Thames lifts Mariners to seventh straight win

Thames lifts Mariners to seventh straight win

Thames lifts Mariners to seventh straight win
SEATTLE -- Eric Thames was eager to make a good impression on his new Mariners teammates. One swing of the bat might have done the trick on Wednesday.

In his first game since being acquired from the Blue Jays on Monday, Thames hit a game-tying home run in the fifth inning at Safeco Field, propelling the Mariners to a 5-3 win over his old club. The come-from-behind effort stretched Seattle's winning streak to seven games, the team's longest since an eight-game streak from June 23-July 1, 2007.

"[With] two strikes, just want to put the ball in play, so I put the head out there and it just jumped," Thames said. "I went to the homerless territory, from what everybody says. That was weird. It was a cool feeling. It was good to help the team get out there and to tie the game up.

"It's definitely an awesome feeling, but I want to go every day, just go out and play hard, lay out and help score the runs when the team needs it, and clutch hits. One thing I love about this team is everybody's young and everything matters. If a guy makes a double-play pitch or good catch, everybody's on the dugout just giving high-fives. It's great to be a part of, it's awesome."

Thames' home run followed a Mike Carp single with two outs in the fifth. The towering shot easily cleared the center-field wall to pull the Mariners even, 3-3. It was a pitch Blue Jays starter Carlos Villanueva knows he should have never thrown, though, as catcher Jeff Mathis originally called for a changeup, but he shook him off in favor of a slider.

"If I go with him and I throw him the changeup, I think we have him out easy," Villanueva said. "But I was stubborn enough, I tried to go back in with a slider. It just spun and obviously we know Thames has more than enough power."

The Mariners took their first lead of the night one inning later, as Michael Saunders got into scoring position with a double. Then, with two outs, John Jaso hit an RBI single up the middle. Seattle added an insurance run in the seventh when Brendan Ryan doubled, took third on a passed ball and scored on a bloop single to left by Dustin Ackley.

The four runs off Villanueva came after the right-hander stifled the Mariners through the first three innings on an array of offspeed pitches. Mariners manager Eric Wedge was pleased with the way the team was able to make adjustments.

"I think it was important for us to see him the first time through, because he has good stuff," Wedge said. "He's a little bit deceptive -- fastball's solid, but real good changeup and a real good breaking ball. You can see why he's had some success. I think it just helped us to see him one time through.

"The ability to make an adjustment, people think about it from game to game, but really it needs to be from at-bat to at-bat and eventually from pitch to pitch, as these guys get further along."

The recipient of the midgame firepower was an unusually efficient Blake Beavan, who was the beneficiary of a lot of swings early in the count. The right-hander needed just 82 pitches to get through 7 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits, struck out four and didn't issue a free pass.

In four games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, Beavan is 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA, 18 strikeouts and just one walk.

The long ball was an issue early on, though, as Colby Rasmus hit a solo home run on Beavan's second pitch of the game, and Kelly Johnson put one over the left-field wall in the fourth to make it 2-0.

Mathis almost got to Beavan for another homer in the fifth, but his well-struck ball to center landed safely in Saunders' glove shy of the wall. It was deep enough to score David Cooper from third, though, and push the Blue Jays lead to 3-1.

The Mariners cut into the early deficit with their first run in the fourth. Ackley and Saunders hit singles to lead off the inning and put runners on the corners. Jesus Montero followed by grounding into a double play, but Ackley scored to make it 2-1.

But Beavan would end up getting more than just a run in support, something that hasn't always been there outside of the current seven-game winning streak, during which the Mariners are hitting .310.

"I tell you what's going on, we're winning games in different fashion," Wedge said. "That's important to me, and that's important at this level. Regardless of what type of game you're in -- you're up early, you're down early, or gets a little lopsided, or it gets tight throughout -- you got to be able to maintain a heartbeat that allows you to be as competitive as you can possibly be. I think our guys have done a much better job with that."

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.