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August 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Mariners at New York Yankees: Aug. 21, 2010 game thread

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A fantastic job of hitting the ball through the open right side of the infield helped the New York Yankees score three in the seventh for a 7-4 lead off Jason Vargas and the Mariners.
With one out, Austin Kearns and Curtis Granderson lined balls to right field, the second one coming on a hit-and-run that put runners at the corners. Eduardo Nunez came up and, with Casey Kotchman glued to the bag at first base because of the runner, drilled another ball through the right side that scored the go-ahead run.
It was the first hit and RBI of Nunez’s career and ended the day for Jason Vargas.
Jamey Wright came in to pitch and Derek Jeter grounded another ball through the open right side — the fourth straight single that way — to bring another run in. Wright then walked the bases loaded and Mark Teixeira delivered a sacrifice fly for New York’s third run of the inning.
So, Vargas gets tagged with all seven runs. That’ll hurt the ERA. I thought he actually pitched quite well, retiring 15 in a row at one point. But the bookends of that stretch were a four-run first and a three-run seventh. Not good enough.


11:48 p.m.: Seattle knocked Javier Vazquez out of the game after just three-plus innings. They’re still tied 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. The bad news? Seattle has been handcuffed by Chad Gaudin for three innings, mustering just one single off him.
Jason Vargas has retired 13 in a row.
11:03 a.m.: It’s turned into a home run derby here, as the Mariners scored twice in the third inning to tie it 4-4 against a struggling Javier Vazquez.
Ichiro launched his second homer of the game to lead the inning off. It’s his fifth multi-homer game ever and first since May 15 of last season against Boston. Vazquez then gave up three consecutive two-out singles to Jose Lopez, Franklin Gutierrez and Casey Kotchman — the latter tying the game up.
With two on and two out, Vazquez walked Josh Bard with the count full to load the bases for Michael Saunders. Saunders worked the count to 1-1, then launched a fly ball to the warning track in right field that was hauled in for the final out.
But that’s 62 pitches for Vazquez in just three innings. The M’s have made him work.
10:47 p.m.: Well, faster than you can say “Ouch, that hurt!” Jason Vargas and the Mariners turned back into…well, the Mariners in the bottom of the first. Vargas gave up an infield single, a double to Mark Teixeira and then a two-run single by Robinson Cano that tied the game.
Two batters later, Jorge Posada launched one into the left field bleachers to give New York a 4-2 lead. Oh, my.
Seattle got a leadoff bloop double by Casey Kotchman in the top of the second, but failed to take advantage. Teixeria had a hard bard grounder deflect off his glove and roll down the right field line a bit. Somehow, Teixeira picked the ball up and managed to throw Bard out at first base.
Kotchman made it to third on the play, but you can guess what happened next. Yup, a strikeout by Michael Saunders and flyout by Josh Wilson to squander the runner.
Good 1-2-3 second from Vargas, with great fielding plays from Kotchman and Wilson, but M’s are still down two as we head to the third.
10:20 p.m.: Well, as we said right off the top, the Mariners could get to Javier Vazquez with a good plate approach. And they now lead 2-0 after an inning of play on home runs by Ichiro and Russell Branyan.
The Branyan blast was an historic feat at this year-plus old “new” Yankee Stadium. The homer landed in what’s known as the 300 level here. It’s actually the fourth deck of five in this ballpark and the shot went out to right field, just above one of those digital signage rim boards (orange in photo below).
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Nobody has ever hit a ball up there. Branyan is the first. Not sure on the distance, but you could have seen The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire at the movie theater, then read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and waited for the Hollywood version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to come out (the one with Daniel Craig) next year in the time it took for Branyan’s ball to actually land.
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Ichiro worked the count to 2-0 before hitting his homer. Branyan was at 3-1 when he went deep, so the M’s are making Vazquez work. Remember, he’s been throwing nearly 100 pitches to go four or five innings the past three times out.
10:02 a.m.: Seattle goes for its second series victory in a row at Yankee Stadium and fifth straight series win. They have a shot against Javier Vazquez if they show a good plate approach. Vazquez threw 106 pitches in just four innings against the Tigers earlier this week and has struggled to get much beyond the fifth inning his last three times out.

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