Chris Jakubauskas told me something interesting last night about the Mariners bullpen: “The one thing about us is, we all want to get out there and pitch. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, or who you’re talking about. We all want to be out there contributing.”
That said, how many of you thought Roy Corcoran would survive the eighth inning once David Ortiz strolled into the on-deck circle? Raise you hands. Thought so. Believe me, my hand was at my side, too.
Corcoran went out nonetheless and threw a 1-2-3 inning, getting Ortiz on a soft lineout to right that was caught by second baseman Jose Lopez, playing the deep shift. So, this 2-2 game heads to the ninth.
Miguel Batista will pitch the bottom of the inning if we’re still tied, David Aardsma will go if Seattle has the lead.
Here’s a stat for you courtesy of longtime Boston Globe beat writer Gordon Edes, now a senior writer for Yahoo Sports (and the guy who wrote a letter to U.S. immigration on my behalf to get me into this country in 2006 — blame him). After that last Ken Griffey Jr. flyout in the sixth, he is now just 4-for-52 with no RBI and only one extra-base hit in Fenway Park games since leaving the Mariners in 1999. That includes interleague games and his return affairs here with Chicago and now Seattle.
Griffey will lead off the ninth.
By the way, for those who hadn’t heard, Dave Niehaus arrived at the ballpark, so that’s great news here on the Fourth of July. No city to be in quite like Boston for all things patriotic. This is my third July 4 covering baseball in this city and there’s always lots of fanfare associated with it.
12:41 p.m.: Chris Woodward must have been a basketball player at some point because he just saved the game for the Mariners by making a leaping grab of an errant Garrett Olson throw to third during a sixth-inning rundown. There were runners at the corners with none out when Olson snagged a comebacker by Jacoby Ellsbury. If that throw gets by Woodward, at least one run scores, maybe two on that play and the Bosox are off to the races. Instead, they nab lead runner Rocco Baldelli in the rundown and Olson gets out of the inning with a 5-4-3 double-play grounder by Jeff Bailey.
Still tied 2-2 heading to the seventh.
12:05 p.m.: What a remarkable at-bat by Russell Branyan in the fifth inning to tie this game up at 2-2 heading into the sixth. The at-bat lasted 11 pitches and resulted in a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Chris Woodward from third. Woodward had opened the inning with a single, followed by an infield bunt hit by Ronny Cedeno — the first time all year Cedeno has made it safely to first on one of his head-first slides into that bag.
Cedeno even took out first baseman Jeff Bailey on the play. Bailey was shaken up but stayed in the game. Woodward took third on an Ichiro lineout to right and then Branyan came through after falling behind 0-2 in the count. Later, with the count full, he fouled off four straight pitches before delivering. His at-bat led to a 22-pitch inning for Brad Penny, who is now at 87 to start the sixth. Justin Masterson is warming up in the bullpen.
10:40 a.m.: As was the case last night, the Mariners are down 2-0 early here today as Garrett Olson started falling behind hitters in the second and served up a two-run homer to Jason Varitek. Olson had just walked Rocco Baldelli on a full-count pitch, then saw his 3-1 offering to Varitek lined over the Green Monster in left.
Olson later yielded a single to Jacoby Ellsbury, then walked Julio Lugo on four straight pitches. Obviously distracted, he never even looked at the runners on his ensuing pitch and they pulled off a double-steal on him. But he escaped the inning by firing a 1-2 fastball right by a frozen J.D. Drew.
That’s 39 pitches in two innings for Olson.
The Mariners have struck out four times in the first two innings against Brad Penny.
10:22 a.m.: That’s a 1-2-3 first inning for Garrett Olson and just what he and the Mariners needed. Olson actually struck out the two righthanders he faced that frame, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. The lefty, J.D. Drew, flied out to left.
So, we’re scoreless after one.
Not sure what plate umpire Gerry Davis was smoking on that Ichiro at-bat in the first inning. Davis called him out on a pitch that appeared to be more than half a foot off the plate. Ichiro, naturally, was not pleased.
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
CF Franklin Gutierrez
LF Ryan Langerhans
C Kenji Johjima
3B Chris Woodward
SS Ronny Cedeno
LHP Garrett Olson
RF J.D. Drew
2B Dustin Pedroia
3B Kevin Youkilis
LF Jason Bay
DH Rocco Baldelli
C Jason Varitek
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
1B Jeff Bailey
SS Julio Lugo
RHP Brad Penny