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July 8, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Mariners game thread, July 8

WORST LOSS OF THE SEASON? — This one has to be up there as the Mariners simply threw this one away to lose two straight to the lowly O’s. More later from what figures to be an especially somber clubhouse
UH OH — So much for insurance. This game came undone in a hurry as four hits, a walk and an error have given the Orioles a 4-3 lead with two runners on base and still no outs. This would be a crusher to go into the Texas series. Seattle still has to get out of this but for what it’s worth, the M’s are due to have Balentien, Cedeno and Ichiro up in the bottom of the ninth. Figure on Griffey getting one of those at-bats.
M’S GET SOME INSURANCE — A gift run in the eighth thanks to a two-out throwing error by Oscar Salazar has Seattle up 3-0 and David Aardsma now on to close it out. If he does, Seatte will get its 10th series win out of its last 12.
M’S HOLDING ON — More solid bullpen work for the Mariners, as well as the latest Franklin Gutierrez defensive gem as Seattle gets through the eighth 1-2-3 to hold on to a 2-0 lead. Gutierrez made a diving stab of a leadoff liner by Aubrey Huff as the O’s failed to have a runner reach base for just the second time this game.
OLSON SAVES IT FOR MARINERS — If the M’s hold on, give Garrett Olson a huge gold star for getting out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam the result of a hit, a walk and an error. Olson came on and struck out Nick Markakis then got Ty Wigginton to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Baltimore is now 0-11 with runners in scoring position and has left nine runners on base.
GOOD START FOR BATISTA — Batista needed just seven pitches to retire the Orioles in the sixth so it remains 2-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth. This is looming as a weird series for the O’s, who were one-hit Monday night, scored 12 last night, and now are on the verge of another low-hit game as they have just three through six innings.
BATISTA NOW IN — Hold on to your seats now as Batista is entering the game for Vargas, who leaves allowing no runs and only three hits but throwing 97 pitches while walking five and striking out six. He had 54 strikes among those 97 pitches. Batista has been good overall this season but in his last outing was rocked around in Boston on Sunday. Seattle has just two hits since the first inning leaving the score at 2-0 entering the sixth.
VARGAS FINALLY GETS A QUICK INNING — Didn’t look that way at the start when he threw five straight balls. But a double play and then a quick ground out ended Baltimore’s fifth as Seattle continues to lead 2-0. He’s thrown 97 pitches, however, and figures to be out soon — his season-high is 106. Miguel Batista has been warming in the bullpen the last two innings.
VARGAS ESCAPES AGAIN — Vargas walked the first two batters of the fourth inning, eliciting a meeting with pitching coach Rick Adair attended by the entire infield. And something in that meeting seemed to do the trick as he then struck out Gregg Zaun swinging, got Robert Andino on a little fly to left, and then struck out Adam Jones swinging to get out of the jam. He’s approaching 90 pitches and may not last long, but so far, he has Seattle still ahead 2-0.
SCORING CHANGE — Scratch the error on O’s RF Nick Markakis in the second inning and give a double to Langerhans. It was originally ruled a single and an error when Markakis overran the ball. But the thinking apparently is that Langerhans would have gone for two anyway.
M’S KEEP 2-0 LEAD — O’s get another two runners on, but Reimold came to the rescue again for the M’s, striking out to end the threat. Baltimore has left five on in three innings, allowing Seattle to continue to lead 2-0.
ROOF CLOSING — Must be a threat of rain as the roof is closing as I write this. That sometimes seems to make the balls travel better, so we’ll see if that changes the game at all.
STILL 2-0 M’S — Vargas gave up a one-out double to Melvin Mora but again left the O’s scoreless so it’s 2-0 heading to the bottom of the second.
MORE ON BRANYAN — Sorry not to have mentioned this earlier, but it does bear noting again that Branyan is batting third. Times baseball maven Larry Stone points out Branyan had batted second every game since June 2, a span nduring which the M’s were 19-12. Obviously with Beltre out, however, it was inevitable the lineup might get reconfigured.
M’S STRIKE FIRST —- Jose Lopez followed a gift bloop hit with a 380-foot HR to left field that struck the foul pole to put Seattle ahead 2-0. The HR came off Oriole starter David Hernandez on an 0-2 pitch that appeared to be a low fastball that didn’t get low enough. Lopez is hitting cleanup for the fourth time this season. He followed Branyan who is hitting third for the first time this year. Chris Woodward scored ahead of Lopez reaching when his blooper fell in front of a diving Baltimore LF Nolan Reimold — looked like it bounced off his glove. It was scored a hit.
VARGAS LABORS THROUGH FIRST BUT GETS OUT OF IT — It took 25 pitches and a walk and a single, but Jason Vargas finally got through the first inning unscatched now turning it over to the Mariners offense. Vargas is one of the interesting storylines to watch as he had a 5.93 ERA in June after a 1.65 May, and lasted just four innings in his last start at New York. But he’s been great at home this year, going 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in five starts. That’s the Vargas Seattle needs today.
FIRST PITCH NEARING — We’re about five minutes away from the start of this one, and it feels like a pretty big game as the Mariners need a win to avoid losing the series to the last-place Orioles — which would obviously kill a lot of the momentum gained on the 5-4 road trip of the previous week.

Comments | Topics: Chris Woodward

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