SEATTLE (AP) — Throughout the final month, with losses coming more often than wins, Seattle manager Eric Wedge noticed a resolve among his younger players as they went out day after day against teams in contention for the postseason.
Wedge is hoping those lessons learned this September are being used by his club a year from now in their own charge toward the postseason.
“I feel good about it. I do. You’re never satisfied but I’m proud of the way these kids have played,” Wedge said. “July and August were good months for us and very consistent months for us but I’m more proud of how they fought through September and all those teams we played in a playoff atmosphere every night for three weeks straight.”
Casper Wells tied a career-high with five RBIs including a three-run homer in Seattle’s six-run seventh inning, and the Mariners closed out the season with a 12-0 rout of the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Seattle spent the final few weeks with a chance to help determine postseason fates. Their final 18 games came against teams headed for the postseason or in the chase into the final days. Seattle went just 6-12, but lessons were learned.
“We have a lot of young guys that are starting to find their way,” Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak said.
Wells added a two-run single in the sixth to give Seattle a 6-0 lead and cruise to a second straight victory to close the regular season. Wells’ homer in the seventh was his 10th of the season and capped an inning that included a two-run single by Carlos Triunfel. Montero added three RBIs earlier in the game, a pair coming on a two-out double in the third.
Every batter in the Mariners starting lineup scored at least once and the 12 runs were the most scored at home all season. Kyle Seager also added an RBI double off Weaver in the first inning to push his team-leading total to 86.
Seattle finished 75-87, an eight-game improvement over 2011.
“We have confidence in each other and we have a good group of guys here,” Seager said. “We took some major steps forward this year and I think we’re going to continue.”
Beavan threw eight innings, bouncing back from a poor start last weekend in Oakland where he failed to finish the fifth inning. He allowed seven hits and no strikeouts. Beavan ended the year going 8-5 after the All-Star break and will likely be part of the Mariners rotation in 2013.
“Ever since I’ve been back I’ve tried to work as hard as I can and harder than I did the first time,” Beavan said. “It’s easy to get a little relaxed when you have success up here and you don’t get you mental side focused when you’re trying to get guys out. That’s the biggest thing I learned was a mindset.”
Seattle also kept Angels’ star rookie Mike Trout from making baseball history. Trout went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double leading off the sixth and a single in the eighth to finish the season with a .326 average. That was good for second in the AL batting race, but pretty much locked up the Triple Crown for Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.
It was a rough final day for Trout. He was plunked in the back by Seattle starter Blake Beavan (11-11) leading off the game, then thrown out by Jesus Montero trying for his 50th steal of the season. It was just the ninth runner all season thrown out by the Mariners rookie catcher.
Trout finally reached base in the sixth when he doubled just inside the right-field line and took third on Kole Calhoun’s flyout to center. Albert Pujols then popped out down the right-field line and Trout tagged up and tried to score. Wells’ throw was on target and beat Trout by a few steps.
Trout was trying to become just the third rookie in AL history to finish with130 or more runs and the company would have been elite. Joe DiMaggio scored 132 runs in 1936 and Ted Williams had 131 in 1939.
NOTE: Seattle drew 15,614 and an unofficial final total of 1,723,286. That is the lowest total since Safeco Field opened.