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May 4, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Rangers, May 4

UPDATE 8:44: Felix has been replaced by Sean White to start the seventh. The line on Hernandez: 6 ip, 10 h, 6 r, 6 er, 0 bb, 9 k, 2 HR
UPDATE 8:31 P.M.: Well, that didn’t last long. Chris Davis’s two-run homer in the sixth just put Texas back on top, 6-4.
UPDATE 8:20 P.M. As colleague Steve Kelley, sitting next to me in the press box, just pointed out, the Mariners have hit for the cycle this inning. It’s a whole new ballgame, folks. The Mariners just stranded Ichiro at third, but they tied it 4-4 on Franklin Gutierrez’s three-run homer. Just as an aside, it was amazing to see Ichiro turn it up to another gear as he rounded first and realized he had a shot at a triple.
UPDATE 8:15 P.M.: Well, that’s that. Russ Branyan just led off the fifth with a resounding homer to right. Goodbye perfecto and shutout. 4-1 Rangers.
UPDATE 8:05 P.M.: By the way, Millwood has thrown 37 pitches through four innings.
UPDATE 8 P.M.: Millwood is still perfect through four innings. This could get interesting.The Mariners have three strikeouts, five groundouts, three fly outs to the outfield (one to the track by Jose Lopez), and one foul popup.
UPDATE 7:50 P.M.: Felix’s scoreless streak is over at 22. Michael Young singled up the middle — just under Lopez’s glove — and Hank Blalock brought him home with a solid double to left-center. Marlon Byrd then singled home Blalock.
UPDATE 7:45 P.M.: The Mariners are still hitless — baserunnerless, for that matter — through three. Millwood does have a no-hitter to his credit (April 27, 2003, against the Giants, while with Philadelphia).
UPDATE 7:33 P.M. Zach Greinke of the Royals just completed a six-hit shutout against the White Sox, fanning 10 and dropping his ERA to an absurd 0.40. The Mariners are living a charmed life: They go to KC tomorrow for a two-game series, and miss Greinke.
UPDATE 7:27 P.M. After writing this, the score will probably wind up 10-9, but I’d wager this is going to be a low-scoring game. The Mariners have already turned in a couple of fine defensive plays.
UPDATE 7:03 P.M.: Kevin Millwood went 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts againt the Mariners last year, all in Seattle. But M’s fans shouldn’t get too cocky. Felix Hernandez was 0-4 with a 4.04 ERA in six starts against the Rangers in 2008.
This is the AL West showdown series we all envisioned when the season started, right? The first-place Mariners against the second-place Rangers. Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride.
This series brings together the player who ranks first alphabetically in baseball history (David Aardsma), the longest last name in baseball history (Jarrod Saltalamacchia), and the only hyphenated name in baseball history (Ryan Rowland-Smith, currently on the DL). What more could you possibly want? OK, I’ve got more: The second player named “Elvis” in baseball history, Texas rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus. (I know you’re going to ask: Elvis Pena, an infielder with Colorado in 2000 and Milwaukee in 2001).
The pitching matchup should be a dandy. Rangers ace Kevin Millwood is off to a strong start with a 2.13 ERA. Felix Hernandez, who is a bit under the weather, is working on 19 straight scoreless innings. A stat to tuck away: Ichiro is a .431 hitter (25-for-58) against Millwood.
LINEUPS
Texas
5 Ian Kinsler 2B
1 Elvis Andrus SS
10 Michael Young 3B
9 Hank Blalock DH
22 Marlon Byrd CF
17 Nelson Cruz RF
7 David Murphy LF
19 Chris Davis 1B
21 Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
33 Kevin Millwood RHP
Mariners
51 Ichiro RF
10 Endy Chavez LF
5 Mike Sweeney DH
30 Russ Branyan 1B
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
4 Jose Lopez 2B
2 Kenji Johjima C
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
34 Felix Hernandez P

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