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May 12, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Rangers, 5-12

UPDATE 7:50 P.M.: Well, this one fell apart quickly, didn’t it? While I was banging out a story for the paper, the Rangers blew it open with six in the seventh. Not Mark Lowe’s finest hour.
UPDATE 6:36 PM.: Vargas out, Batista in. Pitching line on Vargas: 5 ip, 5 h, 1 run, 1 er, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR (73 pitches, 43 strikes). That’s about as much as the Mariners could have realistically hoped.
UPDATE 6:27 P.M.: The Rangers got to Vargas in the fifth for a run — Chris Davis’s leadoff homer to right-center — but Vargas averted major damage by fanning Josh Hamilton on a called third strike with two outs and two on. M’s have done absolutely nothing with Scott Feldman and trail 1-0.
UPDATE: 6:09 P.M.: Great fourth inning for Vargas, his best yet — a hard-hit grounder by Andruw Jones that Beltre handled, a routine grounder to second by Marlon Byrd, and a strikeout looking by Nelson Cruz. For Vargas, 48 pitches through four innings.
UPDATE 6:02 P.M.: With Vargas narrowly slithering out of danger, the M’s are going to have to get their offense going against Scott Feldman. So far, through four, they’ve been limited to singles by Ichiro and Griffey. After Griffey’s leadoff single in the fourth, any chance of a rally was thwarted by a great diving catch from shortstop Elvis Andrus to rob Adrian Beltre.
UPDATE 5:36 P.M.: Well, Vargas is using his defense. Three of Texas’s six outs have been drives to the warning track — two of them hauled in by Franklin Gutierrez in the second. But he came back to strike out Chris Davis, so that’s a good sign. Just 18 pitches through two innings, another good sign. It’s 0-0.
UPDATE 5:24: I’m sure the Mariners are delighted with Vargas’s five-pitch first inning. Before the game, someone noted to Wakamatsu that Vargas believed he could throw 95 pitches. He seemed a bit skeptical. Or maybe just realistic.
“After being in this park, what, five years (as a Rangers’ coach), I know the heat and everything else,” he said. “it’s a challenge pitch in this park. I hope he goes 95.”
So far, so good.
UPDATE 5:12 p.m.: Ichiro was caught stealing for the third time this year (in eight attempts). Last year, he was caught stealing just four times all year — in 47 attempts.
Jason Vargas makes his first start since July 3, 2007, when he was with the Mets. He missed all of last season recovering from surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip, and came to the Mariners in the big three-way trade with the Mets and Indians.
It’s a nice comeback story so far. If Vargas can pitch well and cement a spot in the Mariners’ rotation, it will be a great story.
SEATTLE
Ichiro RF
Jose Lopez 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Russ Branyan 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Kenji Johjima C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Endy Chavez LF
Jason Vargas P
TEXAS
Ian Kinsler 2B
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton RF
Andruw Jones DH
Marlon Byrd LF
Nelson Cruz RF
Chris Davis 1B
Jarrod Saltalamecchia C
Elvis Andrus SS
Scott Feldman P

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