Yes you read it right; Jose Lopez the Mariners much maligned third basemen clobbered three home runs tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays to lead his club to a 6-3 victory! Lopez homered off three different pitchers, hitting solo shots in the third and the sixth, then connecting for a 2-run bomb in the eighth. In an interview after the game Lopez said this was the first time in his entire baseball career where he has accomplished this rare feat.
I am not even sure how to write this post as it has been so long since a Mariner; especially Lopez has been hot for a whole game like this. The last Mariner to connect for three homers in a single game was Alex Rodriguez in 2000, and of course Mike Cameron had 4 bombs on May 2 2002 against the White Sox, so this has to go down as one of the highlights of the season…. Yikes!
Of course Lopez did not do it all tonight as he only drove-in 4 runs, the other two came off the bat of Michael Saunders who smacked a 2-run poke of his own in the second inning. David Pauley also pitched a nice game and came-away with his third win of the year as he finally received some run-support thanks to the mighty Jose Lopez and his sidekick Michael Saunders the Canadian Condor!
The 12,302 fans in Toronto are used to seeing power displays as their club leads the majors with 233 homers including one tonight by Vernon Wells. However the Mariners who are last with 95 homers silenced the small crowd with a rare power display of their own. The Blue Jays fans however did perk-up every time Jose Bautista came to the plate, hoping to see their slugger connect for # 50 on the year. But alas they will have to wait another day along with the Japanese media and fans hoping to see Ichiro pick-up hit # 200 for the tenth year in a row. Ichiro did manage to move his total to 198 tonight with a single to center in the top of the eighth. Of course the polite Canadian fans even clapped for Ichiro tonight in keeping with their reputation as all-around decent folks (even Geoff Baker at times can be civil!)
This game was so different from most of the Mariners games this year, as you could for once sense that our pitchers were confident on the mound secure with the knowledge they had a lead. Believe it or not up until tonight’s game the Mariners offense had only scored 14 runs for David Pauley in his 12 starts. That is worse run-support than even Felix Hernandez has had. Speaking of the King, Hernandez will be getting the start in the day game tomorrow in a game that actually has the makings of some real drama and potential excitement. First of all we have Felix Hernandez making his final push for the Cy-Young award needing a win to push his total to 13, then you have the home run chase by Bautista, and finally it is possible that Ichiro could reach hit #200 tomorrow. Love to see at least two of those events happening, and plan on watching this series finale in the morning just in case the Mariners can produce one final day of greatness, just like Jose Lopez had tonight! http://jeffsmariners.com