8:50 p.m.: We’ve got ourselves a game again, now 5-4 heading to the sixth, Angels still ahead. Los Angeles handed the Mariners three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. Joe Saunders got two quick outs, then surrendered a double to Yuniesky Betancourt and a single to Ichiro. With runners at the corners, Jose Lopez hit a ball to second baseman Howie Kendrick that the latter allowed to literally eat him up, bringing one run home on the error. A single by Jose Vidro cashed in another marker and then third baseman Robb Quinlan threw wild to first base on another grounder to score the third M’s run of the inning. Quinlan looked to have an easier force play at second, but Kendrick wasn’t at the bag in time.
It wasn’t pretty, but the M’s have new life.
8:24 p.m.: Another non ace-like performance by Erik Bedard, though his defense certainly didn’t help him tonight. Wladimir Balentien had a shot at that blooper to right field in the fourth, but let it fall in and allowed a run to score. An ensuing single to right by Howie Kendrick plated another run to make it 5-0 and ended Bedard’s night at 75 pitches and 3 1/3 innings. Like I said, it wasn’t all Bedard. There were three fielding plays behind him that could have been made. Maybe saved him four runs. But he didn’t exactly pick up his teammates in the field did he? Also will have to stop trying to pitch around Jeff Mathis. I mean, what’s up with those two walks to the No. 9 hitter? I know Mathis hit the homer off Jarrod Washburn last night. Washburn and Bedard are buds. So maybe they had a little talk last night?
Washburn: Hey, Erik, whatever you do, stay away from that Mathis dude…man’s like McGwire and Bonds combined.
Bedard: Sure thing, Wash. Whatever you say. Don’t want any part of him.
Anyhow, Jose Lopez finally got the M’s on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. Nice to see him hitting for power again. The past two nights, he’s been scorching it. But seriously. What’s with the fist-pump afterwards? Has Lopez checked the scoreboard out lately? The standings? If anything, he just ticked off Joe Saunders more than he already was after the longball. If he wants to “pump his team up” as one of you suggested, he might try stopping that ground ball instead of letting it get by him for two runs. Maybe the M’s like that fist-pump stuff, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me thinking it looked a little…uh, like the President’s last name.
So, it’s 5-1 heading to the fifth.
7:55 p.m.: Well, we know the Mariners are not going to get no-hit tonight. Yuniesky Betancourt just doubled with two out in the third to end a string of eight batters in a row retired by Joe Saunders. Ichiro promptly grounded out to end the threat, so it’s still a 3-0 game heading to the fourth. I don’t mind a quick game. Flying to Boston ahead of the team tomorrow and am going to use the Thursday off-day to fly to Montreal and visit my mother. Will return to Boston on Friday morning. That means two flight connections tomorrow and a 5 a.m. wakeup call. In other words, I’d like to be home before midnight. So far, the M’s are obliging. I’m sure that’s not what many of you want to hear. Nor this: through 10 batters, Saunders has thrown 32 pitches. That’s 3.2 per at-bat so far.
7:36 p.m.: Jose Lopez just cost Erik Bedard a pair of runs in the second inning. Bedard didn’t do himself any favors by loading up the bases with one out on a walk to No. 9 hitter Jeff Mathis. But Bedard then jammed Reggie Willits for an infield popout and got Maicer Izturis to roll one up the middle towards second. Lopez had a tough play, but made a strange type of dive for the ball and had it roll underneath him and into center field for a two-run single. If Lopez at least slides and knocks the ball down — keeping it to an infield hit — it’s only one run. I happen to think a competent second baseman makes that play more often than not and prevents any run from scoring. Not this time. Not this year. Now a 3-0 game. The 100/100 club is making a list. Be sure to get your name on it for all the goodies.
7:31 p.m.: Didn’t take long for the Mariners to commit an error and allow an unearned run as Adrian Beltre flubs a leadoff grounder by Reggie Willits in the first inning. Erik Bedard got two outs after that, with Willits advancing to third base, but a first-pitch double to left center by Torii Hunter plated the runner after that. Joe Saunders retired the Mariners in order in the bottom of the inning, so the Angels lead 1-0 as we head to the second.