Perfect game a perfect storm for Mariners

Perfect game a perfect storm for Mariners

Perfect game a perfect storm for Mariners
SEATTLE -- Josh Kinney can call himself a World Champion after pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. The Mariners reliever calls that postseason run a "ride of a lifetime."

Thanks to Felix Hernandez's perfect game on Wednesday, that feeling is coming back.

Sitting in the bullpen, watching Hernandez mow down the Rays lineup, Kinney couldn't help but sense the same feelings he experienced during the World Series run.

"Like, 'WOW' ... I remember this. I remember feeling like we all had chills," Kinney explained. "Shawn Kelley was sitting next to me and we both, our arms were goose-bumped up, and he said, 'Man, I don't feel like this when I pitch.' And I said, 'I don't either.'

"[The World Series] was the memory that came to mind. I was like, 'Man, I remember how this feels.' It's that same type of feeling I got watching Felix do that. It was just unbelievable."

Kinney believes the team has been on the right path for a while, but a momentous occasion like the perfect game can act as a springboard.

"Get that feeling of how much fun it is to come to the park and winning games, and nobody's thinking about anything, we're in there having fun," Kinney said. "That's how I know a winning team, how it happens. You come to the park, you're looking forward to getting here. You expect to go out there and you got a pretty good chance. It makes it really fun. When it's happening, nobody really thinks about anything. That's how it gets started.

"You can see that with us. We had a rough road trip this last road trip, but that's over with, we're home, we're off to a good start. [The perfect game] was crazy and I think it's the best thing that can happen to this club."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge has seen the Mariners come together, and it's starting to show up on the field. After a rough road trip that the Mariners were able to close with a pair of wins in Anaheim, they have returned home to win three of four entering Saturday's contest with the Twins.

Since the All-Star break, the Mariners are 20-13, tied for second-best in the American League.

"Every day we're working to get better, I think that these guys have really gelled together nicely, they're being good teammates with each other and they're getting better," Wedge said.

"Since I've been here, it's felt different. It really has since the All-Star break," said Kinney, who was recalled from Triple-A on July 1. "We kind of started winning and guys like, 'We can do this.'

"Now, a loss kind of stings a little bit, which it should. That makes a win that much more sweet. You see it here. I'm seeing it. To me, I feel like I'm on a winning team, I really do."