McClendon lauds Montgomery's MLB debut

McClendon lauds Montgomery's MLB debut

SEATTLE -- Mike Montgomery would have loved to come away with the win in his Major League debut against the Yankees, but the 25-year-old southpaw will have to settle with the knowledge that he did his part, and more, in a game the Mariners lost Tuesday in 11 innings, 5-3, after blowing a 2-1 lead in the ninth.

Montgomery, taking the place of injured southpaw James Paxton, threw six innings of one-run ball with just four hits, but was left with a no-decision in his first start after being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.

"I want to come here and do my part and help this team win as many games as it can," said Montgomery, who was acquired from the Rays just before the start of the season in a trade for Erasmo Ramirez. "A lot of good things came out of [Tuesday] for me, but obviously we'd like a better result."

Manager Lloyd McClendon liked everything he saw from the former first-round Draft pick of the Royals.

"I don't have enough adjectives to explain how good he was tonight, but it was outstanding," said McClendon.

Montgomery found himself in the middle of a third-inning eruption when catcher Mike Zunino grew heated after two checked swings that resulted in walks to Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. Zunino wound up getting ejected, as did McClendon after a heated exchange with three different umpires as the Safeco Field crowd of 27,442 roared.

Montgomery said he'd never seen anything like it.

"No, I haven't," he said. "It was definitely loud and a new experience for me. I was just really, at that point, trying to stay in the game and stay focused. It definitely helped. After that inning, I settled in and really felt back to normal and pretty confident."

McClendon on getting ejected

As for the support of a catcher whom he'd never worked with before Tuesday night?

"That was great," Montgomery said. "I loved the support of him going out there. I didn't know if [the hitters swung through] or not, but that was something that really built the momentum. It was exciting for me, too. For your first game, that was a pretty exciting thing to happen."

And other than the one run he allowed that inning on a Mark Teixeira double, Montgomery held the Yankees in check. Not a bad debut for a youngster once regarded as a top prospect with the Royals, but who'd never quite been able to command his pitches well enough to crack a big league roster.

Given a fresh start this season with the Mariners, he's ready to make the most of it.

"Definitely," Montgomery said. "Coming into this year, I had a lot to prove. To come out there and prove I can play at this level, that's what I'm going to try to continue to do going forward, just go out there every night I pitch and give it everything I have and try to put up zeros. That's what we're here to do."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.