Remember a long, long time ago when the Mariners appeared to be in shambles, fans were girding for an uprising, and jobs seemed to be on the line — on the field, and in the dugout and front office?

Yeah, that was way back on April 24 — a full three weeks ago.

It's amazing how time flies — and bad memories evaporate — when a team starts winning. Back then, the M's had just finished a dreadful trip to Texas, dropping three straight to the Rangers and, most damaging, two out of three (for the second time in barely a week) to the Astros.

The season, it seemed, was already shot. Recrimination dominated the conversation. All the optimism of spring training seemed foolish, in retrospect.

Now all is sunshine and roses for the Mariners, who did nothing but win series, and hearts, after their 8-15 nadir.

The new issue now is whether or not all this is sustainable. Suddenly, gloom has been replaced by giddiness — at least after they took two out of three in the Bronx.

Thursday, the Mariners held on for a tense 3-2 victory over the Yankees that pulled them past the A's into second place in the AL West. Friday, ESPN's Jim Bowden wrote an article headlined, "Mariners are going to contend all summer."

Such a sentiment in mid-May is probably just as premature as the pessimism of late April. But certainly there is now a road map to respectability that provides some hope of sustainability, particularly with the potential for reinforcements in the second half, via the minor leagues and the trade market.

Poring over the statistics, there is little mystery to the Mariners' revival. They hit much better, and they pitched much better. In the first 23 games of the season, which yielded that horrifying 8-15 record, the M's scored 3.2 runs per game, and gave up 4.8 runs per game. In the next 18, through the Yankees series, they scored 4.4 runs per game, and gave up 2.9 runs per game.

When you add more than a run per game to your offense, and take away nearly two runs per game from the opposition, victories tend to happen. And the Mariners went 12-6 — a .667 winning percentage.

Looking more closely, the Mariners had a .228 batting average, .292 on-base percentage and .363 slugging percentage over the first 23 games, for an OPS of .655 — 10 points below their final tally for last season, when Seattle ranked last in the American League. So much for the new and improved offense.

But in the more recent 18-game stretch, they've begun to hit the way they hoped for when adding the likes of Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay during the winter: a .256 average, .336 on-base percentage, .421 slugging and .757 OPS.