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Originally published June 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 5, 2007 at 9:08 PM

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Weaver fires up M's in 9-4 win over Red Sox

Doing things the small way paid big dividends for the Mariners, who embarked Monday on a crucial two-week stretch of games. Seattle entered Monday night's...

Seattle Times staff reporter


Boston Red Sox at Mariners, 7:05 p.m., FSN/KOMO 1000 AM

Pitchers: M's Felix Hernandez (4-4, 4.00) vs. Kason Gabbard (1-0, 3.60)


Some cuss words and other vocal barrages Jeff Weaver let fly on the mound left little doubt as to the state of his intensity level.

The rest of the Mariners seemed as pumped up as Weaver later admitted to being after Monday night's game. Seattle posted a 9-4 rout of Boston, a game in which the Mariners thoroughly outclassed the Red Sox.

It wasn't the easiest night for Weaver, whose pitch count was soaring after just four innings. But his ability to work out of jams and keep some of baseball's most feared hitters off-balance gives hope that the Mariners have a brand-new pitcher on their hands.

"My competitive nature sometimes gets the best of me," Weaver said of the fiery nature he displayed throughout his 5-2/3 innings. "It's all for the good. It gets me amped."

The crowd of 33,830 at Safeco Field seemed just as fired up after Weaver pitched out of a pair of bases-loaded jams in the third and fourth innings. The fans erupted soon after, as a five-run fifth inning by the Mariners turned a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead.

Weaver was out on the top step of the dugout, shouting and waving his arms after a Jose Lopez single to left field off Red Sox starter Julian Tavarez brought two runs home to snap a 2-2 tie. Kenji Johjima later drew a critical two-out, bases-loaded walk off reliever Kyle Snyder to bring home an insurance run.

Adrian Beltre followed with another walk to increase the lead to four.


Boston Red Sox at Mariners, 7:05 p.m., FSN/KOMO 1000 AM

Pitchers: M's Felix Hernandez (4-4, 4.00) vs. Kason Gabbard (1-0, 3.60)

Johjima and Beltre then put the game away in the seventh with back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches off reliever Mike Timlin. The two-run shot by Johjima and the solo blast by Beltre, both to left field, marked the first time all year Seattle had gone deep back-to-back.

The 9-2 lead also allowed Mariners manager Mike Hargrove to finally breathe.

"With the offense that Boston has, as explosive as it is, four runs is not a lot," he said. "Not against these guys."

A two-out, two-run double in the ninth by Kevin Youkilis closed out the scoring. But it wasn't nearly enough on a night when Boston had failed to come up with a similar hit off Weaver with the game still close.

"You've got to have your best stuff against them or it ends up being a chore," said Weaver, whose throwing error in a 33-pitch third inning paved the way for two Boston runs on a J.D. Drew single under second baseman Lopez's glove. "Your pitch count adds up pretty quickly against those guys."

Weaver's impatience seemed to mount as quickly as his pitch count after Lopez failed to come up with the ball on what was initially ruled an error. But Weaver channeled his anger — he said it was directed mostly at himself — and struck out Manny Ramirez with runners at the corners.

After an ensuing walk loaded the bases, Weaver ended the frame down only 2-1 by getting Mike Lowell to pop out. Weaver dodged another bases-loaded jam in the fourth when Youkilis hit into a fielder's choice.

The Mariners had embarked on this two-week stretch before the All-Star break needing to make a statement about the direction in which they are headed. Fans are clamoring for the front office to acquire more pitching, to repatriate Ken Griffey Jr. and to be a buyer instead of a seller as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

But a team that has shown signs of contending for a wild-card spot one minute also has threatened to drop off a cliff the next. It can win five in a row on the road, then lose six straight just as quickly.

There is a sense that these next two weeks, which will include three games against the Red Sox, three with Toronto and four with Oakland, will reveal whether Seattle can hang with the big boys. This game was a good start, with the Mariners outplaying the Red Sox at some "small-ball" stuff — working the count, hitting with two strikes, moving runners over, taking extra bases on singles — before outslugging them late.

They also saw a different-looking Weaver than the one pasted for seven runs in two innings by Boston in his season debut.

"The last time he faced Boston, he relied a lot on his sinker and slider," catcher Johjima said through an interpreter. "This time, he used the slider and sinker, but we also threw in a lot of soft breaking pitches."

That left the Red Sox unable to set themselves. Weaver allowed only one earned run and had just two balls hit hard off him all night.

"This is a [Boston] team that we can beat as long as the pitchers hold the hitters," Johjima said. "Our own hitters are seeing the ball really well now."

They're also seeing, after the past few games from Weaver, a different look to the starting rotation even before the trade season truly kicks off.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or

Read his daily blog at

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