Well, that was some kind of bizarre in the eighth inning. But the bottom line is, we’re all tied up at 2-2 after Chris Ray blew the M’s first save opportunity of the season.
Ray gave up an infield single to Coco Crisp, then a single to center by Daric Barton before David DeJesus hit a soft liner to second baseman Jack Wilson. Wilson trapped the ball and the play was ruled live. The M’s eventually got Barton tagged out in a rundown and thought they might have had a double play.
But nope. After a lengthy discussion, only one out was given. Crisp then stole third and Josh Willingham drove him home on a single to right. Ray did a good job getting out of things from there or the M’s would be three outs from defeat.
As it is, we’re tied. Former M’s pitcher Brian Fuentes now making his A’s debut.
So, you all know about Ichiro’s pursuit of the franchise hits record. He tied it on an infield single in the third and needs just one more tonight to usurp Edgar Martinez at 2,248. Well, Ichiro showed up in the clubhouse today wearing a long-sleeved pink shirt with charcoal-gray horizontal stripes. Not to mention thr skinny, green leather belt he had on over his designer jeans.
Well, M’s fashion consultant Jack Cust simply had to walk over for an unsolicited evaluation.
“Look at that shirt!” he exclaimed, taking an uninvited feel of the fabric. “So soft…”
Ichiro just kept nodding when Cust prodded him with all types of questions about the attire. Hey, anything to keep a guy honest. Ichiro needs to be included in the group more now that Ken Griffey Jr. is gone.
8:18 p.m.: Looks like nothing warms the hearts of Mariners hitters any more than the sight of left-handed reliever Craig Breslow coming into a game. The Mariners jumped all over Breslow on Friday night and were right back at it in tonight’s seventh inning, getting a double from Brendan Ryan, a single by Jack Wilson and a sacrifice fly by Michael Saunders to take a 2-1 lead.
Jason Vargas pitched the bottom of the seventh and gave up an infield single. Two outs later, Jamey Wright made Seattle’s first bullpen appearance of the season. Wright got pinch-hitter Connor Jackson to fly out to center to end the inning.
That’s 6 2/3 innings, five hits, an earned run allowed, six strikeouts and only one walk issued for Vargas. He threw 92 pitches and is the pitcher of record right now.
7:43 p.m.: Milton Bradley likes to say that he gets fired-up when fans boo him. Well, he had all kinds of fiery stuff coarsing through his veins during a two-out at-bat in the sixth inning. In the fifth, when he was playing left field, Bradley sent a security guard over to talk to some fans who’d apparently done something. Nobody was ejected.
Bradley was roundly booed when he came to the plate with two out and none on the following half-inning. Naturally, he smoked a line drive single to left — his first hit of the year. He then followed with his first stolen base.
Jack Cust came up next and got booed even louder (still not sure why, other than it’s Oakland…thought they liked him here) and then he too ripped a single to center that scored Bradley and tied the game 1-1.
Jason Vargas keeping the A’s off-balance, getting them to mis-hit the ball a lot. He’s retired eight of nine and had two strikeouts the last inning.
The M’s also appear to have chased Brett Anderson after just six innings. He’s thrown 108 pitches, so another excellent job of working counts by the M’s, even though they’ve had far fewer base runners tonight.
7:05 p.m.: Oakland gets on the board first after Jason Vargas elevated his pitches a bit too much to the first three batters of the third inning. Cliff Pennington started it off with a single to right and things could have gotten far dicier for Vargas after that had shortstop Brendan Ryan not made a lunging catch to his left of a Coco Crisp line drive.
With one out, Daric Barton ripped a double down the right field line. David DeJesus then got the run home with a ground out to the right side and then Josh Willingham went down swinging. So, could have been a lot worse for Vargas.
A’s lead 1-0 after three.
6:54 p.m.: Ichiro just tied Edgar Martinez’s club record for hits, notching No. 2,247 on a two-out, infield single in the third inning. The dribbler in the grass to the left of pitcher Brett Anderson was kind of in no man’s land. Anderson go to the ball ahead of first baseman Daric Barton. But Inchiro was too quick for a tag to be applied and when Anderson turned to flip to first base, there was no one covering the bag.
Chone Figgins flied out to end the inning. Still scoreless.
6:50 p.m.: We’re scoreless after two innings, with both teams tied at two apiece in the miscue department. A’s third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff already turned a ground ball by Chone Figgins into a first-inning double, then bobbled a double-play grounder in the second inning and only got one out.
Not to be outdone, the Mariners offered up Michael Saunders and Ichiro allowing a flyball to drop between them in the first, followed in the second inning by Brendan Ryan getting picked off first base, then leading the A’s on a wild rundown that probably only served to exhaust the legs of the M’s shortstop.
Spring training over yet?
6:24 p.m.: Seattle got away with one in the bottom of the first after Ichiro and Michael Saunders allowed a high fly ball to drop between them in right center. Saunders is the center fielder and has to take charge. Ichiro looked as if he thought Saunders was going to catch the ball.
The one-out double did not result in anything as Jason Vargas got David DeJesus and Josh Willingham on ground outs to third base.
6:08 p.m.: The Mariners will have to better figure out Brett Anderson tonight than they did all of last season when he was posting a 0.81 ERA versus Seattle.
6:08 p.m.: Seattle got some more gift defense from the Oakland A’s in the top of the first. Kevin Kouzmanoff, fresh off his first career two-error game, botched a hard Chone Figgins grounder to the left side with one out. Figgins motored on into second with what was generously ruled a double.
But it went for naught as Milton Bradley grounded out and Jack Cust struck out — but not before nearly decapitating base runner Figgins at third with a line drive that went foul.
Jason Vargas takes the mound for the Mariners, trying to build off a relatively strong 2010 season. Vargas went 9-5 with a 3.15 ERA the first 23 starts, then 0-7 with a 5.74 ERA over his final seven outings. His strong spring alleviated some concerns about early arm trouble, but he’ll be worth monitoring as the season progresses.
Vargas is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two outings in Oakland, one of them a start.
3B Chone Figgins
LF Milton Bradley
DH Jack Cust
1B Justin Smoak
SS Brendan Ryan
2b Jack Wilson
CF Michael Saunders
C Adam Moore
LHP Jason Vargas
CF Coco Crisp
1B Daric Barton
RF David DeJesus
LF Josh Willingham
DH Hideki Matsui
C Kurt Suzuki
2B Mark Ellis
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
SS Cliff Pennington
LHP Brett Anderson