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April 18, 2008 at 8:44 PM

Mariners at Los Angeles Angels: 4/18 game thread

8:44 p.m.: OK, scratch that last post. Things are looking decidedly better for the M’s after a three-run homer to left by Richie Sexson in the seventh. The 24th two-homer game of Sexson’s career has made it a 5-4 contest, with Seattle still trailing. Adrian Beltre notched a one-out double, then wisely held up at second on a bloop single to right by Jose Vidro. Beltre wasn’t sure if the ball was going to be caught and held his ground rather than risk being thrown out with Sexson due up. The M’s needed multiple runs in a hurry — not just one — and got them when Sexson crushed the 1-0 offering from Joe Saunders. Sean Green is now on for Seattle. R.A. Dickey goes six innings, allowing five runs.
In case you missed it earlier, here’s today’s video of our continuing road trip. I’ll throw in some tips on how we save time with our car rentals and also what we try to do to save some money on hotel costs. For instance, we writers qualify for Marriott VIP rates at some of their hotels, like the one I’m staying at in Anaheim. Gives you half off their rack rate. Throw in the free parking, we save the paper over $100 per night over the other Marriott right up the road. Anyhow, not that important for you. But enjoy the video in any case.

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8:07 p.m.: Still a 3-1 game, the Angels ahead, as we start the bottom of the fifth inning. Bith starting pitchers seem to have found a groove and the hitters are going down quickly. R.A. Dickey has retired 10 of the last 11 batters, the only exception being a Torii Hunter double to right center that Ichiro failed to squeeze in the fourth. Seattle just went 1-2-3 in the fifth against Joe Saunders, who has retired 11 straight since the Richie Sexson home run in the second. The M’s will have to get something going quickly, because they aren’t going to knock Saunders out by running up his pitch count. He’s throwing early strikes, like the M’s pitchers did in Oakland, and the hitters can’t make solid contact.
8:36 p.m.: R.A. Dickey needed Richie Sexson to come up with that Maicer Izturis smash to the right side of the infield with two on and two out in the sixth. Sexson dove for the ball, but, as often happens, could not come up with it. Torii Hunter, who’d notched his third double of the night to ignite the two-out rally, wound up scoring on the play. Mike Napoli followed with an ensuing RBI single that made it a 5-1 game heading into the seventh. The way the M’s are — or aren’t — hitting tonight against Joe Saunders makes the rest of this one look doubtful for them.
7:38 p.m.: Richie Sexson got the M’s on the board in the second, finally doing something with a full-count pitch other than walk or strike out. He cranked the Joe Saunders offering over the wall in left center to make it a 3-1 game. R.A. Dickey had a 1-2-3 second inning with three flyball outs. Ichiro made the last one look difficult. He’d been playing Erick Aybar far too shallow and had to sprint full speed back to the warning track for a lunging grab. On to the third.
7:25 p.m.: Rough start for R.A. Dickey, who trails 3-0 after an inning of play. Only one ball hit hard in the inning, but it was a three-run double by Torii Hunter. Chone Figgins and Gary Matthews Jr. opened with some seeing eye singles punched through the infield. A walk to Vlad Guererro loaded the bases before Dickey struck Garret Anderson out. But Dickey tried throwing a fastball by Hunter and got it tagged hard to the left field corner. Guerrero tried to score all the way from first and would have been nabbed with a good relay. But Raul Ibanez didn’t get the greatest throw in from left and cutoff man Yuniesky Betancourt made a weak throw home that bounced away from catcher Kenji Johjima. Hunter tried to catch the M’s by surprise but was thrown out easily at the plate. Tough start for Seattle. The way Joe Saunders is throwing this season, you don’t want to spot the Angels any bigger of a lead.
7:13 p.m.: Ichiro grounded out against Joe Saunders to start things off, as did Jose Lopez. Red hot Raul Ibanez singled to center, but Adrian Beltre grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the top of the first.
Tonight’s lineups:
51 Ichiro CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
3 Jose Vidro DH
44 Richie Sexson 1B
2 Kenji Johjima C
16 Willie Bloomquist RF
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
41 R.A Dickey RHP
ANGELS (10-7)
9 Chone Figgins 3B
24 Gary Matthews Jr. RF
27 Vladimir Guererro DH
16 Garret Anderson LF
48 Torii Hunter CF
35 Casey Kotchman 1B
6 Maicer Izturis 2B
44 Mike Napoli C
2 Erick Aybar SS
51 Joe Saunders LHP

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