|July 11, 2003||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
LP T. Harper (1-5) 1 1/3 IP 1H 1R 1ER 0BB 2SO 1HR 3.26 ERA
On what was a beautiful sunny summer day in Seattle Friday, all the rage was about Lou Piniella.
Walking around Green Lake, a popular spot five miles north of downtown, baseball fans were talking about their former hometown manager. At home, fans sat around the barbeque doing their best Sweet Lou impersonations. On sports radio, no other news mattered.
On this day, July 11, 2003, all the focus was on Piniella, a man remembered for his hilarious on-field outbursts, his love-hate relationship with his counterparts, and his quirky mannerisms.
So when Tampa Bay took an early 2-0 lead on Seattle's star pitcher, Jamie Moyer, there was no panic. Not on the team, not in the stands.
Panic, why panic?
The game itself, afterall, was almost secondary on this night.
Still, the Mariners found a way to battle back and win, using a monster homer from Mike Cameron in the eighth inning to roll to a 4-3 win.
Seattle (57-34) remained five games ahead of Oakland, which shutout Baltimore 2-0. The Devil Rays (31-58) dropped their third game in a row.
Moyer (12-5) allowed two runs in the first and another in the third before settling down. He ended up going eight innings, striking out five and walking just one for the game.
As the crafty left-hander found his comfort zone, the Mariner offense started picking away at the lead against Devil Rays' starter Jeremi Gonzalez.
Bret Boone delivered a three-run homer deep into the second deck in left field to tie the score at three.
No run was scored from that point forward until Cameron stepped to the plate in the eighth against Tampa Bay reliever Travis Harper. Seattle's centerfielder, mired in a bit of a slump as of late, sent a Harper 2-1 pitch into the left field bullpen to give Seattle its first lead.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came on in the ninth and retired the side in order to preserve the win. It was the right-hander's fifth save in five opportunities.
Harper (1-5) took the loss.
Next week, it'll be hard to remember what happened in this game. What will stick in the mind of many is what happened before the game.
For those lucky enough to be in attendance, the M's held a pregame ceremony for Piniella that included video highlights, a presentation of a base autographed by the Seattle team, and an emotional Sweet Lou there taking it all in right before them.