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August 24, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. A’s, Aug. 24

Update 9:41 p.m.: M’s win 3-1, as David Aardsma nails down the save. He gave up a leadoff double to Jack Cust, but no meltdown this time. He whiffed Landon Powell to end it and give the Mariners a much-needed victory after seven losses in their previous 10 games.
Update 9:26 p.m. (Middle of eighth): Another solid inning by Sean White, another great catch by Michael Saunders in left, who dived to take away a single from Mark Ellis. Now it’s up to Aardsma in the ninth, I’d presume. 3-1 Mariners.
Update 9:09 p.m.: A nice, easy 1-2-3 inning for Sean White in the seventh. By the way, this is the first time all season Griffey has homered in back-to-back games. 3-1 Mariners.
Update 8:52 p.m. (middle of sixth): He faltered a bit in the sixth, giving up three singles for a run, but that was still a quality outing for Snell. I’d imagine with 99 pitches he won’t be back for the seventh. Snell has given up four hits and walked two in six innings, with two strikeouts. The M’s will take that every time. 3-1 Mariners.
Update 8:29 p.m.: We almost had a little extra-curricular activity there after Mazzarro hit Lopez with his first pitch to start the fifth. Lopez, remember, homered his last time up, and also doubled. Lopez stared at Mazzarro and walked very slowly to first, glaring at him all the way, but didn’t make any moves toward the mound. Home-plate umpire Marty Foster issued a warning — and Ken Griffey Jr. just gave the best response, a homer to right, No. 625. Griffey pointed up into the stands as he crossed home plate. I’m told his mother, Birdie, is in attendance, so I’m guessing that’s who he was messaging. 3-0 Mariners.
Update 8:26 p.m.: I had just begun researching Mariner no-hitters, just in case, when Daric Barton grounded a clean single up the middle for the first A’s hit with two outs in the fifth. The Safeco crowd gave Snell a nice ovation, and he quickly got the last out of the inning. 1-0 Mariners.
Update 8:19 p.m. (bottom of fourth): The Mariners just let Mazzarro off the hook again after he walked the bases loaded with one out. Russ Branyan grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. That’s seven LOB through four. Not good. That’s 86 pitches through four innings for Mazzarro. 1-0 Mariners.
Update 8:08 p.m. (middle of fourth): Ian Snell still hasn’t allowed a hit through four innings. If his pursuit of a no-hitter gets serious, remember Russ Branyan’s play to rob Jack Cust wtih one out in the fourth. Branyan speared a smash down the line and flipped to Snell covering for the out. 1-0 Mariners.
Update 7:58 p.m.: There goes the scoreless game. Jose Lopez just crushed a 2-0 pitch over the left-field wall leading off the bottom of the third. It’s his 18th homer, a new career high. He had 17 last year. 1-0 Mariners.
Update 7:56 p.m. (middle of third):This time it was Ian Snell working out of a little jam of his own making — two walks that left two on with two out beforer Mark Ellis grounded out to third. Snell threw 26 pitches that inning to bring his count to 45. 0-0.
Update 7:42 p.m. (bottom of second): That’s five left on base through two innings for Seattle. In other words, more lousy clutch hitting. Mazzarro is at 50 pitches through two, so he doesn’t appear long for this game. But he got Russ Branyan to fly out to left on a 3-2 pitch with two aboard to end another threat.
Update 7:30 p.m. (middle of second): After an eight-pitch first, Snell’s pitch count shot all the way up to 11 in the second. He’s really looking sharp. Franklin Gutierrez helped him with a nice running catch on Kurt Suzuki’s drive to right-center. 0-0.
Update 7:24 p.m.: Mazzarro threw 29 pitches in the first, but he walked away unscathed, getting Kenji Johjima to ground into an inning-ending force with the bases loaded.
Update 7:10 p.m. (middle of first): Ian Snell just got through the first 1-2-3 on eight pitches. That’s got to be highly encouraging for the Mariners.
Update 6:59 p.m. : This might win the award for earliest update, but I felt you simply must know that David Cook of American Idol threw out the first pitch. Wearing a Mariners’ jersey, the southpaw hammed it up, going into a stretch and peering in to catcher Mike Sweeney for imaginary signs. But his pitch was pretty solid, and he got a big hug from Sweeney afterward. Then again, who doesn’t?
There’s only one Suzuki playing today, and it’s Kurt, the A’s catcher.
A’s rookie starter Vin Mazzarro has had an interesting arc to his season: He went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and .170 opponents batting average in his first two career starts. Then he went 0-8 with a 7.22 ERA and .347 opponents average in his next 10 starts. In his last three starts, he is 2-0, 3.52, but with a .348 opponents average. Overall, opponents are hitting .322 off Mazzarro, compared to .247 off Ian Snell in his first four Mariner starts. Snell’s problem has been control — 15 walks allowed in 19 innings.
The A’s, by the way, have a 13-man pitching staff, leaving just three players on their bench: Nomar Garciaparra, Rajai Davis and Tommy Everidge, all right-handed bats. The Mariners right now have an 11-man staff — but their bench is also limited tonight. Ichiro is out with a calf injury, while manager Don Wakamatsu doesn’t want to use Ryan Langerhans, who has a sore shoulder. That leaves Josh Wilson, Mike Sweeney and Rob Johnson.
Adam Kennedy 3B
Mark Ellis 2B
Scott Hairston LF
Jack Cust RF
Kurt Suzuki C
Ryan Sweeney CF
Landon Powell DH
Daric Barton 1B
Cliff Pennington SS
Vin Mazzarro RHP (4-8, 5.31 ERA)
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Russell Branyan 1B
Jose Lopez 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Bill Hall RF
Kenji Johjima C
Jack Hannahan 3B
Jack Wilson SS
Michael Saunders LF
Ian Snell RHP (1-1, 6.63 ERA)



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