10:07 p.m.: Teams just can’t squander gifts like the M’s just did against Andrew Brown in the eighth inning. Brown saw shortstop Bobby Crosby make a throwing error to start the frame, and then, with one out, he walked Greg Norton and Brad Wilkerson to load the bases. But Yuniesky Betancourt grounded into a meek-looking 6-4-3 double play and that was that. I can’t believe this is still a 4-3 game. The M’s have not allowed a baserunner since the Emil Brown double in the third.
Since my still camera is on-the-fritz, I thought I’d post some video of this afternoon’s Kenji Johjima press conference. You’ll see a touch of humor from Bill Bavasi, Johjima talking through interpreter Antony Suzuki, with both the English and Japanese media, then a shot of him taking BP.
9:20 p.m.: Good job by the Mariners of getting some runs across in the sixth. Seattle trails 4-3 after Jose Vidro and Richie Sexson produced a couple of sacrifice flies after the M’s loaded the bases with none out. Yeah, they probably could have had a bigger inning. Sexson did a good job though, fighting off a 1-2 pitch from Santiago Casilla and muscling it to right. Sexson had been jobbed on some low strike calls by plate umpire Dana DeMuth. The first baseman tends to get strikes called below his knees, which are higher up than many umpires are used to.
His hitting was better than what Brad Wilkerson offered up. Wilkerson went down swinging in a pinch-hit appearance to end the inning. Got to feel for him a bit, though. He’s barely played the past week and he’s got to deal with 98 mph heat right off the bat. Not the best pitcher to be breaking back in against. You’d almost want to leave Willie Bloomquist in there.
Cha Seung Baek is on fire right now. Retired 12 in a row heading into the seventh.
8:49 p.m.: Nine in a row retired by Cha Seung Baek. But unless he can swing a bat as well, this M’s team has to start hitting. Seattle still trails 4-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth. This is not a game they want to lose, already down three to Oakland (and 3 1/2 to the Angels) in the AL West.
8:20 p.m.: Cha Seung Baek gave the A’s a run back in the third after a leadoff double by Emil Brown, who took third on a flyout to right. Brown then scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Ryan Sweeney. So, it’s now 4-1 for Oakland. The two games in Oakland last week, the M’s attacked the zone and dared the A’s to hit the ball. Here tonight, they walked six batters the first two innings. Brown’s hit is the only real hard one on the night by Oakland, but the A’s have four runs because of all the walks.
8:01 p.m.: Team just announced that Miguel Batista has a mild groin strain on his right side. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow. The news gets better and better doesn’t it? Hey, at least Erik Bedard pitches tomorrow. Cha Seung Baek walked another batter — the sixth by Seattle in two innings — but got out of further trouble.
7:52 p.m.: Seattle got a run back in the bottom of the first to make it 3-1 on consecutive singles by ichiro and Jose Lopez and a sacrifice fly by Raul Ibanez. Miguel Batista walked the first batter he faced in the second inning and has already been pulled. Looks like some kind of medical issue with him. Could this be why the team had Cha Seung Baek on standby? This gets “curiouser” and “curiouser” doesn’t it? Baek is now in the game.
7:36 p.m.: Not sure that’s what Miguel Batista had in mind when he said last weekend that he’d discovered something new that might prolong his career by five years. Might prolong an inning by five years, the way he looked in tonight’s first. Walked four batters in the inning, gave up two singles — an RBI hit to Frank Thomas among those — and also uncorked a wild pitch. Now trails 3-0 after a half-inning.
No Brad Wilkerson again tonight. He did some pre-game running to test his sore hamstring and the team will make a call on his playing time in the next day or so.
24 Kurt Suzuki C
10 Daric Barton 1B
14 Mark Ellis 2B
35 Frank Thomas DH
32 Jack Cust LF
8 Emil Brown RF
7 Bobby Crosby SS
15 Ryan Swseeney CF
12 Donnie Murphy 3B
30 Dana Eveland LHP
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 Betnacourt SS
43 Miguel Batista RHP