UPDATE 8:28 P.M. (BOTTOM EIGHTH): I’m a little tied up writing my early story for the paper, but the M’s have issued five walks, hit two batters, thrown a wild pitch, had a passed ball and committed two errors tonight. Not a winning recipe.
UPDATE 7:57 P.M. (BOTTOM OF SIXTH): Washburn did a nice bit of damage control after the Rockies loaded the bases with one out with the No. 3 and 4 hitters coming up. Helton flied out to shallow center, and Hawpe struck out. But the damage had been done. It’s 5-4, Rockies.
UPDATE 7:47 P.M. (BOTTOM OF SIXTH): The Rockies tie the game on the old fake-bunt, slap-swing single by Ubaldo Jimenez. He grounded the ball past charging first baseman Russ Branyan — under his glove, really. And Dexter Fowler just delivered a squeeze to score the go-ahead run. The play was close, but I think the call was right, now that I’ve seen the replay. I’m not sure I’ve seen Don Wakamatsu any madder than arguing that call (Washburn scooped the ball to Rob Johnson, but he was just a tick late with his tag). This inning got away from Washburn with a walk and hit batter, by the way. 5-4, Rockies.
UPDATE 7:13 P.M. (BOTTOM OF FOURTH): Ah, that high altitude. Troy Tulowitzki (I’ve still got chants of TOO-LOW! ringing in my ears from the ’07 World Series) hit a fly to center that just kept carrying, all the way over the wall. 4-3, Mariners.
UPDATE 7;04 P.M. (MIDDLE OF FOURTH) : Rob Johnson is now halfway to the cycle after doubling home Yuniesky Betancourt. I’m not holding my breath on the triple, however. Washburn may have been hitting 1.000 here, but he has had bunting issues tonight. He couldn’t get one down to move Johnson to third and struck out. And there’s some bad baserunning by Johnson getting caught off second on Ichiro’s grounder to short.
UPDATE 7 P.M. END OF THIRD: Well, that inning was ugly. Two walks, and a bad throw by Washburn on a dribbler in front of the plate that allowed the second run to score. 3-2 Mariners.
UPDATE 6:42 P.M. (MIDDLE OF THIRD): As we all predicted, this lineup is a scoring machine! Adrian Beltre just doubled home two runs with the bases loaded, a line shot off the left-field wall. Previously, Ichiro singled, making this 41 consecutive games in which he’s reached base, a new career high and the longest streak of any AL player this year. Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman reached base in 43 straight games earlier in theyear. Ichiro has reached base now in 50 of 53 games.
UPDATE 6:33 P.M. (BOTTOM OF SECOND): Washburn looks sharp, and the Mariners are playing good defense behind him. Looks like 1-0 could stand up. OK, maybe not.
UPDATE 6:15 P.M (TOP OF FIRST) — Russ Branyan remains torrid. He blasted a 1-2 pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez — a 100 mph heater — over the wall in right — another no-doubt-about-it shot. He has 15 homers now in 190 at-bats. Last year, Richie Sexson hit 11 homers in 292 at-bats.
Maybe the Mariners’ lineup isn’t so weak after all. Jarrod Washburn is a career 1.000 hitter at Coors Field. He went 3-for-3 with a walk on July 7, 2001 while with the Angels, in an interleague game. The only others with a career 1.000 batting average (minimum 4 plate appearances) are Terrell Lowery (3-for-3, walk) and Ryan Madson (3-for-3, walk). Washburn remains the only pitcher in interleague history (AL or NL) to record three hits and reach base safely four times in a game.
“It’s a small sampling,” chuckled Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. “He was wondering why I didn’t hit him fifth. On the same note, Endy (Chavez) thought I made a mistake. He pulled up his sleeve and started flexing.”
WIth the knowledge that the bullpen will likely be taxed on Saturday, when starter Brandon Morrow will be limited to 60 or so pitches, the Mariners need Washburn to go a long way tonight. The Mariners will likely add an arm before tomorrow’s game — Roy Corcoran is a good guess.
We could get a magical moment tonight — Wakamatsu’s first double-switch. At least his first of the regular season. He pulled a few in spring training, if I recall.
Russ Branyan 1B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Endy Chavez CF
Ronny Cedeno LF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Rob Johnson C
Jarrod Washburn P
Dexter Fowler CF
Clint Barmes 2B
Todd Helton 1B
Brad Hawpe RF
Ryan Spilborghs LF
Troy Tuluwitzki SS
Ian Stewart 3B
Chris Ianneta C
Ubaldo Jiminez RHP