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May 15, 2007 at 7:57 PM

Mariners vs. Angels, game 1

A nice job by Sean White, throwing 4 1/3 no-hit innings of relief to pick up what will be his first career win. No, the Angels did not have a 10-run night in them. What a surprise. The Mariners did just take apart Kelvim Escobar, one of the AL’s hottest starters of late, with six earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. A sixth run was added to Escobar’s ledger when the official scorer changed a two-base error into a Raul Ibanez double in the third inning.
A five-hit night by Ichiro was what the Mariners needed from him at the top of the order. This was vintage Ichiro tonight, beating out infield hits, running the bases well, stealing and making pitchers nervous.
Felix Hernandez did look rusty, lasting only 3 2/3 innings before he hit 78 pitches and his limit for the night. But the M’s didn’t need him at his best. Hernandez allowed seven hits and walked three batters. But he shouldn ‘t be doing that when he rounds into form. He needs time. Settling him back in there against an offense as poor as the Angels trot out nightly was — in hindsight — a much better move than starting him off at Yankee Stadium or Comerica Park as first planned. The game just ended, so it’s an easy 11-3 win for the Mariners.
What a shame Felix Hernandez likely won’t go the minimum five innings to qualify for a win here. He’s up 9-1 in the fourth after his team put up a six-spot in the third inning. An error by the Angels — their third fielding mishap of the game — got the whole thing started and by the time it ended, Angels starter Kelvim Escobar had been knocked from the game.
Escobar had allowed just two earned runs over his last two starts, both victories, but now gets tagged with five earned over just 2 1/3 frames. A good job by Seattle hitters of making the Angels pay for their mistakes.
Anyone think the Angels will score 10 runs in this game? Me neither. But poor Hernandez, who yielded a pair of hits to start off the fourth, is now up to 69 pitches with two on and one out. His limit is only 75 to 80. I doubt Hargrove sends him back out there if he escapes this in a couple of pitches. What a waste of run support. But the M’s need him healthy. If they keep playing the AL West leaders this tough, the Mariners might be in this thing a long time after May.
There are two different games being played here tonight. The one on the scoreboard, with the Mariners ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the third, and the second game on the pitch-count clock. Felix Hernandez just got through that third inning, but a two-out walk to Chone Figgins was followed by three infield hits and several additional pitches.
The result is that Hernandez has thrown 57 pitches through three innings. It means he’s unlikely to go more than four frames if the Angels play it even remotely smart and take some pitches next inning. Then again, it’s the Angels, so you never know. They can’t hit their way out of a paper bag without Vladimir Guerrero and were fortunate to get a run that inning.
Come to think of it, the Mariners were fortunate to get three runs — two unearned — in the first inning on a pair of lousy fielding plays and a wild pitch with a couple of sharp singles thrown in. So, it’s 3-1 and the Seattle bullpen will likely have to pick up five innings in this one. The good news though, is that any more runs off Kelvim Escobar and the Angels offense is very unlikely to come back. They just don’t seem into this game. Neither do the fielders. If the Halos don’t get their heads into this series soon, the Mariners could wind up sneaking into first place. Still a ways to go before that happens, but a good start for the home side.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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