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August 14, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Mariners at Cleveland Indians: Aug. 14, 2010 game thread

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The Mariners are taking batting practice here as Casey Kotchman hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth to make it a 9-2 game. That’s the third homer by the Mariners the last two innings. Josh Bard added a single for his fourth hit of the night. Believe it or not, his career high is five. This is his fourth four-hit game. Dude’s been around.
Went on the M’s pregame show and team president Chuck Armstrong was in the booth watching. I tried to ask him afterwards, as he hurried off to his seat, about the M’s rebuilding plan now compared to other rebuilding jobs the past seven seasons. Whether or not this, comparatively, was going to be a more “ground-up” approach.
Armstrong didn’t really want to talk about it, steering me instead towards GM Jack Zduriencik — even though he wasn’t here before 2009 and is not really in a position to compare and contrast.
“I’d rather have Jack talk to you because it’s his plan,” Armstrong said.
He kept saying “It’s Jack’s plan” and “Jack is the GM” over and over.
Just thought I’d put that out there because I found it interesting. Armstrong will leave after this leg of the trip and rejoin the team in New York.
The Mariners have promoted pitchers Mauricio Robles and Dan Cortes to Class AAA Tacoma. Robles was acquired in the Jarrod Washburn trade while Cortes was secured in the Yuniesky Betancourt swap.


5:45 p.m.: Well, that could just about do it for this ballgame, as some errors by Indians third baseman Andy Marte and the first career grand slam by Josh Bard have given the M’s a 7-2 lead as we head to the bottom of the fifth. Jason Vargas won’t know what to do with himself after the five-run inning by his club.
The inning began with the Russell Branyan homer on the first pitch. Then, after a Jose Lopez single to center, onetime top prospect (there’s that word again!) Marte was a one-man wrecking crew. He let a potential double play ball by Franklin Gutierrez get by him and into left field to put two on. Then, he charged, coralled and dropped a chopper by Casey Kotchman for a second straight error to load the bases with none out.
That was the end of pitcher Mitch Talbot, who was replaced by reliever Hector Ambriz. Bard jumped ahead 1-0 in the count, then pounded the next offering into the right field stands. No doubt about it. A rare Mariners power surge.
5:30 p.m.: Seattle coughed up the lead in the bottom of the fourth as Jason Vargas yielded a pair of runs with two out. But the Mariners regained the lead one pitch later as Russell Branyan poked the first offering of the fifth inning over the wall in left center to give his club a 3-2 lead.
Vargas was looking good until, with a runner on second, Jayson Nix doubled to the left center gap. Nix then came around to score on a single to center by Andy Marte, who promptly got picked off first soon after by catcher Josh Bard.
5:13 p.m.: One of the better plate appearances by Ichiro in some time helped the Mariners score a run in the fourth inning to grab a 2-0 lead. With two out, Josh Bard doubled, Michael Saunders walked and Josh Wilson singled to left to load ’em up. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 in the count, then fouled off the next pitch. He took two balls to even the count at 2-2, then fouled off three straight two-strike pitches. The next was taken for a ball to bring the count full and then another pitch was fouled off. Finally, he took the next pitch for a ball to draw the 11-pitch walk and bring the run home.
In doing so, he fouled off five two-strike pitches. The M’s have got to start doing more with all these base runners though. They’ve stranded six in four innings are are out-hitting the Indians 6-1.
4:47 p.m.: So, the Mariners have a 1-0 lead as we head to the bottom of the third inning. Seattle scored in the opening frame and probably could have had more. Ichiro led off with a single, followed by a well-executed hit-and-run through the right side with Chone Figgins that put runners at the corners with none out. But Russell Branyan, in a 2-0 hitter’s count, grounded a ball right at shifted shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who stepped on the second base bag and then threw to first for the double play. The run scored, but no RBI was awarded and the inning ended soon after.
3:56 p.m.: The rain has let up and we have a clear spot here to get the game underway. I’m told we could have stoppages once that happens. It’s so humid here that the storms don’t just move in and out like they normally do. They’ve tended to linger a while, making the weather somewhat unpredictable. So, the Milton Bradley-less M’s try to make it two in a row with Jason Vargas on the mound.
The lineups:
MARINERS
RF Ichiro
2B Chone Figgins
DH Russell Branyan
3B Jose Lopez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
1B Casey Kotchman
C Josh Bard
LF Michael Saunders
SS Josh Wilson
LHP Jason Vargas
INDIANS
CF Michael Brantley
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
RF Shin-Soo Choo
LF Shelley Duncan
DH Jayson Nix
1B Matt LaPorta
3B Andy Marte
2B Jason Donald
C Lou Marson
RHP Mitch Talbot

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins

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