Well, that game sure turned in a hurry, didn’t it? Hey, at least you don’t have Miguel Batista to blame this time. Shawn Kelley came on to work the seventh, issued two singles, hit a batter and then — after a strikeout — served up the first career grand slam by Scott Hairston. So, the M’s now trail 5-2.
That ball was hit a ton. No wall climbing to save the M’s this time, unfortunately. And once again, after scoring early, the M’s have pretty much gone to sleep. Gio Gonzalez got through seven innings of two-run ball. Brad Ziegler is now on in relief.
Ichiro needed only two pitches to collect hit No. 2,000 in his career. This was no infield cheapie either. He lashed a hard double down the right field line. The crowd stood and applauded for several moments in a nice gesture for the second-fastest climb to this milestone. Only Al Simmons was quicker, doing it in 1,390 games. Ichiro did it in 1,402 contests. George Sisler had been second on the list at 1,414, but now gets bumped to third.
Ichiro tipped his helmet to the crowd as he stood at second base.
They did very little to officially acknowledge the feat here. I’m told there was a tiny graphic on the stadium scoreboard, but few people here saw it if indeed it did happen. Good thing the Oakland fans showed some class.
Ichiro moved to third on a Franklin Gutierrez bunt (why is he bunting in the first inning?) and scored on a single by Jose Lopez. That had made it 1-0 for Doug Fister and the Mariners.
2:33 p.m.: The only reason Seattle now leads 2-1 in the sixth is because the baseball took on a life of its own and saved Doug Fister in the bottom of the fifth. Adrian Beltre just singled to score Franklin Gutierrez with the go-ahead run off Gio Gonzalez.
But things nearly took a different turn on the M’s in the fifth with the score tied 1-1. With a runner on first and one out, Rajai Davis hit a double to the left field corner that was easily going to bring the run home. But the ball, bouncing a couple of inches off the ground, had some strange backspin on it as it hit the base of the wall. The ball suddenly popped up and seemed to climb the wall on its own as Michael Saunders looked on stunned.
Fortunately for the M’s, the odd-hopping ball went over the wall for a ground-rule double, forcing the runner to halt at third. A walk then loaded the bases, but Fister got Scott Hairston to pop out foul to first base, then froze Landon Powell for a called third strike to end the inning.
2:04 p.m.: Landon Powell just tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning, smoking the first pitch he saw into the right field seats for a long, powerful home run.
CF Franklin Gutierrez
1B Jose Lopez
DH Mike Sweeney
3B Adrian Beltre
2B Bill Hall
C Kenji Johjima
SS Jack Wilson
LF Michael Saunders
RHP Doug Fister
3B Adam Kennedy
CF Rajai Davis
RF Ryan Sweeney
DH Scott Hairston
C Landon Powell
2B Mark Ellis
1B Daric Barton
LF Eric Patterson
SS Cliff Pennington
LHP Gio Gonzalez