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August 26, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. A’s, Aug. 26

Update 9:41 p.m.: M’s win, 5-3, and sweep the series. Some deft relief work by David Aardsma after giving up singles to thef first two hitters. Aardsma joins Kazu Sasaki (three times), J.J. Putz (twice), Mike Schooler (twice), Eddie Guardado and Jose Mesa as Mariner closers with at least 30 saves.
Update 9:21 p.m:: A big unearned run for the Mariners in the seventh after Rajai Davis drops a liner by Jose Lopez for a two-base error. Mike Sweeney brought him in with a shattered-bat single. I questioned Bruce Hines for sending Rob Johnson earlier, so I have to credit him for sending Lopez this time. 5-3 Mariners.
Update 9:09 p.m..(middle of seventh): Excellent 1-2-3 inning for Batista. I don’t know why anyone would have doubted him. 4-3 Mariners.
Update 8:58 p.m.: Or not.
Update 8:54 p.m.: That walk to Mark Ellis was enough for Wakamatsu, who removed French. He goes 5 2/3 innings. Miguel Batista is in, and here’s my second prediction of the night: Wakamatsu will regret this move.
Update 8:50 p.m.: That review took about 60 seconds. As predicted: Foul ball.
Update 8:47 p.m.: (top of sixth): We’ve got instant replay action on Jack Cust’s huge drive down the right-field line. I mean, this ball was absolutely crushed. It went off the top of the Hit It Here Cafe. First-base ump Mike Winters ruled foul, A’s manager Bob Geren appealed, and now the umps have disappeared for a replay review. Prediction: It will remain foul, because I don’t think there’s any visual evidence otherwise. Meanwhile, Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer earlier in the inning (after his bunt rolled foul), so it’s 4-3. And that prediction about French going past 6 1/3 is in danger.
Update 8:38 p.m. (bottom of fifth): Bill Hall is having a nice game. He hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Jack Hannahan, his second RBI. Speaking of nice games, Hannahan has been aboard three times and scored all three times.. And Jose Lopez, who added a double to his earlier home run. 4-1 Mariners.
Update 8:23 p.m. (middle of fifth): French has never gone beyond 6 1/3 innings in 11 career starts, but he’s through five easily tonight and on target to take that to a new level. 3-1 Mariners.
Update 8:15 p.m. (bottom of fourth): The Mariners’ No. 8 and 9 hitters, Jack Wilson and Michael Saunders, have four strikeouts in four at-bats tonight. Wilson’s average has dropped to .200 (11-for-55) with Seattle. It’s 3-1 after Jack Cust’s towering, Branyanesque homer to right in the fourth.
Update 7:58 p.m. (bottom of third): The Mariners were on the verge of wasting Jack Hannahan’s leadoff double when Bill Hall delivered a two-out single to bring him home. Russell Branyan walked, but Rob Johnson fouled out. Gio Gonzalez is at 57 pitches through three, compared to 37 for French. 3-0 Mariners.
Update 7:46 p.m. (middle of third): French gave up a pair of one-out singles, but then got a couple of harmless fly balls to get out of it. Courtesy of the M’s crack P.R. staff, I just learned that French, who beat the Royals this season while with both Detroit and Seattle, is the first starter since Mo Sanford (1991-93) to record each of his first two career victories against the same team, while pitching for different teams. 2-0 Mariners.
Update 7:37 p.m. (bottom of second): I’m not really sure why third-base coach Bruce Hines sent Rob Johnson home from second on a single to right by Franklin Gutierrez. Ryan Sweeney, who wasn’t deep, gunned him down handily. 2-0 Mariners.
Update 7:28 p.m.: Jack Hannahan made a great back-handed catch on a foul into the photo area for the first out,and Luke French struck out the next two. Six up, six down for French. 2-0 Mariners.
Update 7:19 p.m. (bottom of first): Jose Lopez just jacked one to left with Jack Hannahan aboard for his 19th homer. Lopez now has 78 RBI, putting him on pace for 99. A 100-RBI season is a distinct possibility, which would be a nice accomplishment for a second baseman. 2-0 Mariners.
Senior golfer Andy Bean won a pre-game closest-to-the-pin contest over Fred Funk, Jim Thorpe and Mariners’ pitching coach Rick Adair. Adair aquitted himself well, placing the ball within 10 feet at 100 yards, but the pros all put it closer. Bean won at 8 feet, 2 inches, four inches closer than Funk…and that’s way too much detail for a golf contest at a baseball game.
The M’s go for a sweep. Remember when Oakland owned the Mariners? Not any more. The A’s have lost three straight and 11 of their last 14 against Seattle dating back to last year. They are 3-8 this year and 18-31 over the last three seasons. But Oakland leads the all-time series, 268-195.
The A’s throw another rookie today, lefty Gio Gonzalez. They have an all-rookie rotation with the exception of the eternal Brett Tomko. The A’s have started a rookie pitcher in 64 of their last 78 games, and 90 of 125 for the season.
Oakland
Adam Kennedy 3B
Rajai Davis CF
Kurt Suzuki C
Scott Hairston LF
Jack Cust DH
Mark Ellis 2B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Tommy Everidge 1B
Cliff Pennington SS
Gio Gonzalez LHP (4-4, 5.78)
Seattle
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Jack Hannahan 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Mike Sweeney DH
Bill Hall RF
Russell Branyan 1B
Rob Johnson C
Jack Wilson SS
Michael Saunders LF
Luke French LHP (3-3, 3.83

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