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August 30, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Game thread, Aug. 30, Mariners vs. Royals

Update 3:15 p.m.:What a masterpiece by Greinke. That strike three pitch to Gutierrez in the ninth was cruel and unusual. 3-0 Royals, a one-hitter for Greinke.
Update 3:07 p.m.:The last person to throw a one-hitter against the Mariners was Ted Lilly, then with the Yankees, on April 27, 2002. Greinke has 101 pitches, but he’s going back out for the ninth.
Update 2:50 p.m..:Greinke’s strikeout of Bill Hall to end the seventh gave him 200 for the season. He is getting stronger. That’s 16 in a row retired by Greinke. 3-0 Royals.
Update 2:39 p.m.: Rowland-Smith strikes out the side in the seventh. Go figure — he has seven strikeouts, and Greinke, No. 2 in the AL, has one. 3-0 Royals.
Update 2:33 p.m.: Greinke finally got his first strikeout, whiffing Josh Wilson for the last out in the sixth. That’s 13 in a row retired since Johjima’s single — and if not for that hit, which I still say should have been caught by center fielder Mitch Maier, and we’d be in serious no-hitter mode right now. Steve Kelley, who is here next to me in the press box, and I have both never covered a no-hitter. The closest I came was when the Giants’ Scott Garrelts lost his with two outs in the ninth inning. 3-0 Royals.
Update 2:14 p.m. (middle of fifth): A tough inninng for Rowland-Smith, starting when Michael Saunders seemed to lose Alberto Callaspo’s liner in what obviously is a brutal sun in left. The ball sailed over his head for a double. Callapso scored on Miguel Olivo’s one-out single to left. Rowland-Smith nearly got out of the inning without further damage. He thought he had DeJesus struck out on a 1-2 pitch, but it was called a ball, and DeJesus followed with an RBI single up the middle. Rowland-Smith then threw a wild pitch for another run. So Greinke has a 3-0 lead. Not promising for the Mariners.
Update 2:01 p.m.: Maybe it will be a nil-nil tie, like yesterday’s Sounders’ game across the street. Greinke, by the way, STILL needs three strikeouts to reach 200. 0-0.
Update 1:55 p.m. (middle of fourth): Scratch my 2-1 prediction, and make it 1-0. Rowland-Smith has thrown 50 pitches through four, and looks very much in command. But can the M’s score off Greinke? 0-0.
Update 1:37 p.m.: (bottom of second): The Mariners’ old shortstop, Yuniesky Betancourt, just made a nice charging play to nip their new shortstop, Jack Wilson, at first, with two aboard and two outs. Greinke walked Bill Hall on a 3-2 pitch, and Kenji Johjima dropped a soft single to center on a ball I thought Mitch Maier should have caught. 0-0.
Update 1:26 p.m. (middle of second). Rowland-Smith comes through with a solid 10-pitch inning. This game has 2-1 written all over it. 0-0.
Update 1:20 p.m.: (bottom of first): Gutierrez hit the ball solidly off Greinke,lining out to right in a 1-2-3 inning. He was hitting 96, 97 on the gun, and threw just 11 pitches. 0-0.
Update 1:15 P.M. (middle of first): Hey, Ryan Rowland-Smith’s pitching today, too. He had a nice first inning, marred only by a bloop single by Billy Butler. Two strikeouts. I’m sure he’s motivated by facing Greinke. 0-0.
The Mariners can help out Felix Hernandez’s Cy Young chances by roughing up Zack Greinke. This really doesn’t look like the lineup to do it. Still, the Royals are just 12-14 in Greinke’s 26 starts, which might be the stat of the year, considering this guy has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball this year.
Greinke needs three strikeouts to become the fourth Royals pitcher with 200 strikeouts in a season, joining Dennis Leonard (244 in 1977), Kevin Appier (207 in 1996) and Bob Johnson (206 in 1970). I’m surprised David Cone and Bret Saberhagen never made it.
Greinke leads the AL in ERA (2.43), tied for first in complete games (5) and shutouts (2), second in quality starts (21), second in strikeouts (197), tied for eighth in wins (12), third in strikeouts per nine innings (9.78) and second in strikeout to walk ratio (5.05).
Royals
David DeJesus LF
Willie Bloomquist RF
Billy Butler 1B
Brayan Pena DH
Alberto Callaspo 2B
Mark Teahen 3B
Miguel Olivo C
Mitch Maier CF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Zack Greinke RHP (12-8, 2.43)
Mariners
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Josh Wilson 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Mike Sweeney DH
Bill Hall RF
Jack Hannahan 1B
Kenji Johjima C
Jack Wilson SS
Michael Saunders LF
Ryan Rowland Smith LHP (2-1, 4.05)

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