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July 4, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Tigers, July 4: M’s win, 8-1

I have a plane to catch, so there will be no post-game blog tonight. Enjoy the fireworks.
It’s over — M’s win 8-1, Cliff Lee raises record to 8-3. Will this be his last start as a Mariner? Who knows?
Brandon League is coming in for the ninth inning. Lee works eight innings, nine hits, one run, one earned run, one walk, 11 strikeouts (a season high).
TIGERS EIGHTH:Here’s all you need to know about Cliff Lee: He has 11 strikeouts and one walk — and it hurts his strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He finishes eighth with 111 pitches (83 strikes). I’d assume he’s probably done, ending his streak of three straight complete games. But still, another gem. Brandon League is warming. 8-1 Mariners.
TIGERS SEVENTH: Lee works nicely out of first and second, no out situation with two strikeouts and a ground out. He’s at 97 pitches. 7-1 Mariners.
Correction to earlier stat: Casey Kotchman’s last homer was April 19 vs. Baltimore, not April 18 vs. Detroit.
(Lee back out to pitch the eighth)
MARINERS EIGHTH: M’s tack on another run on Jose Lopez’s two-out single with the bases loaded. It should have been a bigger inning, but with an 8-1 lead and Lee pitching, it shouldn’t matter. 8-1 Mariners.
strong>TIGERS SIXTH: Brennan Boesch, who can really hit, gets a two-out double (to raise his average to. .347), but Raburn strikes out. Lee is breezing yet again, headed toward another CG, if M’s are so inclined (but I’ll bet they pull him with the comfortable lead).
MARINERS FIFTH: Casey Kotchman hits three-run homer after Gutierrez RBI single — both with two outs — for 7-1 Mariner lead. For Kotchman, it was his first homer since April 18, also against Detroit. The Mariners have nine three-run homers this year,and two of them are today. After the inning, Jeremy Bonderman was ejected by home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor, whose had several calls Bonderman didnt like. When the M’s took the field for the bottom of the fifth, catcher Gerald Laird charged out of the dugout to argue with Bucknor,and he, too, was ejected. 7-1 Mariners
TIGERS FOURTH: Lee issues just his sixth walk of year, to Miguel Cabrera, to lead off inning. I’m sure he was pitching Cabrera carefully, but a couple of those pitches looked like strikes. Brennan Boesch followed with a single to move Cabrera to second. Lee buckled down, getting Raburn on fly out and striking out Inge and Laird. He now has five strikeouts. 3-1 Mariners
TIGERS THIRD: Lee puts them down in order and has now retired eight in a row. Figgins really battled Ordonez’s popup before catching it to end inning. 3-1 Mariners.
MARINERS THIRD:Russ Branyan hits one of those towering homers he was famous for last year. This one,with two aboard, gives the M’s a 3-1 lead. In six games back with Seattle, Branyan has two homers and seven RBI. 3-1 Mariners.
MARINERS SECOND: M’s get runners on first and third with one out. Do they score? No they don’t. Josh Wilson and Rob Johnson struck out. (Gutierrez gets one-out single, stole second, third on bad throw, and then Kotchman walked). 1-0 Tigers.
TIGERS FIRST:The Tigers put together three hits for a run off Lee, but one was a swinging bunt by Austin Jackson, and another was a line drive off his foot by Magglio Ordonez. Trainer Rick Griffin came out, but Lee waved him off. On his next pitch, he gave up on RBI single up the middle by Miguel Cabrera, who will be his AL teammate in Anaheim on July 13 (assuming Lee’s still in the AL). 1-0 Tigers.
MARINERS FIRST: Ho-hum. The Mariners get a one-out single from Figgins, promptly erased on a 4-6-3 DP by Branyan. Jeremy Bonderman, from Pasco High School, is on the mound for Detroit today.
Happy July 4th, everybody.
Every Cliff Lee start has the potential to be his last as a Mariner, so continue to savor him while you can. Lee was just named to the All-Star team, along with outfield starter Ichiro. Felix Hernandez did not make the team, but he wasn’t alone. There were some crazy choices — and omissions — this year, none more glaring than Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, who leads the NL in OPS.
The Mariners are 3-5 on this road trip, and will play their 81st game today, bringing them to the numerical halfway point of the season. At 33-47, the first half has been pretty much a disaster.

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