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September 20, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Yankees, Sept. 20.

UPDATE 3:59 P.M.: The Mariners win 7-1. That’s victory No. 78, meaning the M’s need to win just four of their final 12 to follow last year’s 101-loss season with a winning record.
UPDATE 3:51 P.M. (BOTTOM OF EIGHTH): The Mariners have been blanked on one hit over the final five innings by Sergio Mitre. And unless David Aardsma falls apart here in the ninth, it won’t matter. 7-1 Mariners.
UPDATE 3:43 P.M.: Garrett Olson turned in a nice relief outing, getting out of a second-and-third, one-out jam inherited from Snell, and adding a scoreless inning. Mark Lowe just blanked the Yankees in the eighth, so it’s still 7-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth. If the Mariners win this, they will have won three series in a row following a five-game losing streak. They would need just four more wins in the final 12 games to assure a winning season.
UPDATE 3:05 P.M.:Snell has been lifted here in the top of the sixth with one run in, one out, and runners on second and third. Garrett Olson is toeing the slab. 7-1 Mariners.
UPDATE 2:31 P.M.: (BOTTOM OF FOURTH): Joba Chamberlain is out, and Sergio Mitre is in. Chamberlain worked three innings, gave up six hits, seven runs, all earned, three walks and two strikeouts. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as the playoffs near.
UPDATE 2:25 P.M.: Could this be the Snell breakthrough game for which the Mariners are waiting? He’s blanked the Yankees on two hits through four. Josh Wilson bailed him out with a diving/lunging grab of a Jorge Posada liner there in the fourth. Oh, did I mention that Jorge Posada is back from his three-game suspension? 7-0 Mariners.
UPDATE 2:02 P.M.: The four RBI by Griffey after two innings are already a season high. He had three on Aug. 1 against Texas.
UPDATE 1:58 .P.M.: (BOTTOM OF SECOND): This is turning into a memorable day for Ken Griffey Jr. After two innings, he already has an RBI double and a three-run homer — No. 16 this season, and No. 627 in his career. Earlier in the inning, Adam Moore got his first career hit, a soft liner over the second baseman’s head into right-center. 7-0 Mariners.
UPDATE 1:35 P.M. (BOTTOM OF FIRST): The M’s got to Joba Chamberlain for two runs. Chamberlain might not be long for this game. The Yankees are being ultra protective of him (wisely), and he hasn’t thrown more than five innings since Aug. 11. With 23 pitches already, he’s about a third of the way to his recent allotment. Ken Griffey Jr. doubled in Jose Lopez and then was singled in by Adrian Beltre, all after two quick outs.
Interesting stat: The hit was Griffey’s 2,757th of his career. Derek Jeter’s first-inning single was the 2,731st of his career.
UPDATE 1:21 P.M. (MIDDLE OF FIRST): Ian Snell did a nice job of working out of a jam after giving up a single to Derek Jeter and a walk to Johnny Damon. With the meat of the order coming up, it looked like a disaster in the making. But he got Mark Teixeira to pop up, struck out A-Rod looking on a 3-2 pitch, and retired Hideki Matsui on a ground out.
The Mariners are now farther behind in the wild-card race (12 games) than the AL West (11 1/2). That”s what happens when the Red Sox win nine out of 10 games.
With just 13 games remaining, the Mariners “tragic number” for elimination is dwindling. If I’m calculating correctly, the number is three for both the wild card and division — any combination of Mariner losses and Red Sox/Angels wins adding to three, and the M’s are officially eliminated. (And the Angels have already posted a win today, while the Red Sox are u 93 in the ninth, so subtract one already).
Snell gave up eight runs in six innings his last outing against the Yankees. Let’s see if he improves.

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