Top of the 10th: Wow. Franklin Gutierrez’s catch over the centerfield wall saved a three-run homer, and while Minnesota has a runner on third with one out, Gutierrez’s catch was a long way toward being a save.
Top of the ninth: Now granted, I cover more football than baseball, and I’m probably not going to be mistaken for statistician Bill James any time soon, but do you want a player getting thrown out at second base with your top two hitters coming up?
That’s how the Twins’ half of the ninth ended when Denard Span was thrown out attempting to steal second base with Joe Mauer at the plate and Justin Morneau coming up.
Top of the eighth: Jose Lopez could have fielded Brian Buscher’s ground ball cleanly to end the top of the eighth a lot easier. Instead, the ball hit off the heel of his glove, skidded away, but when pinch-runner Matt Tolbert rounded third and tried to score, Lopez composed himself, threw home to catcher Rob Johnson who tagged out Tolbert for the third out of the inning.
Bottom of the seventh: Ichiro grounded out to end the seventh inning for Seattle, leaving him hitless in his four trips to the plate.
Top of the seventh: Now there is action in the bullpen. Sean White is throwing for the Mariners. Felix Hernandez struck out one in the inning, and was at 110 pitches after completing the seventh with a pop out to center.
Bottom of the sixth: Say this for your designated hitter and No. 4 batter dropping down a bunt to begin the sixth inning of a tie game: It’s unorthodox. Smart? Not necessarily. Conventional? Nope. Not at all. Effective? In this case, not at all. Catcher Joe Mauer got up and threw him out easily.
Top of the sixth: The M’s bullpen is officially stirring. Two people stretching. No one is throwing, though, which I believe is what officially constitutes “action” in the bullpen. Felix Hernandez had runners on first and second with one out and he pitched his way out of it with a pop out to right field, which Ichiro caught on or near the foul line and then a grounder to first.
Bottom of the fifth: Ichiro failed to get a hit when his infield ground ball was charged by second baseman Alexi Casilla, who tumbled after making the throw to first base in time to get Ichiro.
Top of the fifth: The Twins loaded the bases for the second time in the game against Felix Hernandez, but this time failed to get anything to show for it.
Top of the fourth: Felix Hernandez struck out two in the fourth inning. He has struck out four through four innings.
Bottom of the third: Ichiro walks in the third, taking two close pitches and reaching first. The Mariners loaded the bases with two walks and a single, but Mike Sweeney flied out to right field to end the threat.
Top of the 3rd: The Twins tied the score with two consecutive infield hits, a sacrifice bunt by
Alexi Casilla Denard Span and a sacrifice fly by Justin Morneau.
Bottom of the 2nd: Mike Sweeney did exactly what a designated hitter is supposed to do: He provided some whallop with a solo home run. Wow. Coming after Ken Griffey Jr. hit two doubles and a homer on Tuesday, you’ll have to forgive Mariner fans if they don’t recognize this kind of production from that position. After all, Miguel Cairo and Jose Vidro spent a good chunk of last season taking turns at DH, and their production was closer to the stats you’d expect from a National League pitcher than an American League DH.
No one will accuse Sweeney or Griffey of hitting the cover off the ball so far this season, but the past couple of games have shown some pop.
Update: Miguel Cairo was Seattle’s DH for all of three games last year. Jose Vidro was there for 70 games, and Jeff Clement ranked No. 2 with 22 games as DH.
Top of the 2nd: Felix looks fierce. He struck out two batters in the second, both on off-speed pitches. Hernandez got Minnesota clean-up hitter Jason Kubel to go on an 0-2 pitch in the dirt when Kubel couldn’t check his swing in time, and he struck out Brian Buscher on a sharp curve to end the inning.
Bottom of the 1st: Ichiro didn’t extend his hitting streak as quickly as he did Monday and Tuesday when he hit safely in his first at-bat. This time he flied out to center.
Top of the 1st: Felix Hernandez needed
eight nine pitches to get through the first inning and didn’t allow a base runner.