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May 27, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Mariners vs. Royals, game 3

Mariners now up 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth and should be able to hold on, despite some late noise being made by the Royals. Washburn got jobbed somewhat by that 22-minute rain delay. He’d looked very smooth before that, giving up just the one hit, but then got hit hard right after the delay for the two runs, got through the seventh, then yielded that third run in the eighth.
Still, he’ll take the seven-inning “quality start” and the heavy-duty run support. That was a huge RBI by Raul Ibanez in the top of the ninth for that extra cushion with the Royals now threatening here a half-frame later.
Is Ibanez a white male? Seriously, “kyoko” in the comments thread of the previous post, you really have to get a grip. Accusing folks of racism simply for commenting on the merits of your favorite player is not a way to gain credibility with me or any serious-thinking fan. Where were you when we were ripping Richie Sexson the past few weeks? Are we suggesting Ichiro is a lousy player? No, we are not. All we’re commenting about is the fact that he is seeking a huge contract and trying to figure out whether he is worth it. The fact that he is Japanese alone, to reverse your argument, does not make him immune from scrutiny or criticism for what he does.
GAME TO RESUME
That was some rain that just pounded us! But it has stopped for now, they’re pulling off the tarp and we are told play will resume within 10 minutes.
ICHIRO STREAK AT 20
Ichiro just beat the rain in lining an RBI single to right field, extending his hit streak to 20 games. The dark clouds are moving in as I type this. Still no rain, but it looks like it’s about 7 p.m. instead of 2:40. I can see why the grounds crew moved so quickly. Ichiro didn’t have to wait for an official scorer’s call on that hit. Nice and clean. It’s a 6-0 game…and the rain just began. They’ll call this in a minute or so.
RAIN ON ITS WAY
That was a very important fifth inning Jarrod Washburn just got through as we head to the sixth. I can tell you that members of the grounds crew just sprinted towards the rolled-up tarp in foul territory and are standing there at-the-ready. There is no rain yet, but the air is thick and somebody has obviously received a radar report that indicates it’s close. The wet weather hits fast and hard here. It can be sunny one minute and pounding hail the next. This game is now official, with Seattle up 4-0 in the sixth. Washburn has a one-hitter going.
MARINERS KEEP BATS ROLLING
Yes indeed, as one of you pointed out in the previous thread, the Mariners did enter today with the best batting average in the American League at .278. They are already up 4-0 after four innings here, more run support than Jarrod Washburn often sees in an entire game. I have a three-word explanation for the improvement: Devil Rays, Royals.
Yes, the M’s have shown a better plate approach. But the dividends usually aren’t this dramatic, this quick. Over the last three games alone, the M’s have vaulted their average from .269 to .278 by going 48-for-124 (.387). Over the last five games against the Royals and D-Rays, the M’s scored 41 runs. They have hit .500 with runners in scoring position the last four games.
No, they have not played good teams. But give them credit, they are doing what had to be done. Unless Washburn falls apart, they could end this six-game stretch at 5-1 heading into Anaheim.
The big moment today? Not the Adrian Beltre home run the last inning that gave Seattle a fourth run. Try the brilliant sacrifice bunt by Jamie Burke to set up a three-run third inning. Burke came an eyelash away from beating it out for an infield hit. But he moved the runners over and — after Ichiro walked — a hard grounder up the middle by Jose Vidro brought two runs in. An infield hit followed and Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly (yes a sac fly and sac bunt the same inning!) for a third marker.
Washburn has pitched very well, but had a 13-pitch at-bat with Tony Pena to end the third inning and take his pitch count up to 42. We’ll see if that at-bat has any impact later on in the game. For now, the M’s are taking care of business once again. They have no choice. The Angels were down 2-0 in New York but have rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the seventh. With that Angels bullpen ready to replace John Lackey if needed, that game may be over.

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