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September 29, 2009 at 6:53 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. A’s, Sept. 29

Update 9:51 p.m.: Mariners win 6-4, Hernandez raises his record to 18-5. But David Aardsma made everyone sweat in the ninth, giving up two runs. Kurt Suzuki missed a three-run homer by a matter of inches, settling for a two-run double. But Daric Barton flew out to right with a man aboard — for one moment, it looked like it might be trouble — to end it.
Update 9:30: And Lowe strikes out Cliff Pennington (not Mark Ellis, sorry) to end the inning, and preserve Hernandez’s ERA. (It’s 2.48 — one point lower than when the night started).
Update 9:28 p.m.: Hernandez has been lifted with two outs in the eighth, bases loaded, one run in. He threw 121 pitches, a season high. The previous high was 117 on two occasions. I think Don Wakamatsu wanted to give Felix every opportunity to finish this game, within reason — and reason dictated he lift him. Mark Lowe is in the game.
Update 9:14 p.m. (top of eighth): Felix Hernandez has gone out to pitch the eighth.
Update 9:06 p.m. (middle of seventh): Hernandez has 98 pitches through seven. My hunch is he’ll be given a chance to go the distance. He’s pretty much breezed through the last three innings. One of Oakland’s two hits in the seventh was a blooper. 6-1 Mariners.
Update 8:41 p.m.. (bottom of fifth) : When you see a classic Ken Griffey Jr. homer like the one he just unleashed with two aboard — No. 628 — you start to think that he’s not done quite yet. The Mariners have broken this one open with five runs, and Jerry Blevins has just replaced Cahill. 6-1 Mariners.
Update 8:12 (middle of fourth): Hernandez had been flirting with trouble for awhile, and it finally caught up to him in the fourth on Mark Ellis’s two-out, run-scoring single. That brought home Jack Cust, who had walked and moved up on a wild pitch. That’s three walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches for Felix through four. 1-1.
Update 8:01 p.m.: The M’s blew a chance to add on in the third, getting Josh Wilson to third with one out and the No. 3 and 4 hitters coming up, but failing to get him home. Jose Lopez flied out to shallow right, and Ken Griffey struck out. A’s starter Trevor Cahill, you might recall, took a no-hitter into the seventh against the Mariners way back on April 12 before Adrian Beltre singled with one out. The Mariners won that game, 1-0 — the current score.
Update 7:47 p.m.: Hernandez has walked two, hit a batter and thrown a wild pitch through three innings. But he’s also struck out three, given up just one hit, and holds a 1-0 lead.
Update 7:24 p.m.: Adrian Beltre just helped bail out Felix by starting a nifty inning-ending double play with two aboard in the second. He backhanded Mark Ellis’s hot grounder down the line, stepped on third, and gunned down Ellis at first. 0-0.
Update 7:11 p.m.: Hernandez breezed through a very smooth, 11-pitch first inning, retiring the A’s in order. Oakland has the fewest homers in the American League (134), but they’ve scored more than 100 more runs than the Mariners (746-613).
Update 7:09 p.m.: Russell Branyan was activated from the disabled list prior to the game. But he’s not expected to see playing time until the weekend, if at all. He’s been sidelined since Aug. 29 with a back injury.
Felix Hernandez is 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in his last five starts, 6-1, 1.94 since Aug. 1, and 13-2, 1.93 since May 24. But in his only start against the A’s this year, he give up five runs in seven innings, getting no decision in an 8-5 Mariners’ win on April 11.



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