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July 28, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Mariners at Chicago White Sox: July 28, 2010 game thread

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Seattle managed to beat Chicago closer Bobby Jenks a week ago, scoring twice in the 11th inning to overcome a one-run deficit.
The M’s will have to do the same tonight as they head to the ninth down 6-5. The White Sox took the lead in the seventh when Juan Pierre drew a leadoff walk, stole second, then scored on an Alex Rios single.
No runs for the M’s since the second inning. Same old story. J.J. Putz blanked them in the eighth.
The M’s had the bases loaded in the seventh, but Michael Saunders flew out.


7:07 p.m.: Don Wakamatsu played with fire and got burned in the fifth inning, leaving Jason Vargas out there to face the meat of the Chicago order — all right handed — and now finding his team in a 5-5 tie after five innings.
Vargas had been fortunate to retire lefty Juan Pierre to get out of the fourth inning with a runner on, or else the big bats would have come up then.
They came up instead in the fifth and the very first pitch he threw was lined over the left field wall by Alexei Ramirez for a solo homer. Alex Rios grounded out hard on the very next pitch and then Paul Konerko sent a towering drive over the fence in left and deep into the stands. Quite a shot.
Game over for Vargas. Seven pitches in that inning was all it took to cough up the lead.
I know why Wakamatsu had him out there. Vargas had a two-run lead and needed one more inning for the win. But he didn’t look sharp all night, had run his pitch count up too high and did not have the snap to his offerings I’ve seen from him before. looks like his arm is wearing down after throwing so many innings.
Anyhow, Jamey Wright got out of the inning. Mark Buehrle is done as well, so it’s a battle of bullpens as we open the sixth.
Geez, we were already done last night’s game by this point.
6:00 p.m.: Seattle did add a couple of runs in the second inning, and they needed it as Gordon Beckham countered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame for Chicago. That leaves the M’s with their two-run lead, up 5-3 as we head to the third.
With two out in the top of the second, Ichiro muscled a ball out into left field that dropped just inside fair territory for a single.
Chone Figgins then got all of a 1-1 pitch from Mark Buehrle and absolutely smoked it into the left field stands. That’s the first home run of the season for Figgins, who had gone homerless since Sept. 22 of last season against the Yankees.
Jason Vargas gave up a two-out double in the bottom of the second, then the two-run homer to Beckham that landed in the right field bullpen. Vargas allowed an ensuing infield hit to Juan Pierre and then a single to left by Alexei Ramirez. That brought the red hot Alex Rios up, but Vargas jammed him with a full-count pitch and got him to pop out.
Vargas is now at 55 pitches through only two innings so this game is far from done.
By the way, umpire Brian Runge just left the game due to illness in the top of the third. They will shift the umpires around and Hunter Wendelstedt will go behind home plate.
The San Francisco Giants have a scout here tonight, most likely to look at either David Aardsma, or Brandon League, or both. He’ll probably get to see a lot of relievers tonight, the way Vargas is pitching.
Seattle would likely try to package Jose Lopez in any Aardsma deal, but I’m told the Giants have plenty of infielders and don’t need Lopez. In case you haven’t heard, the Tigers traded for Jhonny Peralta from Cleveland today, so that Lopez market is all dried up. Heard from a Phillies employee last night that they no longer have interest in Lopez either.
5:40 p.m.: I’m thinking the Mariners will need a few more runs after watching that first inning by Jason Vargas. The White Sox got a run back and Vargas did not look all that sharp. He kept falling behind hitters, got one out on a pretty deep fly ball to center, then saw Carlos Quentin miss a game-tying two-run homer to left by about 10 feet as it hooked foul.
Vargas began the inning by walking Juan Pierre, who took second on a groundout and then scored on a single to center by Alex Rios.
Like I said, the M’s can’t stop at three runs. They need to add some more.
Michael Saunders just fouled a ball off his knee to lead off the second. That’s gotta hurt. He’s still in there but would not be surprised if he comes out of the game at some point.
5:22 p.m.: So, what’s the best recipe for a no-hitter? Hmm, maybe take the Mariners offense and start it against Mark Buehrle of the White Sox? Well, that’s out the window as Ichiro and Chone Figgins led the game off with singles.
And then, another hit and a huge throwing error by shortstop Alexei Ramirez helped the Mariners to a 3-0 lead.
Franklin Gutierrez singled home the first run, then Russell Branyan hit into a fielder’s choice at second, leaving runners at the corners and one out. Branyan then got caught napping by a Buehrle pickoff move and was caught in a rundown. He was nearly tagged out by first baseman Paul Konerko, who then threw to Ramirez.
Figgins broke for home and a terrible throw by Ramirez got by the catcher. Branyan advanced all the way to third on the play.
That enabled Justin Smoak to loft a flyball to center and Branyan was able to tag and score, barely beating the throw home.
One thing you can say about the M’s is, they at least have yet to be no-hit this season.
Jason Vargas faces a tough test tonight against the right handed power this Chicago team has. Like Ryan Rowland-Smith, who tried unsuccessfully to throw his off-speed breaking pitches last night, Vargas will have to effectively use his change-up or it will be a very long game for him.
The lineups:
MARINERS
RF Ichiro
2B Chone Figgins
CF Franklin Gutierrez
DH Russell Branyan
1B Justin Smoak
C Josh Bard
3B Josh Wilson
LF Michael Saunders
SS Jack Wilson
LHP Jason Vargas
WHITE SOX
LF Juan Pierre
SS Alexei Ramirez
1B Paul Konerko
RF Carlos Quentin
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Dayan Viciedo
CF Andruw Jones
2B Gordon Beckham
LHP Mark Buehrle

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins

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