SEATTLE (AP) — Nick Franklin has been in the major leagues for less than a month but he's already starting to become one of the Seattle Mariners' most-trusted hitters in crucial situations.
Franklin delivered a two-run single off Oakland reliever Ryan Cook in the eighth inning to lift the Mariners to a 7-5 win over the A's on Saturday night.
After a three-run home run from Raul Ibanez tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh inning, Brendan Ryan led off the eighth with a single off Cook (1-1) and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Endy Chavez reached with a bunt single to put runners at the corners and took second on indifference.
Franklin then came through with the single to left field to score Ryan and Chavez to give the Mariners the lead. His three hits and three RBI matched career-highs and it was the first game-winning hit of his career.
"He likes being up in those situations," manager Eric Wedge said. "I just like the way he plays so aggressively. He does it offensively. He does it defensively. He does it on the basepaths. I just think you're a better baseball player when you play with no fear and that's what we've seen from him so far."
Yoervis Medina (2-2) worked 2 1-3 innings scoreless to close out the game.
With the three hits against Oakland, Franklin's average is up to .295 with seven doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI in 25 games. His ability to hit in critical spots is something his teammates are already noticing as well.
"For him to be able to stay calm in those situations and for him to be able to stay disciplined like that is huge," Ibanez said. "He's a really heads-up player. He plays very, very mature.
"He's been very impressive."
Franklin said he just tries to stay relaxed and not allow the pressure of the moment to get to him.
"I'm just trying to put something in play, give ourselves a chance to score anything," Franklin said. "It's better to put the ball in play than to have a swing and a miss trying to hit a long ball."
In his first game back from the disabled list, Franklin Gutierrez homered to right-center field in his first at-bat to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Following walks by Justin Smoak and Henry Blanco, Franklin came through with a two-out single to score Smoak and extend the lead to 2-0.
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