This time, Mariners OK with three-ball walk

This time, Mariners OK with three-ball walk

ANAHEIM -- For the second time in just over a week, the Mariners saw an opposing batter issued a walk Sunday despite only having received three balls, but this time it didn't cost Seattle, and manager Eric Wedge insisted he was aware of the situation in this one.

Angels designated hitter Bobby Abreu drew the 1,400th walk of his career in the third inning of the Angels' 4-2 victory, but got a little help from home-plate umpire Gerry Davis. Replays confirmed Abreu only had a 3-1 count when he was awarded first base.

Eight days earlier, Doug Fister suffered a 1-0 loss when the Padres' Cameron Maybin took first on a three-ball walk from home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi and then proceeded to score the game's only run.

Abreu didn't score as a result of the errant walk, which put runners on first and second before Felix Hernandez got out of the jam with a strikeout of Vernon Wells and a flyout by Howard Kendrick.

Wedge said he conferred quickly with pitching coach Carl Willis and bench coach Robby Thompson and figured it was wise to walk Abreu in that hitter's count anyway and let Hernandez deal with Wells and Kendrick.

"Yeah, I was OK with that," Wedge said. "I figured it worked against us last time, let's let it work for us this time. We talked about it real quick and, again, I couldn't believe nobody reacted to it. I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it.

"I was fine him not being up there 3-1. I felt good about Felix facing those next two guys, so I just kind of played it off, talked to Carl and Robby real quick. ... I feel like Abreu is their best hitter. He and Kendrick. But with that matchup there, I felt better with those next two guys.

"I was hoping for a double play, we got strikeout and popup. I mean, hey, if they're going to make that mistake, I figured, what the hell, it worked against us last time, let's make it work for us this time."

Hernandez wasn't aware of any such strategy and seemed chagrined at the mistake.

"I was like, 'Wasn't that 3-1?'" Hernandez said. "It's happened twice ... only to us."

But he, too, was OK with how things turned out.

"Abreu is a great hitter. He's pretty tough," Hernandez said. "I put up a zero that inning, so it didn't matter."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he knew there were only three balls at the time, but "it happens," while Abreu was relishing the free pass.

"It was funny. We'll take it," said Abreu, who is now third among active players with his 1,400 walks. "It's funny how it happened, and it's weird at the same time, because you have the professional umpire behind you, and they know everything."