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May 10, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins: 05/10 game thread

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Turns out the Mariners weren’t done in the eighth, as Adrian Beltre and Russell Branyan lined consecutive singles to put runners at the corners with none out. Beltre soon scored on a wild pitch and Wladimir Balentien then launched a ball off the wall in right center for a double to make it 4-2.
Yes, the Mariners have a lead. Hard to believe.
1:45 p.m.<strong>Ken Griffey Jr. just stunned the crowd here — and likely his own team — by drilling a pitch from lefty reliever Jose Mijares over the right field wall to tie this game 2-2 in the eighth inning. The Mariners were five outs away from a seventh loss in a row when Jose Lopez drew a walk and Griffey smacked his no-doubter. The crowd groaned as the ball was hit and right fielder Michael Cuddyer didn’t even move. It was the 26th homer of Griffey’s career at the Metrodome, one behind Jim Thome for the all-time lead.
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Miguel Batista did a nice job of striking out Cuddyer in the seventh with a runner on to keep it a two-run game. Let’s see what happens.
1:03 p.m.: Erik Bedard just didn’t have it today. But the one pitch he’ll really regret was the wild one he threw with two strikes on Michael Cuddyer. That enabled Justin Morneau, who’d drawn a two-out walk, to move up into scoring position. Cuddyer then singled, as you almost knew he would. Ichiro trapped the ball on the run in right and tried to throw in a quick motion, but Morneau was running on the pitch and easily crossed the plate.
Bedard needed 110 pitches to get through only 4 2/3 innings. He walked five guys and leaves with the score 2-0 for the Twins heading to the sixth, Mark Lowe came on and walked Brendan Harris to put two on, but got the final out of the fifth on a fly ball to right.
Yes, the strike zone of umpire Tim McClelland has been inconsistent today. But you have to do a better job than Bedard did of adjusting. Nick Blackburn seems to be doing fine with it. Seattle’s two best starters did not get the job done this series. In Bedard’s favor, he did at least minimize the damage. His team still has a shot to win this game.
By the way, I read that Felix Hernandez has become a spokesperson for the Humane Society of Seattle/King County. Hernandez loves his puppies. If you want to see what his own look like, have a look at the photos below.
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And here they are, side by side:
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12:33 p.m.: Unbelievable botched scoring chance by the Mariners in the fourth after Ken Griffey Jr. led off with a double off the wall in right center. Adrian Beltre followed with a single to center that should have gotten the run in. But Griffey can’t run like he used to and was wisely held at third. Or maybe it wasn’t so wise. Russell Branyan popped out to shallow center, Wladimir Balentien popped out to shallow right and Yuniesky Betancout, hacking away again, grounded out to shortstop.
A lack of fundamental execution all around that inning. This team is not playing the game the right way anymore and it shows. Still 1-0 after four. Erik Bedard is up to 84 pitches.
12:09 p.m.: Seattle trails 1-0 after three as Erik Bedard has walked the leadoff batter in each of the opening three frames. It came back to get him this time as Justin Morneau doubled off the wall in right center. An alert play by center fielder Endy Chavez limited the damage, as Morneau took too big a turn at second and was thrown out 8-4-5-6. But Bedard is now up to 67. He needs to economize in a hurry. He can start by not walking the first batter in the fourth.
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11:30 a.m.: Ichiro grounds out unassisted at first base to open today’s game.
The Mariners try to halt a six-game losing streak this afternoon, taking on yet another right handed starter who will try to make them look bad and himself look great. Nick Blackburn is no Roger Clemens. Let’s see if he looks like one by day’s end.
Seattle went 1-2-3 in the first inning, then Erik Bedard allowed two on with one out, but rallied for a popout on Justin Morneau and a strikeout of Michael Cuddyer. He’ll have to watch his pitch count.

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