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August 1, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers: 08/01 game thread

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Felix Hernandez is through six innings with a 6-2 lead. Texas scored in the bottom of the sixth when Marlon Byrd doubled, then scored on a two-out single by Nelson Cruz. But Hernandez retired Josh Hamilton on a groundball on his 88th pitch of the night to get out of the inning.
Seattle added a run in the top of the sixth when Ichiro reached on his second infield single of the game, then scored on a double to right field by Jose Lopez.
Lopez is swinging a hot bat, with five hits the last two games.
Things nearly turned troublesome for Hernandez in the fifth after a leadoff walk to Elvis Andrus. Omar Vizquel then hit a rocket that appeared destined to go down the right field line for extra bases. But first baseman Russell Branyan snagged it, then stepped on his bag to complete the double play.

6:33 p.m.: That Nelson Cruz homer off Felix Hernandez was a 458-footer in the fourth inning, cutting Seattle’s lead to 5-1. It was the fourth-longest home run in the history of this ballpark. Josh Hamilton hit one 460 feet earlier this year.
Hernandez, though, is through four innings with just the one run allowed after giving up all those early baserunners.
6:11 p.m.: Make that 5-0 for the Mariners as Ken Griffey Jr. doubles and later scores on a Jack Hannahan single. A failed attempt to turn a double play prolonged the inning and Ryan Langerhans triple to bring home another run on a ball Josh Hamilton took forever to get back in from the right field corner.
We’re still only in the third inning, though. Felix Hernandez has allowed five baserunners and thrown 40 pitches the first two frames. Games are never completely over in this park, espeically not just at five runs, so he’ll have to pull it together. Three walks so far. Langerhans just made a superb, outstretched catch in which he slammed his side into the wall.
5:36 p.m.: Felix Hernandez got off to a rough start. walking Omar Vizquel, then yielding a single to center by Michael Young before falling behind David Murphy 2-0 in the count. But after a grounout by Murphy advanced the runners, Marlon Byrd flied out to medium-depth right field. Ichiro ran in to make the catch before rocketing a throw home to nab the tagging Vizquel. Rob Johnson had to go high in the air for the ball, then came down in time to make the tag on Vizquel. who was running like a guy his age.
The replay, though, did appear to show him beating the tag. Still, he should be out on principle for even trying Ichiro’s arm on a ball that shallow.
Still 3-0 for Seattle as we head to the second.
5:24 p.m.: The first and only ball safely hit out of the infield by the Mariners so far tonight was a biggie. Ken Griffey Jr. launched a three-run homer on to the grass berm beyond the center field wall to give Seattle a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Ichiro had reached on an infield hit, then stole second. Jose Lopez walked with one out. And the Griffey unloaded on a full-count offering from Tommy Hunter on the outer half of the plate that got up in the zone a little too much.
Hunter is the 400th different pitcher Griffey has gone deep off of in his career.
Felix Hernandez now has a lead, going for win No. 12 tonight with two months to go. Still has a shot at the Cy Young Award.
5:09 p.m.: The Mariners will send Felix Hernandez, streak snapper to the mound against the Rangers, hoping to snap a two-game slide. He’ll face hot rookie Tommy Hunter, a candidate for rookie of the month honors in July.
The lineups:
SEATTLE (53-50)
RF Ichiro
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Jack Hannahan
SS Jack Wilson
LF Ryan Langerhans
C Rob Johnson
RHP Felix Hernandez
TEXAS (58-43)
2B Omar Vizquel
3B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
CF Marlon Byrd
1B Hank Blalock
DH Nelson Cruz
RF Josh Hamilton
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Elvis Andrus
RHP Tommy Hunter



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