Now Commenting On:

Saunders in right place, right time in big win

Saunders in right place, right time in big win

Saunders in right place, right time in big win

HOUSTON -- Michael Saunders started Saturday's game in center field for the Mariners, but the team's best outfielder moved to right in the seventh inning after Dustin Ackley pinch-hit for Jason Bay and then took over in center.

The move paid off in aces for manager Eric Wedge when Saunders made an outstanding running catch of a leadoff line drive into the right-center gap in the ninth inning by Justin Maxwell that helped closer Tom Wilhelmsen finish off a 4-2 win.

"It paid off," Wedge said. "Putting Ackley in center and Saundo in right was big for us. I like Michael in all three spots, but in right field he arguably helps us as much as anything, just because there's so much more ground and you're trying to keep runners from going to first and third and you've got a lot more going on out there than most people realize."

Ackley made the game-ending catch, but it was Saunders who hauled in a ball that looked like trouble from the moment it was crushed by Maxwell.

"Off the bat I thought it was in the gap," Saunders said. "Being a righty, the ball kind of tailed back toward me a little bit and I was able to run it down."

Wilhelmsen appreciated it more than anyone as he went on to record his second save in as many nights against the Astros.

"That was the play of the day," said Wilhelmsen. "He closed down on that sucker so fast. That ball was smoked. I was like 'Holy cow.' He was full extension. Incredible catch."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español