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August 5, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals: 08/05 game thread

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We didn’t start the fire,
It was always burning with Batista hurling.
We didn’t start the fire.
We saw him light it,
Then the Royals made him bite it.

Ugly inning for Miguel Batista in the sixth, giving up a run on a hit and two walks, but Sean White came in and mitigated the damage, so it’s still a 10-5 lead for Seattle as we head to the seventh inning of another “watching paint dry” and “dragging right along” ballgame. Nothing like watching a battle of bullpens that starts in the fourth inning. Whoops, the Royals started playing like Little Leaguers again in the top of the seventh, throwing the ball around real well but not getting anybody out and allowing a run to score. So, make that an 11-5 lead for the M’s. Hey, did I mention that if they win tonight, they’ll only be 6 1/2 games out of the wild-card race? Wasn’t going to mention it, but some readers wanted me to, so, there you go. Who says I’m too pessimistic?
As we mentioned, it’s ’80s Night at Kauffman Stadium tonight. Reminds me of my high school days. They’ve already played some cool 1980s songs over the PA system here. Things like Tainted Love by Soft Cell. And Centerfold by the J. Geils Band (I still have the vinyl album at home, one of my first purchases). Then, there’s Rockit by Herbie Hancock. Heard some Carribean Queen by Billy Ocean.
And then, there’s We Built This City by Starship. Funny, I thought that song had been banned in all 50 states and even the territories. I know when I visited Guam in 2005, they used to line you up and shoot you on sight if you were caught dead playing that song. Even on an IPod with headphones. In Puerto Rico last fall, my cab got stopped by a cop in San Juan because he thought he could hear it playing from behind our closed windows. Turns out it was coming from an upstairs apartment in the building next to us with the windows open. They called in the SWAT team and tear-gassed the place.
Guess anything goes here in Missouri. Honestly, how could a group that was once Jefferson Airplane several generations removed actually come out and produce crap like We Built This City? I mean, Starship compared to Jefferson Airplane is like what a boil is to David Aardsma’s…well, you know what I’m saying.
Knee-deep in the hoopla?
Who writes stuff like that?
Here, enjoy it for yourself.
I dunno. When I went to see the musical Rock of Ages in New York City last month — a good tribute to 1980s hairbands — they actually played We Built This City, but it was as a mocking musical set introducing the villain of the show.
I guess, as you can tell, I hate that song.

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7:37 p.m.:
The Mariners just want to dance here,
Climb up on a winning stage.
But Luke French nearly let the cat,
Right out of its freaking cage.
Wakamatsu was going to pull his number,
But listen to the radio.
Dave Neihaus just said,
That French guy went the big Five-Ohhhhhh!

That’s right, folks. Luke French has made it through five innings, so it’s his game to win. I doubt he’ll throw another pitch. They’ve got Miguel Batista warmed up in the bullpen. Chris Jakubauskas was up as well when it didn’t look like French would make it out of the fourth inning. Not the greatest debut, but he’s got a 10-4 lead after Jose Lopez just lined a two-run single to left field in the sixth.
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The top of the fifth inning was fun. Jack Wilson was up with two out and a 2-0 count when a cat started racing around in the Mariners bullpen. The feline later hopped the fence, much to the amusement of the crowd, and sprinted towards the infield. It darted right across the path of catcher Miguel Olivo, nearly scaring him out of his wits, then headed back towards the outfield. Willie Bloomquist offered it some milk and cookies, but the cat ignored him and headed towards the Royals bullpen area where some attendants corraled it.
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Got the biggest ovation of the night. All along, this song was playing on the PA system. Nice heads-up by the staffers here to get that tune on the stadium airwaves so quickly.
6:37 p.m.:
Someone’s always calling,
Small-ball teams some names.
But the Mariners are always playing,
Small-ball team games.

The Mariners used a little small-ball to get things going in the fourth inning and blew the game open with six runs. They’ve just given two back on a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning by Alex Gorden off Luke French, who’d better watch out. It’s now an 8-4 game and we still have five innings to go. The inning got off to a bad start when Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez nearly collided on a ball hit to right center by Miguel Olivo. Both allowed it to drop in for a triple after not really listening as they called each other off.
French should have been able to hold on to the six-run lead he was provided at the start of this inning. If not, he’ll have to wear his sunglasses at night, during the daytime and whenever he leaves the house in Seattle. Hey, by the way, Jack Zduriencik likes Corey Hart, did you know that? No, not the singer from my hometown. The guy with the Brewers. Anyhow, Adrian Beltre and Gutierrez led things off with singles and then an errant pickoff play at second put runners at the corner.
Jack Wilson then bunted a ball up the first base line and had it go for a hit on the successful squeeze play. That gave Seattle a 3-2 lead and then Royals starter Kyle Davies fell apart. He was up to 88 pitches before being lifted with two out in the frame. By that point, he’d yielded a wild-pitch to bring another run home, a walk to Michael Saunders, an Ichiro RBI single, and an RBI double by Russell Branyan. Davies was replaced and Jose Lopez collected a run-scoring single. Rough inning for Davies.
6:10 p.m.: Luke French is knee-deep in the hoopla,
Sinking in the night.
One too many flyballs,
Have just taken flight.

Didn’t take long for Luke French to blow that lead, serving up a one-out single to Willie Bloomquist and then a home run to left field by Billy Butler that makes it 2-2. Not all that impressed by French so far. He’s given up five hits in three innings and could be on his way to an early exit if he allows any more NINE-pitch plate appearances by Yuniesky Betancourt. That might be the Yuni-corn’s all-time record. For an entire game.
5:58 p.m.:
We built this hitting.
We built this hitting on Rob John-son!
We built this hitting.
We built this hitting on Rob John-soooohn!

It had been seven up, seven down for the Mariners against Kyle Davies. Almost as bad as watching a 24-hour Kajagoogoo marathon. I’d have said it was as bad as a boil on David Aardsma’s butt, but, well, I’m just “too shy” to write that way.
So, things looked bleak indeed until offensive ignitor Rob Johnson drilled a double into the left field corner. Michael Saunders followed with a triple to the right field corner, scoring Johnson and then — after an Ichiro strikeout — Russell Branyan continued his red-hot hitting this series with an RBI single to right.
So, the M’s lead 2-0 as we head to the bottom of the third.
5:41 p.m.:
Say you don’t know me,
Or recognize my face.
But my name is Luke French,
And I’m, keeping up the pace

Two innings and no runs allowed by Luke French so far. Sure, he’s given up three hits. But French hasn’t surrendered yet. He erased a leadoff single in the first with a flyout and then a 1-4-3 double-play grounder. Them after an infield single put two on and two out, Yunieksy Betancourt (?!?!!) drew a walk to load the bases.
But French got Mitch Maier to hit into a first pitch groundout to end the inning. We’re scoreless after two.
5:08 p.m.: We’ll get to see the Mariners debut of Luke French, the pitcher obtained from Detroit in the Jarrod Washburn deal.
MARINERS (55-51)
RF Ichiro
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Adrian Beltre
CF Franklin Gutierrez
SS Jack Wilson
C Rob Johnson
LF Michael Saunders
LHP Luke French
ROYALS (41-65)
LF David DeJesus
RF Willie Bloomquist
DH Billy Butler
1B Mark Teahen
2B Alberto Callaspo
C Miguel Olivo
3B Alex Gordon
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
CF Mitch Maier
RHP Kyle Davies



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