Felix Hernandez's pitching and Jesus Montero's slugging were the big-ticket items in Wednesday's 2-1 Mariners victory. But manager Eric Wedge reserved special praise for the energy of Michael Saunders, who didn't get any hits but was right in the middle of the action all day. The Mariners' leadoff man started three innings with walks, and scored the Mariners' first run in the fourth inning on a wild pitch. He had advanced to second base on a previous wild pitch by A.J. Burnett, and took third on a ground out. Saunders also had a stolen base, his sixth in six attempts. "He's out there hunting it," Wedge said. "That's the way he plays the game. He's hunting the ball at home plate. He's hunting the bag when he's on the bases, and he's hunting the ball in center field. That's one of the reasons he has a chance to be really special player in time." Saunders, who has an impressive .914 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), agreed that he's trying to be aggressive. "Every game, I'm looking to take the extra bases whenever I can," he said. "I'm looking to turn walks and singles into doubles. I feel that's really the only way to play this game. You get better reads on balls in the dirt if you're aggressive and looking for those. I'm always looking for the extra base." Saunders gave credit to Mariners first-base coach Mike Brumley, who is in charge of baserunning. "He's helped me out so much the last couple of years," Saunders said. "I take a lot of pride in my baserunning, trying to look for the edge every time."
Michael Saunders turning into key player at top of Mariners' lineup
Seattle Times | May 9