The Sounders continued their march through the 2012 U.S. Open Cup, the Seahawks gave a tryout to a former California prison inmate, and the former Seattle SuperSonics reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1996. But the story of the week: The Kevin Millwood-led combined no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday. That Was The Week That Was:
JUNE 4-10, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — Kevin Millwood (6.0), Charlie Furbush (0.2), Stephen Pryor (0.1), Lucas Luetge (0.1), Brandon League (0.2) and Tom Wilhelmsen (1.0) collaborated for a 1-0 combined no-hitter Friday night against Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the 10th combined no-no in MLB history, the first by the Mariners, the third no-hitter in club history, and the second at Safeco Field in 2012 — after zero in the park from its opening in mid-1999 through 2011.
- BAD WEEK — The Summer Olympic Games are quickly making the Seattle Storm’s 2012 season irrelevant. With Lauren Jackson training with the Australian national team, the Storm are practically helpless. Seattle lost twice last week to the Minnesota Lynx (79-55) and San Antonio Spurs (80-67) and stand 1-6. Sue Bird might as well not be with the Storm, either. In the loss Saturday, she missed 11 of 12 shots, including six of seven from the 3-point line.
- PLAY OF THE WEEK — In the ninth inning Friday at Safeco Field, Los Angeles came as close to a hit as it did all night when Dee Gordon, the first batter, slapped a ball at Brendan Ryan, inserted into the game as a defensive replacement. Ryan charged the ball and whipped a throw to first, barely nipping Gordon, preserving the no-no. “Pretty close, pretty close,” said Ryan.
- STAT OF THE WEEK: Stephen Pryor collected his first MLB win in Friday’s combined no-hitter over the Dodgers, becoming just the third pitcher since 1901 to win his first major league game in a no-hitter. He joined Bobo Holloman (May 6, 1953, for St. Louis vs. Athletics) and Wilson Alvarez (April 11, 1991, White Sox at Baltimore).
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — The Seattle SuperSonics Oklahoma City Thunder reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1996 when Kevin Durant’s 34 points and 14 rebounds helped knock out the San Antonio Spurs 107-99. Durant grabbed the final rebound, dribbled the ball across mid-court and raised his right fist to celebrate with a sold-out Sonics OKC crowd wearing free white T-shirts . . . The Baltimore Orioles made sure that Jamie Moyer hasn’t thrown his final competitive pitch, signing the former Mariner to a minor league contract and assigning him to the AAA Norfolk Tides . . . R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who pitched for the Mariners in 2008 (famous for throwing four wild pitches Aug. 17 vs. Minnesota), became baseball’s first-nine game winner Thursday, pitching the Mets past the Nationals 3-1.
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW — Ian Bridge, a member of the North American Soccer League Sounders, is the head coach of the Victoria Highlanders of the USL Premier Development League. Prior to joining the Highlanders, Bridge coached the University of Victoria women’s team and later coached the U-17 Canadian women’s national team.
- SUNDAY, June 10 — The Mariners remain in their offensive doldrums at Safeco Field by losing the series finale to the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-2. Seattle scratches out five hits and finishes the three-game series with six runs and 17 hits. Kyle Seager hits a first-inning home run (eighth of the year) and increases his AL-leading mark of two-out RBIs to 24, but the Mariners can do nothing else against Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers, who pour six runs across the plate in the second inning, highlighted by Andre Ethier’s grand slam.
- SATURDAY, June 9 — Washington’s Katie Flood and Meagan Goethals run 1-2 in the 1,500 at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA. Flood’s title, in 4:13.79, is the first NCAA crown for Washington since 2006 . . . One day following the combined no-hitter, Jason Vargas gives up a three-run, first-inning bomb and the Dodgers rout the Mariners 8-3. Defending Cy Young winner Clayton Keshaw whiffs 14, including Chone Figgins and Alex Liddi three times apiece Insult: Figgins, batting .175, gets lifted for a pinch hitter, Mike Carp, hitting .163 . . . Sue Bird misses 12 of 13 shots, including six of seven 3-pointers, leading the Storm to an 80-67 loss to San Antonio. Minus Lauren Jackson, the Storm falls to 1-6.
- FRIDAY, June 8 — Kevin Millwood and five Seattle relievers collaborate for the 10th combined no-hitter in major league history, a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Safeco Field. Mariners tie the MLB record for most pitchers (6) used in a combined no-no. Millwood joins Vida Blue, Mike Witt and Kent Mercker as the only pitchers in major league history to pitch complete-game no-hitters and be involved in a combined no-hitter (Milwood threw a solo no-hitter April 27, 2003 for Philadelphia against San Francisco) . . . Quarterback Troy Williams, a four-star recruit from Narbonne High in Harbor City, CA., verbal commits to play for the Washington Huskies.
- THURSDAY, June 7 — The Seahawks conduct one of their most unusual tryouts ever, working out former California prison inmate Brian Banks at the team’s headquarters. Incarcerated for five years on charges of rape and kidnapping and paroled another five before his exoneration, Banks makes enough of an impression that the Seahawks invite him to a three-day minicamp. “Look where I am today,” says Banks. “I thank God for this. This is a blessing. The last thing I want to do is be bitter.” Adds Pete Carroll: “This is one of those stories we need to follow, see what happens. Regardless of how it turns out, it’s the fact that he’s made it to this point, and he’s going to get this opportunity. I hope it helps other people.”
- WEDNESDAY June 6 — The Mariners complete a nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record by pounding out 12 hits in an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Seattle produces 12 hits, including three — home run, double, single — by Michael Saunders, who ends the nine-game jaunt 19-for-39 (.487). Kyle Seager collects four RBIs and Ichiro busts out of an 0-for-20 with two hits, including his 99th career home run. Downside: Hector Noesi gets slammed for six earned runs and allows his sixth homer in three games. . . . Minus Lauren Jackson (again), the Storm (1-5) get buried by the Minnesota Lynx 79-55. The Lynx outscore Seattle 32-18 in the paint and allows an 8-for-8 shooting performance by Minnesota center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, at 41 the oldest player in the WNBA.
- TUESDAY, June 5 — Osvaldo Alonso and Fredy Montero each score a brace and the Sounders halt Cal FC’s Cinderella romp in the U.S. Open Cup with a 5-0 victory at Starfire Sports Complex. The amateur team from Thousand Oaks, CA., won three Open Cup matches before running into the Sounders . . . After scoring 55 runs in eight games, the Mariners have only Michael Saunders to show off offensively in a 6-1 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. Saunders homers, doubles and single and moves his OPS past .800 for the first time in his career . . . The NFL docks the Seahawks two off-season practices after determining that Seattle violated a stipulation that practices contain no live contact . . . Obit #1: Steve Buttle, a fan favorite when he played for the North American Soccer League Sounders in the late 1970s and early 1980s, dies of cancer in Norwich, England, at 59. Buttle totaled 15 goals and 44 assists for the Sounders and helped lead the club to the 1977 Soccer Bowl against Pele and the Cosmos . . . Obit#2: Hal Keller, a former Mariners GM (1984-85) dies from esophageal cancer at his home in Sequim at age 84. Keller oversaw the drafting and development of players such as Alvin Davis, Mark Langston, Harold Reynolds, Phil Bradley, Spike Owen and Darnell Coles.
- MONDAY, June 4 — Hours after the Mariners make Florida C Mike Zunino the third overall pick in the June free agent draft, Munenori Kawasaki, batting .158, delivers a three-run double to help Seattle defeat the L.A. Angels 8-6, the club’s first win over the Halos in five tries. Tom Wilhelmsen notches his first MLB save and Justin Smoak, just named AL Player of the Week, goes 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. About the drafting of Zunino: He’s the sixth catcher selected by the Mariners in the first round (all phases) of the amateur draft. Three of the five, Mike Hood (1979), Keith Komeiji (1983) and Ryan Christianson (1999), failed to reach the majors. A fourth, Jason Varitek (1994), went to Boston in a trade before he reached the majors. The fifth, Jeff Clement (2005), caught 36 games for Seattle over two years (2007-08), before the Mariners gave up on him.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
6: Number of catchers taken by the Mariners in the first round of the draft after selecting Florida’s Mike Zunino. None of the first five did squat for Seattle.
In the amateur draft, the Mariners took 41 players, including 20 pitchers, 13 infielders and five outfielders, 26 college players, 15 high school players.
19-for-39, .487 BA: Michael Saunders’ numbers on Seattle’s 10-day, nine-game road trip that ended with an 8-6 win over the Angels Wednesday.
When 22-year-old Jesus Montero caught the combined no-hitter Friday, he became the youngest in the majors to catch a no-no since 1971.
3: Ballparks hosting a perfect game and no-hitter in the same season: Huntington (Bos.), 1904; League Park (Clev.), 1908, Safeco, 2012.
READS OF THE WEEK
Mariners: Notes On An Unconventional No-Hitter: When Kevin Millwood and five relievers collaborated for a 1-0 combined no-hitter Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it marked the 10th combined no-no in major league history, the first such thrown by the Mariners, the third no-hitter in franchise history, and the second thrown at Safeco Field in 2012 after none had been thrown in the park from its opening in mid-1999 through 2011. A closer look at an unconventional game . . . MORE
Thiel: OK To Boo OKC Bosses, But They Will Be Us: When sports hyperventilation is so audible that it begins to drown out jet engines in this town, we need to have a talk. Oklahoma Citys arrival in the NBA Finals is producing in Seattle some industrial-grade retching, as well as a counter-current of dismissal, the argument being that contempt for the Thunders success is a waste of emotion . . . MORE
Thiel: Story Line Alone Is Worth Seahawks Roster Spot: For every Seattle sports fan pulling mightily against the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, take a break. For a few minutes, try pulling FOR something. If you dont feel better after pulling for Brian Banks, somethings wrong. You must be Howard Schultz . . . MORE
Wayback Machine: Farmer Hal Turpin: Long-tortured Seattle Mariners fans will recall the events of April 20, 1990, when right hander Brian Holman set down the first 26 Oakland batters he faced and only needed to retire former Mariner Ken Phelps, pinch hitting for Mike Gallego, to notch what then would have been the 11th perfect game in major league history . . . MORE
Thiel: Zunino Nice Pick — As Are Many Mariners: Player development in baseball is like no other. Elite players are often years in the making, but on one day early in their baseball lives, a decision is made. Player and the club are judged forever on that moment . . . MORE
That Was The Week That Was (May 28-June 3): Big week for busting out. In games at Texas Tuesday and Wednesday, the normally feeble Mariners scored 31 runs, or 13.6 percent of their season total; in five races Saturday, the normally superb University of Washington mens rowing team exceeded its own lofty standards by winning five gold medals, including a national championship in the varsity eight. Even Sue Bird of the Storm did some busting out . . . MORE
“We’ll see what happens as we go forward. “You never have enough catchers. As we know, you go through the course of the year and fortunately in our league you do have the DH. As you move forward, things happen. If you like the player, you take him and let it fall into place. We think this guy’s a very nice receiver, we like Montero an awful lot and they’ll both be in our plans” — Jack Zduriencik, Mariners GM, after the club made Florida catcher Mike Zunino the team’s first pick in the amateur draft
Its not a Sunday morning pub team. Its not a bunch of guys who roll out of the bar and walk out onto the field to play. These are all guys who still see soccer in their future. Who even through the team maybe doesnt train all that much are training on their own, are staying fit on their own. So from that standpoint, its not your typical amateur team” — Sigi Schmid, Sounders coach, on Cal FC, Seattle’s fourth-round opponent in the U.S. Open Cup
“I don’t know how long this is going to last. Brandon (League) is finding his groove and when he comes back, that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re all aware of that. Just trying to take advantage of our opportunities when they come” — Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners reliever, after notching his first major league save Monday
“He was all heart and soul. He wasn’t a big guy and had a wonky left knee. You wouldn’t have thought he could play at all the way he strolled onto the field at the introductions, but as soon as the game started, he probably had the fastest brain on the field” — Alan Hinton, former Sounders coach, on the death of Steve Buttle, an original Sounder
Overall, were very pleased with the athleticism, talent level and character of the players we drafted. Our scouts did an excellent job traveling all over the country finding the top talent at both the high school and college levels. We look forward to getting many of these young men signed and in uniform” — Tom McNamara, Mariners director of amateur scouting, after the annual free agent draft
“It was kind of fun to get so many people involved. It just felt like a really collective team effort” — Brendan Ryan, Mariners shortstop, after the six-pitcher no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday
“It’s kind of surreal, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, but I’m just so grateful to be here and be able to win on my home track” — Katie Flood, a native Iowan and UW 1,500-meter runner, after winning the NCAA title in the event Saturday