Bullpen saves Mariners against Cardinals

Bullpen saves Mariners against Cardinals

SEATTLE -- A Mariners bullpen that has been a little battered and beat up of late came through in a big way Saturday as three relievers held the Cardinals scoreless for the final four frames in a 5-4 victory at Safeco Field.

Mike Montgomery, who got tagged with three straight losses during the Mariners' recent rough spell, bounced back with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts to lead the tag-team effort and preserve Nathan Karns' win after the starter lasted just five innings.

"I felt pretty comfortable the last couple outings," said Montgomery, a converted starter in his first year of relief. "I was in a couple situations I'd never been in before and I didn't have the results I wanted, but I think I learned from that. I think mechanically I'm back to where I want to be and attacking hitters."

Rookie Edwin Diaz retired a pair of batters while giving up a single after replacing Montgomery with one out in the eighth and closer Steve Cishek worked around a one-out double to record his 17th save, this one coming against his former Cardinals teammates.

"Our bullpen has been throwing really well," Cishek said. "Even in Detroit, that was a huge day when one of our starters went down [and the bullpen picked up 10 innings of work on Thursday]. Just to see Monte bounce back today was awesome, especially against that ballclub.

"I did alright," said Cishek. "But I only threw one inning. I think Monte should get all the reaction."

Manager Scott Servais was happy to spread the wealth across his relief crew.

"Outstanding job by Mike Montgomery today," Servais said. "He really came in very aggressive and attacked the strike zone. Diaz came in and got the righties out. And it was nice to see Shrek [Cishek] get over the hump a little here at home. He's had a few that haven't gone his way but he made good pitches tonight and was very aggressive. Great job by our bullpen."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.