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September 30, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Game thread, plus notes, Mariners vs. A’s, Sept. 30

UPDATE 9:49 P.M.: The Mariners win 7-0. More importantly, Brandon Morrow turned in a superb effort — eight innings, one hit, two walks, nine (not “no”) strikeouts, no runs — which bodes well, perhaps, for his future in the rotation. Shawn Kelley gave up a second hit in the ninth to prevent the M’s second one-hitter of the season.
UPDATE 9:33 P.M. (MIDDLE OF EIGHTH): Morrow finally hit a wall, walking two with two outs in the eighth. But after a visit from pitching coach Rick Adair, he retired Cliff Pennington on a fly to right. Morrow,with 105 pitches, is probably done, but what a night: eight innings, no runs, one hit, two walks and nine strikeouts. A breakthrough performance? We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.
UPDATE 9:20 P.M. (bottom of seventh): Henry Rodriguez, A’s reliever, is a sight to behold. He was lighting up the gun routinely at 100, and muscled one up to 101. The problem, I’m told, is he rarely has any idea where it’s going. He looked sharp tonight, however, striking out Beltre and Moore before getting Hannahan on a grounder. 7-0.
UPDATE 9:12 P.M. (MIDDLE OF SEVENTH): Morrow is producing a masterpiece. Folks, he’s one infield single in the fourth away from having a perfect game through seven. It was a close play, but the replay I saw clearly showed that Davis beat the throw from shortstop Josh Wilson. 7-0 Mariners.
UPDATE 8:39 P.M.: On th e night Ken Griffey hits his 629th homer, Adam Moore hits his first, and in the process becomes the 22nd different M’s player to homer this year, a new club record. It came off Jeff Gray on a 2-1 pitch, to right field. 7-0 Mariners.
UPDATE 8:31 P.M. (middle of fourth): Morrow lost his perfecto on Rajai Davis’s infield single — despite a valiant effort by shortstop Josh Wilson, who speared the grounder up the middle and made an off-balance throw to first, dug out nicely by Jack Hannahan, but just a tick too late. He got out of the inning without further damage and has six strikeouts through four.
UPDATE 8:12 P.M. (TOP OF THIRD): Morrow is cruising — nine up, nine down, five strikeouts, 42 pitches, 30 strikes. Shades of his one-hitter (through 7.2) against the Yankees last year. 6-0 Mariners.
UPDATE 8:04 P.M. (BOTTOM OF THE SECOND): Long, long ago, a coach named Bob Lillis filled in for Roger Craig as Giants manager when Craig was ill, and after each game, Lillis’s analysis centered on whether or not the GIants had put on their hitting shoes. If they won 9-2, Lillis would say,, “Well, we had on our hitting shoes today.” And if they lost 2-1, ol’ Bob would say forlornly, “We just didn’t have on our hitting shoes today.”
The Mariners have on their hitting shoes today. They have nine hits and six runs through two, knocking out A’s starter Clay Mortensen after 1-plus inning. Maybe the A’s accidentally suited up Chris Mortensen, ESPN football analyst. Kenji Johjima, painfully hit on the elbow in the first, has left the game, replaced by Adam Moore.
UPDATE 7:27 P.M. (BOTTOM OF FIRST): Ken Griffey Jr. is going out this season with a flourish. He just knocked a three-run homer for the second night in a row — a screaming blast to center. That’s 18 for the year, 629 (not 628) for the career, and Clay Mortensen becomes the 407th different pitcher to be victimized by Griffey.
UPDATE 7:25 P.M. (middle of the first); Wow. Brandon Morrow looked about as sharp and dominant as I’ve seen him in a long time in the first. He mowed down the A’s on 13 pitches — 11 strikes!!! — fanning two. Wakamatsu’s goal tonight was to stretch out Morrow into the later innings. Good start, I’d say.
Jack Wilson, who hurt his right heel on Sept. 15 and hasn’t played since, won’t play again this year, manager Don Wakamatsu said today. I’ll contemplate Wilson’s future with the Mariners in a story for tomorrow’s paper.
Wakamatsu had indicated earlier this month that Michael Saunders would play minimally as they re-tool his swing, but he’s in the lineup and might get another start before the year is finished.
“I think rather than just finish up the year on the bench, we’ve gotten him a couple of starts, and he’s done well,” Wakamatsu said. “We’re more concerned about him getting time with Alan (Cockrell) and progressing into the winter ball season. I think we’ve accomplished that, and made some adjustments. He has more to go, but I think he feels a lot more comfortable.”
Wakamatsu was asked about the contributions of the Mariners’ farm system this season.
“I think you’re seeing most of what we have at the upper levels here now. We have a lot of talent at A ball, and then a little gap. You can never have too much talent. But it’s nice…we’re looking at next year, depending on what Jack (Zduriencik) does, having a lot of younger players with experience. Even Adam Moore, with the extra-inning games he caught already, Tui (Matt Tuiasosopo) has had a chance to play against some good competition, Saunders now has over 100 at-bats, (Doug) Fister, (Ian) Snell from a different organizaiton has come over and gotten his feet wet. The fact we have a much better dea of what we have from down below is critical going into next season.”
Asked if he expected Moore to battle for a job next spring, Wakamatsu said, “I think so. As much as we’ve tried to establish here, I think there’s going to be a lot of competition at different areas, and I think that’s healthy.”
Finally, Wakamatsu said he’ll carefully monitor Felix Hernandez’s pitch count in his final start on Sunday after letting him throw 120 pitches yesterday.
“I feel good about the way we’ve used him this year,” he said. “To keep him healthy through the year is a big deal.”

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