Well, that’s our ballgame folks. A pop fly towards the Rangers dugout by Mitch Moreland isn’t caught by Adam Moore, Garrett Olson or Jose Lopez as it bounces off the rail. Moreland singles, Elvis Andrus beats out an infield single to third to load ’em up and Michael Young hits the grand salami off of Olson to make it an 11-6 contest.
You can’t give second chances to a team like the Rangers. It was a very tough play to make, yes, but when a ball hits the rail like that on a high popup, you usually have a shot at it. Moore was closest. Olson was right there. Lopez? Not sure where he was. But I do know that “Jose Lopez is our third baseman.” Anyhow, part of the development process.
9:45 p.m.: Seattle trails by just a run after Chone Figgins singled, stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Bengie Molina, then scored on a sacrifice fly to right center by Casey Kotchman. So, it’s a 7-6 game as we head to the seventh. Wild one tonight.
9:06 p.m.: The sky fell in on Doug Fister in the fifth inning and the Mariners now trail 7-5.
Fister entered the inning with a 5-2 lead and is actually fortnate the damage wasn’t worse. He began the inning by hitting Elvis Andrus with a pitch, then yielded a single to Michael Young and a deep flyout to center by Josh Hamilton that advanced the lead runner.
A wild-pitch by Fister scored one run and then Vladimir Guerrero nearly hit a game-tying homer to center. Franklin Gutierrez made a leaping stab at the wall to pull the ball back into the park. The crowd breathed a sigh of relief and the M’s very wisely walked Mariners-killer Nelson Cruz to put two on.
Fister got ahead 1-2 in the count on David Murphy, then watched him stun the crowd by golfing a ball into the right field bleachers for a go-ahead, three-run blast.
Cristian Guzman and Bengi Molina then singled and Fister was finally pulled.
Chris Seddon came on and Mitch Moreland hit another single for the fifth Texas run of the inning. The Rangers nearly had more, but Chone Figgins made a great diving play to knock down a bounding ball from Elvis Andrus that was headed into right field. Figgins had no play at first, but saved the run.
With the bases loaded, Michael Young grounded into a fielder’s choice.
So, the Mariners allowed five runs in an inning in which Gutierrez and Figgins saved three runs directly with their gloves. Oh, my.
8:30 p.m.: Adam Moore just took a huge load of his shoulders with a two-run homer into the bullpen in left center in the third inning to give the Mariners a 4-2 lead. Moore had been 0-for-5 with four strikeouts since coming back up but just showed some of that hitting promise everyone feels he has.
It’s been a real slow-moving game, largely because of the inefficient pitching of C.J. Wilson, who threw 85 pitches in only three innings. Yuck.
The Rangers actually tied the game in the top of the third, with Vladimir Guerrero doubling to the left field corner to score Josh Hamilton from first base. Michael Saunders did not make a good play on the ball and let it bounce on by him after it rattled around in the corner.
Nelson Cruz then lined a single up the middle to score Guerrero, who plowed into Moore at the plate, knocking the legs out from under him. Moore seemed to respond well, though, at least when he stepped to the plate the next half-inning.
Scott Feldman on to pitch for the Rangers in the fourth.
8:25 p.m.: Wow, a 39-pitch first inning by C.J. Wilson as the Mariners grab a 2-0 lead. Chone Figgins was the catalyst, hustling to leg out a one-out double. Then, after a walk to Casey Kotchman (!!??), a wild-pitch moved both runners up. Franklin Gutierrez popped out to shallow center, forcing the runners to hold.
But Russell Branyan walked to load the bases and then Jose Lopez grounded one through the right side to score both runs.
I thought second baseman Cristian Guzman looked pretty lame on that one. Guzman made one of those “going through the motions” dives at the ball and actually went over top of it. Thought he could have at least knocked it down to save one run. Saw a lot of that from Lopez last year. I think the Rangers were hoping for more than that when they dealt for Guzman last week. He used to be a shortstop, after all.
7:00 p.m.: I’ve got something to tell you folks: “Jose Lopez is our third baseman!”
Yes, that’s true. At least for tonight, he is.
A slight lineup change. Adam Moore and Michael Saunders are flip-flopped in the lineup. Moore is now batting 7th, Saunders 8th. Spreading the lefties out a bit more, I assume.
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
2B Cristian Guzman
C Bengie Molina
1B Mitch Moreland
LHP C.J. Wilson
2B Chone Figgins
1B Casey Kotchman
CF Franklin Gutierrez
DH Russell Branyan
3B Jose Lopez
C Adam Moore
SS Jack Wilson
LF Michael Saunders
RHP Doug Fister