On Sunday, the Mariners thought they had a day or two to play with in assessing whether righty Mark Lowe's foot injury would force them to recall another pitcher.
But on Monday, Lowe was on his way to Class AAA Tacoma and righty Randy Messenger, who wasn't even in the Mariners system two months ago, was called up to take his place.
Messenger, released by the Giants on July 9 and signed by the Mariners one day later, came to the big leagues after going 6-0 in 12 relief appearances with Tacoma. He got into his first big league game of the year and had a scoreless ninth inning in a 4-2, 11-inning win over Minnesota on Monday.
Manager Jim Riggleman says he envisions Messenger pitching in much the same role as Lowe -- working in middle and long relief, as needed. Lowe, still in pain after taking a Frank Thomas line drive off his left foot, might have been ready to pitch this weekend.
The Mariners felt, however, they couldn't take that chance, which is why Lowe was optioned out.
"It hurts, but it's getting better," Lowe said of his injury. "I don't think it's going to be too long before I can pitch again. So I'll pitch in Tacoma in a few days, and then I guess I'll be back here."
MARINERS 4, TWINS 2 (11 innings): 3B Adrian Beltre, whose double set up the tying run in the ninth inning, hit a first-pitch two-run homer in the 11th to win it.
Beltre's first-pitch homer off RHP Jesse Crain was the sixth walk-off homer of his career, the first this year.
He'd doubled to open the ninth against RHP Joe Nathan, then took third when 2B Jose Lopez's grounder was dropped by Twins SS Nick Punto. C Jeff Clement, in the game as a pinch hitter, grounded into a double play as Beltre scored to tie the game at 2-2.
RHP R.A. Dickey, who pitched a scoreless 11th, got the win, his fourth of the year in 12 decisions. It was Dickey's first win since July 31 and just the fourth extra-inning win for the Mariners in 12 tries.
--RHP Mark Lowe was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma before Monday's game, making room on the roster for RHP Randy Messenger. Lowe wasn't going to be able to pitch for a few days because of a sore foot, and the Mariners reasoned they would be able to get him back faster when the roster expands on Sept. 1 than they would by putting Lowe on the disabled list when he was only going to need a couple more days off.
--RHP Miguel Batista, who'd given up six runs in just three innings in an Aug. 4 game against the Twins in Safeco Field and lost his spot in the starting rotation because of it, got a measure of revenge Monday. He threw six innings, allowed just one run and matched Twins LHP Francisco Liriano pitch for pitch. Even so, Batista hasn't won a game since July 5.
--RF Ichiro Suzuki is hitting .376 (47-for-125) to lead off games this year in his 131 starts for the Mariners. Two of the 47 hits are home runs.
--RHP Randy Messenger -- who'd signed with the Mariners on July 10, one day after being let go by San Francisco -- was promoted from Tacoma on Monday. He got into his first big-league game of the season, pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Messenger, who has been in the big leagues with the Marlins and the Giants, figures to pitch middle and long relief. "With the Giants, I asked for my release," Messenger said. "(The Mariners) gave me an opportunity to pitch and get to the big leagues, which is all I wanted. I'm happy with the way everything worked out." Messenger's ninth-inning strikeout of Twins SS Nick Punto was Messenger's first as a Mariner. It was also the 30,000th strikeout by Mariners pitching in franchise history dating to 1977.
--C Jeff Clement, who has missed three starts because of ailing knees, is expected to be available to start behind the plate Tuesday if manager Jim Riggleman needs him. Clement served as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Monday, grounding into a double play.
--RHP Carlos Silva is likely to return to the starting rotation the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list, Aug. 31. Silva is throwing again after coming down with right elbow biceps tendinitis in his last start Aug. 15.
--3B Adrian Beltre had been serving as the DH the previous two days, but his sore left shoulder has improved enough that he was able to return to the starting lineup Monday on defense. His double set up the tying run in the ninth inning against the Twins, and his two-run homer in the 11th won it.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Consecutive games, through Aug. 24, in which Seattle pitchers had allowed at least one home run. That was the most by the Mariners staff since the 2004 season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have great respect for umpires. The home run, that's the furthest thing away from the umpire. Everything else (they call) is close to them. But when it happens out there and it's bouncing off rails and poles, there's nothing wrong with getting technical help with that." -- Manager Jim Riggleman on why he supports the use of TV replay.
MEDICAL WATCH: C Jeff Clement (minor knee injury) was unable to catch as of Aug. 25, but he could pinch-hit or serve as the DH. He was expected to be able to catch again on Aug. 25.
RHP Mark Lowe (swollen left foot) was injured Aug. 23 and was on crutches Aug. 24. He is expected to be out three or four days and was sent to Class AAA Tacoma to pitch for the time being.
LHP Erik Bedard (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 5. He was unable to throw July 21, but an MRI the next day showed the same impingement he has had. He started throwing again in early August, but his throwing program was halted in late August when discomfort returned to his left shoulder. He started throwing again Aug. 22, but it's unlikely that he'll pitch again this season.
RHP Felix Hernandez (sore left foot) was hit by a line drive in his Aug. 19 start, but he's expected to be able to make his next start Aug. 24.
RHP Carlos Silva (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 17. He threw off flat ground without pain Aug. 21 and appears on track to be activated when he's eligible. He was scheduled to throw off flat ground at least two more times, then have two sessions off the bullpen mound.
INF/OF Willie Bloomquist (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 10.
RF Mike Morse (dislocated left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 14. He had surgery April 22 and won't play again this season. He was hitting and fielding in pregame drills in August, and he will go to the Mariners' fall Instructional League camp.