I’m telling you all, penalty kicks! That’s the answer. Tell Jose Lopez to stand in front of a net 50 yards wide and just kick the ball past the tiny stick-figure goalie who has a 70 percent chance of diving the wrong way to begin with.
Maybe then, Lopez wouldn’t set off the boo-birds.
But the groans heard throughout Safeco Field in the 12th inning, when Lopez popped one up with the bases loaded and one out, was the kind of reaction you’d hear if the Mariner Moose ran over a dog with his golf cart. It was just as bad when Milton Bradley came up next and did the same thing.
Whoo-boy, the M’s had better win this Okajima-Olson mound duel or else there are still going to be a lot of bad feelings in town tomorrow morning. Some of the goodwill from that ninth inning comeback — the largest ninth-inning rally from behind in Mariners history — is already starting to fade.
Wow, nearly spoke too soon. Adrian Beltre just missed hitting a two-run homer off Olson in the 13th. Missed by about a foot foul. Yikes.
10:04 p.m.: Quite the ninth inning for Mariners fans. Almost made the first eight innings worth the wait. We can now understand why the Red Sox Nation has been yanking its collective hair out all season because of the Boston bullpen. Seattle scored five times in that inning, with a little help from two errors by shortstop Marco Scutaro and second baseman Bill Hall, to turn a 6-1 deficit into a 6-6 tie.
Hard to believe the M’s were getting no-hit with four outs to go.
But Manny Delcarmen yielded a two-run homer by Franklin Gutierrez, then allowed two more runners to reach base — one on a Scutaro error. Jonathan Papelbon came in, fanned Justin Smoak, then saw Casey Kotchman double down the right field line to make it 6-4.
Bard drew a walk to load the bases with one out and then Hall made a throwing error on the back-end of a double-play grounder by Jack Wilson. One run had already scored and then a second run came home as Hall’s throw sailed wide of first base.
Chone Figgins struck out to end the inning, but Jamey Wright just got through a 1-2-3 10th, so the M’s have a shot at the win.
9:19 p.m.: Josh Bard breaks up John Lackey’s no-hit bid with two out in the eighth inning. Jack Wilson followed with a knuckleball single that handcuffed second baseman Bill Hall after that, but Lackey retired Ichiro on a flyout to left to end the inning.
Lackey is at 116 pitches, so he’s done.
8:58 p.m.: Boston gets another home run, this one a solo blast to left by Marco Scutaro in the seventh, to go up 6-1.
But the big story is still John Lackey, now six outs away from a no-hitter.
“Just one hit!” is a chant Mariners fans began taking up last inning. Hey, they got their one run, what else are they gonna complain about?
8:41 p.m.: J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer to right off Ryan Rowland-Smith in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 5-1 game.
But the big story is happening on the mound, where John Lackey has a no-hitter through six innings. Lackey just struck out the side in the sixth, so he’s on a bit of a roll.
Just thought I’d mention it. The M’s got their run on a walk, a stolen base, a grooundout and then a passed ball. But those don’t count as hits, despite being some of the biggest offensive weapons the M’s have at their disposal.
Hyphen is done after six. Brian Sweeney now on the mound.
7:56 p.m.: The good news? The Mariners scored an actual run. In regulation play! Yeah, it took a passed ball to do it, but hey, the all count.
The bad news? Boston came right back and scored three of their own in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Even Safeco Field couldn’t keep Bill Hall’s blast in the park with a runner on. Yeah, that Bill Hall. Has nine homers so far.
Mike Cameron — yep, it’s former M’s night again — had led off with a double to the left field corner before Hall went deep. Marco Scutaro then singled, took second on a wild pitch (no way!) and scored on a single to right by David Ortiz.
The Mariners got Jack Wilson on to lead off the bottom of the inning after he was hit by a John Lackey pitch. But Ichiro lined one right back at Lackey, who caught the ball and threw to first to double-off Wilson. Nothing Wilson could do on that. It wasn’t the baserunning that time.
On to the fourth.
7:35 p.m.: Ryan Rowland-Smith has found the perfect tonic to get that elusive second win. It’s called “Ichiro and Safeco Field to the rescue!”
Ichiro saved Hyphen in the first inning by slamming into the right field wall to make a leaping catch of a David Ortiz blast.
Then, in the second inning, Adrian Beltre showed that you can take the boy out of Safeco Field, but you can never take Safeco out of…well, you get it. Forget Beltre’s lofty numbers. First time up back in the ballyard that used to haunt his stats and he grounds into a 5-4-3 double-play.
Yep, seen that before.
The final out of the inning was a Safeco blast to right by J.D. Drew that was hauled in at the warning track. Most other parks, that’s a home run.
Franklin Gutierrez reached base on a first inning error with two out, but Jose Lopez grounded out on a chopper in front of the plate. No, the play at first base wasn’t close.
7:07 p.m.: Ryan Rowland-Smith is still seeking his second win of the season. The Mariners are looking to score a run in the regulation nine innings for the first time since Monday night. Not the best combo, but hey, at least they’ve found a way to neutralize Adrian Beltre and his red hot bat.
Yeah, baby! Safeco Field.
SS Marco Scutaro
LF Darnell McDonald
DH David Ortiz
1B Kevin Youkilis
3B Adrian Beltre
RF J.D. Drew
CF Mike Cameron
2B Bill Hall
C Kevin Cash
RHP John Lackey
2B Chone Figgins
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Jose Lopez
LF Milton Bradley
DH Justin Smoak
1B Casey Kotchman
C Josh Bard
SS Jack Wilson
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith