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June 7, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Game thread

Bottom of the eighth: Jose Lopez bat failed him in a most literal sense. There was a snap and crack when he lined toward left field with the bases loaded, the ball dipping like a dying quail before it was caught for the final out of the inning.
Bottom of the seventh: Jose Lopez now a triple away from hitting for the cycle, which just might be the most heralded statistical quirk ever. Wouldn’t you rather have four home runs than the cycle? Or a home run, triple and two doubles? But somehow, getting the cycle is seen as so significant. I guess I’m just too much of a football reporter to understand.
Top of the sixth: Erik Bedard is out after throwing 101 pitches over five innings. He walked four, struck out four, gave up four hits and allowed two runs.

Bottom of the fifth: A tale of two middle infielders, neither of whom have been known for their sterling defense this season or their discipline at the plate. One — Yuniesky Betancourt — has been on the bench for all of this three-game series against Minnesota. The other — Jose Lopez — has driven in two of Seattle’s three runs in this game. His one-out double scored Adrian Beltre in the fifth, and his solo home run in the bottom of the fifth gave Seattle a 3-2 lead after the Twins tied the game.

Seattle let opportunity after opportunity pass it by in the first four innings. Eight runners left on base in those four frames alone.
The secret to scoring? Swing big with the bases empty. Seattle has hit three solo home runs, accounting for all but one of its four runs in this game. Catcher Jamie Burke hit Seattle’s second solo home run of the fifth inning, pulling the final pitch Kevin Slowey got a chance to throw into the Twins bullpen for a 4-2 lead.

Top of the fifth: And there is officially action in the Mariners bullpen. Miguel Batista is now throwing.

The Twins tied the score with a walk and a double by catcher Joe Mauer. Justin Morneau drove in one run when he grounded out to second, and Joe Crede lifted a fly ball to right field that allowed Mauer to score as he tagged up.

Bottom of the fourth: Seattle leaves the bases loaded, which would make eight men left on base in the first four innings.

Top of the fourth: Slowey: Name of the Twins’ starting pitcher. Slow: The pace of Sunday’s game.
Erik Bedard has thrown 85 pitches in four innings.

Bottom of the third: The first 120 pitches of Sunday’s game produced exactly one run: Russell Branyan’s home run in the bottom of the first.
The Mariners left four runners on base the first two innings, Erik Bedard wishes he were Charmin so he could tell the ump to stop squeezing him, but second baseman Jose Lopez doubled into the gap in right-center field, scoring Adrian Beltre from first base and the Mariners went ahead 2-0.
Ronny Cedeno popped out to first, which was an improvement over his previous at-bat when he struck out swinging at a pitch at his eyebrows. He’s now hitless in eight at-bats during his stint as a starting shortstop this series, making fans pine for Yuniesky Betancourt. Ouch.
Top of the third: Dear American League:

I understand the desire to test the third baseman. Really, I do. You’ve got some fleet feet in the batter’s box and the desire to get a runner on base. Hey, why not drop down a bunt? Yes, it’s tempting, but I must urge you to resist that temptation when you play the Seattle Mariners. That is unless you want to provide one more demonstration of why he might be the best fielding third baseman in the game today. Then by all means, please drop down a bunt like Denard Span did to lead off the bottom of the third, watch Beltre barehand the ball, and in one motion make the throw that couldn’t be placed any better if he came equipped with an infrared sighting beam.
In summary: Don’t bunt on Adrian Beltre. Just don’t.
Danny O’Neil
Seattle Times Sports
Bottom of the second: Branyan the Manyan has become a popular chorus in the comments section, but I’ve gotta’ say that I prefer kyle bleeds purple’s choice of Russell the Muscle even though Russell didn’t have enough muscle, popping out as the Mariners left two runners on for the second consecutive inning.
Top of the second: Looking for a clue as to why Erik Bedard doesn’t last so long in games? Well, the fact that in the second inning he struck out Michael Cuddyer in eight pitches and then walked Brendan Harris on eight pitches the very next batter gives you an idea.
It doesn’t look like home plate umpire CB Bucknor is giving Bedard much of anything on the outside corner, and the first batter of the second, Bedard threw a sharp 2-0 breaking ball that was called outside. Bedard didn’t appear too pleased. He caught the ball in front of him, held his glove there and then just looked toward home for an awkward second or two.
Bedard has walked two batters with two outs this inning and has thrown 45 pitches. That’s not adding up to a long afternoon.

He struck out Alexi Casilla to end the inning after a little mound conference was called in which everyone got together, sang Koombaya or gave the ump the stink eye or whatever it was.
Bottom of the second: Russell Branyan hit his 13th home run of the season, hitting a 3-2 pitch over the wall in straight-away center field on the ninth pitch of his at-bat. It is Branyan’s 13th home run of the season.

A single by Adrian Beltre and walk to Ken Griffey Jr., bring up Ronny Cedeno, whose been the Mariners’ starting shortstop this series, not Yuniesky Betancourt. Manager Don Wakamatsu was asked about Betancourt getting the day off on Friday and he said it was to give Cedeno some time in the infield, keep the Mariners’ utility man sharp. He just about corkscrewed himself into the ground striking out as the final batter that inning.

Top of the first: All three Minnesota outs came on balls hit into the outfield. Joe Mauer hit a ball that Endy Chavez caught on the warning track in left field for the first out of the inning.



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