SEATTLE -- Jack Wilson's successful squeeze bunt in the eighth inning provided a run that turned out to be unnecessary in the Mariners' 5-1 win against the Red Sox on Saturday, but it was a good example of a gutsy call backed up by sharp execution.
With Milton Bradley at third, one out and Jon Lester on the mound, manager Don Wakamatsu called for the squeeze play, but he waited for a 1-1 count because Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell had made a visit to the mound before the at-bat.
"With a base open, you almost know they said, 'Throw the ball up, especially if you see any movement [at third base],'" Wakamatsu said. "We decided to do it a little deeper in the count, and it was up. That was one of the more impressive squeezes I've ever been associated with."
Lester fired a 93-mph fastball outside and at Wilson's eye-level, but he still got bat on ball as Bradley came streaking toward the plate. Bradley scored without trouble to give Seattle a 3-1 lead.
"The good thing about a squeeze is there is nothing to think about, you just have to touch the ball and put it in play or foul it off," Wilson said. "The only thing you can't do is not make contact."
As simple as that sounds, a botched attempt cost the Mariners a win this season. On April 30, Eric Byrnes pulled his bat back on a squeeze play in the 11th inning and Ichiro Suzuki was caught stealing at the plate. Seattle lost, 2-0, in 12 innings, spoiling Cliff Lee's season debut.
Saturday's attempt was almost foiled as well, as third-base coach Lee Tinsley's signal to Bradley was delayed because Boston's Adrian Beltre was too close.
"[Tinsley] told me right before Lester went into his windup," Bradley said. "I heard him say something, and I was like 'What?' And he said, 'He's bunting.' So I started down the line. The pitch was up, and when he got it down I was like, 'Great.' That was a tough pitch."