Brewers 7, Mariners 6, 12 innings
MILWAUKEE (AP) _ The double play is a pitcher’s best friend. Bill Wegman’s double-play combo earned his favor with their bats Wednesday night.
Second baseman Fernando Vina’s infield single off Bobby Ayala in the 12th inning lifted the Milwaukee Brewers to their seventh straight victory, 7-6 over the Seattle Mariners.
Ayala (3-3) was within one strike of the victory when he surrendered shortstop Jose Valentin’s single to center that tied it 6-6.
``Baseball’s a crazy game,″ Valentin said. ``Normally, we’re a double-play combo and tonight we combined to win the game at the plate.″
Vina’s high hopper bounced off charging shortstop Luis Sojo’s glove and drove home Matt Mieske with the winning run.
``I was just trying to stay up the middle with the forkball he was throwing and I was fortunate to make it a tough play for him,″ Vina said.
``I thought that’s the only chance I got,″ Sojo said. ``I got the ball. I just wanted to be aggressive, and I missed it. We don’t make the play, so we lose the game.″
``That was some kind of good, a super effort by everybody,″ said Milwaukee manager Phil Garner, who acknowledged he wouldn’t have even let Valentin bat had he had a pinch-hitter available.
Valentin was 0-for-5 with five popups when he came up in the 12th.
``Valentin can hit anybody’s fastball. This guy, I wasn’t real confident with him,″ Garner said. ``Sometimes a manager can overmanage. If I’d have had Kevin Seitzer there, I would have used Seitzer.″
Vina said his game-winner was special because Seattle is the organization he started with.
``This is our biggest victory this year because of the way we won it and the way we kept coming back, and it’s extra special for me, deep down inside,″ Vina said. ``These guys gave me my first chance.″
Wegman (3-3) was the winner despite having allowed Seattle to go ahead 6-5 in the top of the inning on Tino Martinez’s RBI-double.
Martinez was 0-for-5 before his two-out double scored Joey Cora with the go-ahead run.
Mieske drew a two-out walk before Valentin’s game-tying single. Valentin singled on a 2-2 pitch to drive home Greg Vaughn.
Jay Buhner hit two homers for the Mariners, whose three-game winning streak was snapped. His 14th and 15th homers were solo shots off Ricky Bones. His homer to left sparked a four-run fourth and his shot to right made it 5-3 in the eighth.
Chris Bosio allowed eight hits with four walks and a strikeout in 7 1-3 innings in the first meeting between the teams since May 29, 1994. But his defense and bullpen blew a two-run lead in the eighth.
Second baseman Cora kicked a potential double-play grounder, putting runners at first and second with no outs and brought on reliever Bill Risley, whose wild pitch advanced the runners.
Seitzer did pinch hit in the eighth and singled to right to drive in B.J. Surhoff to make it 5-4. Vina tied it with an opposite-field single to left.
After Buhner homered leading off the second, Doug Strange doubled home a run, Cora knocked in another and Rich Amaral added an RBI-single as the Mariners took a 4-1 lead.
Dave Nilsson’s sacrifice fly in the third pulled the Brewers within 4-2.
In the fifth, David Hulse’s two-out double drove home Vaughn, but left fielder Warren Newson threw out Surhoff at home by 25 feet to end the inning.
Bones gave up five earned runs on 10 hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Turner Ward, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, made a spectacular catch on Cora’s drive down the left field line, then threw a one-hopper to first to double up Gary Thurman and end the ninth.
Sojo, who was thrown out at the plate in the fourth, pulled his first basemen off the bag three times with wild throws and botched a routine grounder in the seventh, which ended Bosio’s night.
``We didn’t execute very well tonight,″ Seattle manager Lou Piniella said. ``We could have won it in regulation. If you don’t execute against a team that is playing well, and they’re hot, you give them chances, they’re going to get bases. You’re going to get beat.″
Notes: Jeff Cirillo, starting for the first time since spraining his right wrist on Friday, singled three times for the Brewers. ... Milwaukee left-hander Mike Thomas was placed on the 15-day DL with a cervical strain and Ward was activated from the DL. ... Garner said he was surprised he had to explain to state lawmakers why they should build a new stadium to keep the Brewers from bolting Milwaukee. Garner and eight players met Tuesday with more than 50 lawmakers from around Wisconsin at a pregame tailgate party with Brewers president Bud Selig.