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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

May 28, 2007 at 6:12 PM

Mariners vs. Angels, game 1

Hard to believe how this thing started. The Mariners are cruising with an 12-4 lead heading into the ninth inning courtesy of an electric power display put on by Adrian Beltre, who has tied a club record with four extra-base hits. Two of those were home runs, including the two-run blast off Bartolo Colon in the sixth inning that gave Seattle a lead it hasn’t let go of.
Seattle has four home runs and three doubles and that’s the difference in this game. The Angels, as we mentioned earlier, had tons of baserunners they really didn’t doi as much as they could have with. That allowed Miguel Batista to wiggle off the hook time and time again. He is now poised for a victory, as his team has 15 hits and dozen runs — making it 50 runs over the last five games. This type of offense, it doesn’t much matter who is on the mound. Enjoy it while it lasts. It could not be happening at a better time as this game was huge for Seattle.
Winning the opener means the Mariners don’t have to worry about being swept. They can now focus on winning at least one of the next two to claim the series and gain some ground. Win the next two and we’ve got ourselves a real race in the AL West. But first things first. This was a fine job by Seattle’s hitters, who never relented despite Batista twice giving away early leads.
Again, the key to the whole night was extra-base hits. The Angels couldn’t get them when needed most. The Mariners got a few early, then hit the big blasts later on.
I’ll tell you what. It’s a 4-4 game in the sixth inning right now and the Mariners are highly fortunate to still be tied. Gripe about Miguel Batista all you want, but he has kept the team in the game despite an overabundance of baserunners.
Batista allowed a dozen baserunners the first four innings, yet gave up only four runs. Contrast that with Bartolo Colon, who has also given up the same four runs –but while allowing four fewer baserunners. One of those runners reached on an error, so he’s really only allowed seven runners he was responsible for. Four extra baserunners is a lot. It can usually mean a couple of runs.
But the difference thus far is the number of extra-base hits allowed by Colon as opposed to Batista. Colon has served up a home run and three doubles so far and…wait!…stop the presses, just gave up another home run — a two-run blast to Adrian Beltre — that puts Seattle ahead 6-4. Big turn of events. Makes that bend-but-don’t-break effort by Batitsa thus far all the more meaningful. Some big innings ahead, but the M’s have the lead again.
Looks like one of those nights here. The Mariners just stormed back for three runs off Bartolo Colon in the second inning to take a 4-2 lead. And yes, Carlos Garcia just got Jose Lopez thrown out yet again, this time at third base trying to stretch a two-run double into a triple. But do you know what? This time, Garcia made the right call. It took a perfect throw to the cutoff man by left fielder Reggie Willits — there’s that name again — and then a perfect relay by Orlando Cabrera to the third baseman to nab Lopez by a hair. No problem with Garcia getting his man thrown out there. He made the Angels make a perfect play, otherwise, Seattle may have wound up scoring another run in that inning.
Just a small but of commentary on Miguel Batista’s rough first inning. It actually wasn’t as bad as it looked, despite the 30 pitches he threw. And from the perspective of a Mariners fan, being down only 2-1 after one inning the way things began for Batista is not the worst news possible. Batista allowed the first five batters to reach base on four singles and a walk. But he’s given up only two runs to this point. Most of the hits were hard choppers that found holes. He’s pulled this act before and rebounded, including a rough start his last time out against the D-Rays. Let’s see if he can get it together from here. That inning could have been a disaster with an extra-base hit thrown in. But it wasn’t.
What a start here in Anaheim. Jose Guillen woke the ballpark up as he stepped to bat in the first inning. A cascade of boos rained down from all corners, as did a slew of curses and insults. One pitch was all Guillen needed to crank a ball well beyond the center field fence. I mean, it didn’t just go out, it landed atop a tarp perched above and beyond the bullpen. We’re talking a good 440 feet. It was a shot. The boos, naturally, continued as Guillen — the happiest guy in the ballpark and maybe all of Orange County — rounded the bases against his former team.
So, it’s a 1-0 game.
In the bottom of the inning, one-man Mariners wrecking crew Reggie Willits led off with a single, but Kenji Johjima threw him out on a botched hit-and-run. It’s the first time Willits has been caught stealing and Johjima has now nabbed 8 of his last 14 would-be stealers. A good thing too because all three hitters Miguel Batista has faced this inning have notched singles. The M’s really have to watch Willits and No. 2 hitter Orlando Cabrera. They have been the biggest reasons for a revived Angels offense.
In some brief Mariners news, Horacio Ramirez met with the team doctor in Seattle today and is not seriously hurt. But the team has no immeditate time frame for his return. This could be a Jeff Weaver type of injury, depending on how Ryan Feierabend does tomorrow, where Ramirez is kept on the DL in order to work out some other issues.
Chris Reitsma is to begin throwing again in Seattle and could be back by the weekend. Gary Matthews Jr. just tied the game 1-1 with a single. First four batters faced by Batista have hits.
Here are the lineups:
LF Reggie Willits
SS Orlando Cabrera
RF Vladimir Guerrero
CG Gary Matthews Jr.
1B Casey Kotchman
2B Howie Kendrick
C Mike Napoli
DH Shea Hillenbrand
3B Chone Figgins
RHP Bartolo Colon
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
LF Raul Ibanez
1B Richie Sexson
C Kenji Johjima
3B Adrian Beltre
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
2B Jose Lopez
RHP Miguel Batista

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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