SEATTLE -- Mariners closer Brandon League's save in Wednesday's 5-3 victory over the Rangers was his first in two weeks. He had only one save chance in that stretch, a blown opportunity in a tough 6-5 loss at Cleveland, but wasn't pitching well and felt he got into some mechanical issues that weren't helping.
Thus the All-Star reliever was encouraged by Wednesday's 1-2-3 ninth when he retired Nelson Cruz on a deep fly to right field, then struck out Yorvit Torrealba and pinch-hitter Mike Napoli.
It didn't hurt that the Safeco radar gun clocked his initial fastball at 99 mph.
"I don't know how accurate that thing is, but as we say in the 'pen, if it's on the board, it counts," League said. "But I still have work to do. Even though the outcome was great, I feel like the first at-bat to Cruz, there were still some kinks. But I kind of got in the groove to Torrealba and Napoli. I just have to keep working."
After walking three batters and giving up two hits and two runs while recording just one out in his blown save in the 11th inning at Cleveland on May 17, League said his motion didn't feel right. He was still fighting things in Colorado when he allowed four hits and two runs in a non-save situation in a 6-4 victory.
"Yeah, there were a couple things I've been working on the past week or so," he said. "Specifically, arm angle and tempo with my motion. I've been working on it every day. When I'm out there, I'm not really thinking about that. I'm just trusting that what I'm working on carries over to the game."
Both strikeouts on Wednesday came on splitters, another positive sign.
"Being able to use anything besides my fastball just makes it more effective and vice versa," League said. "That keeps them off my fastball."