UPDATE 10 p.m.: It’s official — White Sox win 6-3 after falling behind 3-0 early. Freddy Garcia gets the win, while the loss goes to Shawn Kelley The Mariners are now just three games over .500 at 74-71. The M’s brought the tying run to plate in the ninth with two outs, but Bobby Jenks struck out Jose Lopez on a 3-2 pitch, with Ken Griffey Jr. on deck.
UPDATE 9:29 P.M.: And Thornton strikes out Griffey on three pitches. End of threat. 5-3 White Sox.
UPDATE 9:26 P.M.: There was just a funny scene in the seventh as Ozzie Guillen went out to get tough lefty Matt Thornton with Griffey coming up, two on and two outs. Griffey pretended to get in the right-hand batter’s box, and he and Guillen exchanged some comments. I assume they were good natured. Remember, Junior played for the White Sox last year, and has very fond feelings for Guillen.
UDATE 9:21 P.M.: Ichiro’s 201st hit of the season wasn’t one for the archives — a routine pop to left that ate up left fielder Carlos Quentin, who started, stopped and started again as the ball fell between him and the shortstop.
UPDATE 9:20 P.M.: A limping Jack Wilson is coming out of the game after opening the seventh with a bunt single. He’s had hamstring issues recently. Josh Wilson is running for him and no doubt will take over at shortstop.
UPDATE 9:16 P.M.: One strike away. But Mark Lowe couldn’t get strike three past A.J. Pierzysnki, who fouled off four two-strike pitches with two outs and two on before delivering a two-run single. Paul Konerko followed with an RBI double, and suddenly that 3-0 M’s lead is a 5-3 W’s lead.
UDATE 8:52 P.M. (BOTTOM OF SIXTH): The Mariners could sure use an insurance run, but they keep squandering chances. The latest was Mike Carp popping out to end the sixth with runners on first and second. Snell is out of the game, with Shawn Kelley taking over in the seventh. This was one of Snell’s better games since coming over from Pittsburgh: Six innings, five hits, two runs, two earned runs, two walks, four strikeouts, one wild pitcher. He threw 84 pitches, 53 strikes. 3-2 Mariners.
That’s Ichiro receiving plaudits from the crowd after being honored before tonight’s game. Photo by Associated Press.
UPDATE 8:08 P.M.: (MIDDLE OF FOURTH): Snell’s spell (or is that Spell’s snell?) was broken — single, walk, wild pitch, two-run double by Mark Kotsay, and, boom, it’s a 3-2 game. But Snell got out of further damage. 3-2 Mariners.
UPDATE 7:59 P.M. (BOTTOM OF THIRD): The M’s probably shouldn’t have scored, but third baseman Gordon Beckham inexplicably went to first instead of home on Jose Lopez’s hard grounder with runners on second and third. It sure looked like he would have nailed Ichiro easily at the plate. 3-0 Mariners.
UPDATE 7:43 P.M. (MIDDLE OF THIRD): Snell seems sharp tonight, no question. He struck out the side, interrupted by a two-out single by Scott Podsednik. And he was ahead of Podsednik 1-2.
UPDATE 7:31 P.M.: (BOTTOM OF SECOND) Ken Griffey Jr. was all over Freddy Garcia. He hit two loud fouls before crushing his 626th career homer to right center. That was one of Junior’s more empphatic homers of the season. This version of Freddy Garcia, by the way, hardly resembles the guy we used to see in a Mariner uniform. He’s making the transition from power pitcher to craftsman, but it remains to be seen how crafty he actually is. 2-0 Mariners.
Garcia becomes the 404th pitcher to give up a Griffey homer.
UPDATE 7:11 P.M.: A breezy nine pitch first inning for Ian Snell, which is just what he needs. He threw seven strikes, two balls, and got three harmless fly outs.
The Mariners saluted Ichiro before the game with a highlights segment on the big screen, and presentation by team president Chuck Armstrong and GM Jack Zduriencik of framed artwork commemorating his 2,000th career hit and nine consecutive years of 200 hits.
Here’s what Don Wakamatsu said before the game about the latter achievement:
“It’s an awfully special record. I’ve read a lot of the dialogue going on around baseball. But for me, if you polled the great players within the game, whether it’s Derek Jeter or A-Rod or Mark Teixiera, all these guys, and you asked them how special that is, I think you’d get a greater appreciation from the guys that have to do it every day. I know I was talking with Mikey Young with Texas, who I witnessed do it five in a row and how tough it was to try to get to six and couldn’t do it. Or Pete Rose taking 17 years to do it. It’s an unbelievable record thats why it has taken 100 years to break it.”
Wakamatsu was asked if Ichiro has received his due for the feat.
“No, Again, we’re kind of the society that cherishes the home run and power and all that stuff. That’s what make it so special is that his peers really understand. You go through the greats, like Rod Carew or Tony Gwynn ,guys that are known for being good hitters, and ask them how special that record it is and you’ll get a greater appreciation for it.
“Again, you look at a guy like Alex, who has one of the greatest pure swings, for him to get 200 hits in a season is still magical. For Ich to do it nine in a row — the ability to stay healthy and the ability keep his body in that kind of shape with the demands to do that.”
September 15, 2009 at 7:00 PM