Bloomquist breaks out, leads M's to win

Bloomquist - the future at 3B? (Getty Images)

Well, it took three-and-a-half months, 92 games, and a terrible first half by starting 3B Jeff Cirillo for utilityman Willie Bloomquist to get a look at the hot corner. A dazzling defensive day and six RBI later, Bloomquist's career day may have earned him a chance to become the Mariners' every-day starting three-bagger. Oh yeah, it came in a M's victory.

July 13, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 1
Seattle 6 1 0 0 3 0 3 0 X 13 14 0

WP J. Pineiro (11-5) 7 IP 7H 2R 2ER 1BB 6SO 1HR 3.28 ERA
LP J. Standridge (0-5) 2/3 IP 1H 5R 5ER 4BB 1SO 0HR 7.03 ERA


Mark this date on the calendar, July 13, 2003. One thing is certain, Willie Bloomquist will.

This was the day the 25-year-old belted his first-career homerun, a first inning grandslam. This was the day the utility player broke out, won the hearts of the fans, and made a name for himself. This was the day Jeff Cirillo could have very well lost his job.

Paced by Bloomquists' six RBI and a six-run first inning, the Seattle Mariners hammered Tampa Bay pitchers in a 13-2 win at Safeco Field Sunday.

The win capped a 58-35 first-half of the season for Seattle, who took the three-game series from the Devil Rays, 2-1.

The Mariners take a four-game lead in the American League West into the All-Star break.

Tampa Bay dropped to 32-60.

Seattle did the brunt of its damage in the first inning off of Devil Rays' starter Jason Standridge. Standridge lasted just .2 innings, walking four and giving up five earned runs, before being taken out of the game.

The big blow came when Rob Bell came in to replace Standridge with two outs and the bases loaded, as Bloomquist came through with a grandslam to left field. That made it a 6-0 game.

Tampa Bay answered with on a Toby Hall two-run homer in the second inning off of M's starter Joel Pineiro, but that was all they could muster in an otherwise dreadful day. Pineiro rebounded to shut down the Devil Rays through the next five innings.

Pineiro (11-5) left after seven, having giving up just the two runs while striking out six and walking only one.

Aaron Taylor and Jeff Nelson each pitched a scoreless inning to close the deal, and in doing so they overpowered the young Rays lineup. Taylor, who pitched the eighth, got two of his three outs via the strikeout. Nelson, meanwhile, struck out the side in the ninth.

Standridge, still seeking his first win of the season, fell to 0-5.

Bell, who came in for the long-relief duties, faired little better than his teammate, allowing eight hits and five runs in 4.1 innings.

Ahead 6-2 heading into the bottom of the second, Seattle tacked on a run that inning, then three more in the fifth and another three in the seventh, capping the scoring.

Bloomquist's bat helped Seattle with two of those insurance runs. He brought home Mike Cameron and Randy Winn with a two-RBI single in the fifth.

Bloomquist finished the day 2-5 with six RBI and two runs scored.

Seattle had 14 hits, led by Bloomquist and the three hits from Ichiro Suzuki (3-4) and Winn (3-4). Cameron and Edgar Martinez had two hits apiece.

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