Smoak heroics, freak homer and a Felix win
For a team many have written off already this season, the Mariners provided a boatload of interesting storylines Tuesday with a 7-3 win over the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Justin Smoak provided the perfect touch on his return from the bereavement list, the quiet youngster from Goose Creek, S.C., belting a two-run home run in his first game back following his father’s funeral.
Miguel Olivo, inserted into the clean-up spot by manager Eric Wedge, hit a home run of his own over the left-field fence … though Olivo got a most-interesting assist from Tigers outfielder Ryan Raburn with a little Jose Canseco-esque deflection on a line drive that was coming down on the warning track.
If you haven’t seen that one, que up the video replay here. We’ll be seeing this one for years on blooper reels.
And then there was Felix Hernandez, fighting to find his breaking ball and location much of the night, but taking advantage of the rare run support and battling his way through six innings to earn his third win of the season.
Don’t forget David Pauley and Brandon League, as well, as those two held the Tigers to one hit over the final three frames.
All in all, quite a night at the ballpark here in Detroit. There were some happy faces in the clubhouses afterward. For Olivo, who has been struggling. For Hernandez, who deserves all the help he can get. And most of all for Smoak, who went through the kind of week that puts everything in perspective.
Olivo will be on all the highlights for his bizarre home run, but he had one of the quotes of the year as well when talking about Smoak’s dramatic moment.
“When he hit it, I got chills,” Olivo said. “I think his father did that for him. I met him at home plate and said, ‘Hey, that was for Papa.’”