Young Mariners catcher Mike Zunino wasn’t making too big a deal about unloading on one of those off-speed pitches folks had worried he couldn’t hit. Nor was his battery-mate, Joe Saunders, getting too worked up about finally notching a road victory 2½ months into the season. Come to think of it, Oliver Perez also shrugged off the fact he closed out this 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night for his first career save after a decade in the majors. And perhaps it was the fact the Mariners seemed to put the over-thinking aside and simply went out and got it done for a change that cinched a desired result to begin this all-important road trip. “I think it’s just pitch selection,’’ Zunino said of his incoming reputation for struggling with breaking balls and off-speed stuff. “I feel like I’ve always been good with breaking balls and I think it’s just getting breaking balls inside the zone to hit. “I think it’s one of those things where I’m becoming more patient and trying to take more pitches, and I think that’s helped me so far.’’ Zunino has spent the past two weeks focusing on “going with’’ pitches, as he did in belting an 80 mph changeup from A’s starter Tommy Milone over the center-field wall in the seventh to put Seattle ahead for good. The Mariners added a run in the eighth to make it 3-1 on a Raul Ibanez single after a hard takeout slide at second by Kyle Seager broke up a double-play chance and prolonged the inning. Chris Young hit a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth off Danny Farquhar to ignite the crowd of 31,448 at The Coliseum and set the stage for a nervy ninth. But Perez got two outs, yielded a single to Josh Reddick, then notched an Adam Rosales fly out to end it. “Every time I’m on the mound, my job is that the other team doesn’t score,’’ said Perez, the first of what could be a committee of relievers to close games while Tom Wilhelmsen works through his struggles. “I don’t think about what inning it is.’’ Perez admitted his heartbeat did start racing once he’d closed things out. He realized it was a special career moment and also that his team — now eight games under .500 — needs to generate momentum on this trip in hopes of turning around the season before it’s too late.
Zunino’s 1st homer helps M’s beat A’s
Seattle Times | Jun 15