a walk-off, two-out single by second baseman José López to score outfielder Wladimir Balentien for the win.
In fact, tonight the Mariners were showing a level of teamwork they haven't shown very much this whole season. They were continually and steadily adding a run at a time to chip away against Boston pitching.
It began right away in the first inning, when the Mariners scored twice.
The home half of the first started off with Ichiro Suzuki hitting a double to lead off the inning, and he advanced to third on a bunt by López. Matsuzaka fielded the ball and made a quick throw to third, but it wasn't in time.
Ichiro scored on a ground ball to second hit by designated hitter José Vidro. José López was out on the play. Then left fielder Raúl Ibañez hit a double to left-center to score Vidro from first base.
The Mariners tacked on a third run in the third inning with more small ball.
Ichiro led off the inning with a solid single into center field. He swiped second base for his 22nd stolen base this year. An error by Boston first baseman Sean Casey on a ball hit by Vidro allowed Ichiro to advance to third. Raúl Ibañez got his 34th RBI this season after grounding into a fielder's choice at second base, scoring Ichiro.
Matsuzaka left the game after four innings due to an injury of some sort. As of when this article was being written, details were unavailable.
All of the Red Sox offense came in the top of the sixth inning, as left fielder Manny Ramírez hit his 499th career home run off of Mariners starter Miguel Batista, a three-run shot to right field scoring David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.
The sixth was the only inning that an otherwise dominant Batista struggled in seven innings of work.
While both teams had more chances to score, no more runs were scored until the ninth inning.
Mariners closer J.J. Putz came in and held the tie, giving Seattle the chance to win in the home half of the inning. Balentien led off the inning with a single, and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Miguel Cairo.
A groundout to second by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt allowed Balentien to move up to third. After Ichiro was intentionally walked, José López drove a Mike Timlin pitch solidly into left field, scoring Balentien for the walk off win.
J.J. Putz picked up his second win, improving his record to 2-2, while former Mariner Mike Timlin's record dropped to 2-3. Matsuzaka had a no-decision, and therefore remains undefeated with a record of 8-0, and Batista, also with a no-decision, remains at 3-6 on the year.
The win ends a seven-game losing streak for Seattle.