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July 26, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners: 07/26 game thread

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As I mentioned yesterday, when the Mariners decide to crash and burn a season, they don’t do it halfway.
It’s now 11-2 for the Indians after Miguel Batista came on to work the sixth and gave up a leadoff double to Shin-soo-Choo, then a two-run homer to Travis Hafner, followed right after that by a solo shot to left from Ben Francisco.
Back in 2006, it was an 11-game losing streak that did the trick. In 2007, the M’s lost 15 of 17 in August and September. Last year? Well, let’s forget that one.
And now, though this will only be a third loss in a row, the Mariners have been outscored 30-5 so far in about 2 1/2 ballgames. Ichiro just singled in the sixth, snapping Cliff Lee’s streak of 13 straight hitters retired.


2:32 p.m.: Things just took a dramatic turn for the worse for the Mariners, who gave up a six-spot in the fifth inning to fall behind 8-2, The highlight of the inning was a Jhonny Peralta grand slam to left off Shawn Kelley, who had just come in to replace Jason Vargas with the bases loaded and none out.
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Vargas was his own worst enemy, walking leadoff man Grady Sizemore, who took second on a wild pitch. Asdrubal Cabrera then laid down a bunt and Vargas unwisely elected to go to third, even though it appeared he had no shot at Sizemore. That left runners at the corners and a single to left by Shin-soo-Choo put Cleveland back in front 3-2.
Vargas then saw his day end when plate umpire Delfin Colon ruled he’d hit Ryan Garko with a pitch. Garko barely reacted and appeared to lean in to the ball. The replays made it appear the ball never touched him. Vargas was incensed. Don Wakamatsu came out to argue, then pulled Vargas in favor of Kelley.
Three pitches later, the game had once again got away from the Mariners. Sizemore added insult to injury later in the inning when, after Kelley had given up two more singles and a walk (sandwhiched around a double play), he singled to right to bring home a sixth Cleveland run in the inning.
The Angels are getting hammered. Oh yeah, doesn’t matter anymore.
2:10 p.m.: We’re all tied up 2-2 after four innings of play. Jason Vargas was one out away from escaping the fourth, but yielded a single to left by Jamey Carroll. That brought home Ben Francisco, who had doubled to right field after Vargas retired the first two batters of the inning.
Vargas starts the fifth frame at 68 pitches. Considering he used 31 of those in the first inning, that’s not too shabby.
1:54 p.m.: Jason Vargas has cut down on his pitches substantially after throwing 31 in the first and is now up to only 51 through three innings. The Mariners still lead 2-1 as they try to salvage a game in this series. Yes, the Red Sox lost, so the M’s are 5 1/2 back in the wild-card race and yeah, the Angels are down 6-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, but I don’t have faith in Minnesota’s ability to hold that lead for one instant.
As we mentioned yesterday, the M’s can theoretically get back in this thing if they win about three in a row and the Angels drop three. That would leave Seattle 4 1/2 back in the division and likely the same or better in the wild-card race come Wednesday. But that’s asking a whole lot. Right now, they’re trying to get a third of the way there.
1:33 p.m.: Seattle put a nice, two-out rally together off Cliff Lee as Jose Lopez singled, then Mike Sweeney just missed a home run to left on a ball that hit the Chief Wahoo logo on the scoreboard atop the wall. That put runners at second and third and a two-out single on a bounding ball through the left side by Franklin Gutierrez put Seattle in front 2-1.
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Let’s see whether Jason Vargas can make it through three innings today. He’s off to a rough start.
1:22 p.m.: The Mariners are trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of Cliff Lee and the Cleveland Indians. They send Jason Vargas to the mound for the first time since before the All-Star Break.
Not a good start for the Mariners as Grady Sizemore takes Vargas over the wall on a full-count offering to give the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first. The blast was a no-doubter inot the right field bleachers. It was the Everett native’s second leadoff homer of the year and 20th all-time, extending his own Cleveland record.
Vargas winds up with your standard 31-pitch inning. Seen this act before, yesterday as a matter of fact. Another three-and-flee? We’ll see. Though I’ve got to say, it takes some skill to hold an opponent to just one run when they get four hits off you in an inning and one of them is a home run.
The lineups:
INDIANS (40-58)
CF Grady Sizemore
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
RF Shin-soo-Choo
1B Ryan Garko 1B
3B Jhonny Peralta
DH Travis Hafner
LF Ben Francisco
2B Jamey Carroll
C Kelly Shoppach
LHP Cliff Lee
MARINERS (51-46)
RF Ichiro
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
DH Mike Sweeney
CF Franklin Gutierrez
C Kenji Johjima
3B Jack Hannahan
LF Michael Saunders
SS Ronny Cedeno
LHP Jason Vargas

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