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April 3, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: April 3, 2011 game thread

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More defensive blunders by Seattle led to a four-run A’s outburst in the seventh to make it a 7-1 game. Ryan Langerhans became the second M’s outfielder to lose a ball in the sun today, leading to a Coco Crisp double. Josh Lueke then walked two guys and — with one out — Hideki Matsui blooped one between Ichiro and Jack Wilson for an RBI single. Ichiro appeared to have a play on the ball, but pulled up and let it fall in.
David Pauley came on from there, hit a batter, then walked another to force in two runs. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a sacrifice fly and now, here we are.
Tom Wilhelmsen completes an amazing comeback story by making his MLB debut to start the eighth.

3:05 p.m.: Doug Fister couldn’t hold the A’s down in the sixth, nor could he finish the inning off. Oakland scored again to take a 3-1 lead after a leadoff double by Josh Willingham and a two-out single by Mark Ellis. Kevin Kouzmanoff singled after that, prompting Eric Wedge to pull Fister at 98 pitches and bring in Josh Lueke for his big-league debut.
After being greeted by a smattering of boos, Lueke did his job by striking out Cliff Pennington on four pitches.
2:42 p.m.: Still a 2-1 game, A’s leading, midway through the sixth inning and we’re about to see Seattle’s bullpen put to another test. The sixth will be a big inning for Doug Fister, who’s pushing his pitch limit at 86 through five frames.
The M’s would love for Fister to get through the sixth and spare them having to run a plethora of relievers out there to finish the game. As we saw in last night’s eighth, the late-inning guys are still a bit of an unknown factor for this club. It’s still just a one-run game and the M’s need Fister and the bullpen to keep it that way in order to give them a shot at coming back.
Justin Smoak got a double off Gio Gonzalez in the top of the inning, giving him yet another hit off a left-hander this series. For a guy who struggled hitting from the right side last year, Smoak is off to a great start.
2:16 p.m.: In winning the first two games here, the M’s generally avoided the kind of sloppy play we just witnessed in the fourth inning. Oakland scored an unearned run that frame to take a 2-1 lead after an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan on a ground ball by Josh Willingham. Ryan Langerhans saved the inning from getting more out of hand with a great diving catch of a Hideki Matsui liner to right center.
But then, Milton Bradley lost a routine fly ball to left by Kurt Suzuki in the sun and had it drop in for a double. That put runners on second and third and then a groundout to the right side by Mark Ellis cashed in the run.
1:59 p.m.: Doug Fister gave up a leadoff single to Kevin Kouzmanoff in the bottom of the third and then a one-out triple to the gap in right center by Coco Crisp, a guy who has beat up on the M’s in the past. Crisp has two hits already today.
So, it’s 1-1 as we head to the fourth.
Fister managed to escape further trouble — barely — on a lineout to first base by Daric Barton and then a groundout by David DeJesus that Chone Figgins bobbled at third base with the runner sprinting home. But Figgins recovered quickly and fired a strike to first base to nab the speedy DeJesus.
1:40 p.m.: Ryan Langerhans went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in Friday’s season opener. He got a night off after that and now, in his first at-bat of the day, just took Gio Gonzalez over the right field wall for a solo home run in the second inning.
The Langerhans blast, on a 2-2 pitch, gives the M’s a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, Japanese Heritage Day at the ballpark got a boost when Hideki Matsui got his 2,500th career hit with a leadoff double. But then, moments later, Matsui inexplicably tried to take third on a lineout to Ichiro in right.
Ichiro fired a bullet to the bag and it arrived well ahead of Matsui, who was tagged out.
On to the third…
1:28 p.m.: We’re scoreless after an inning of play. The Mariners got a pair of singles from Ichiro and Jack Cust and had two on with two out when Justin Smoak hit a comebacker snagged by Gio Gonzalez for the third out.
In the bottom of the inning, Coco Crisp had a leadoff single off Doug Fister. But Fister then got a called strikeout on Daric Barton with a beautiful-looking 12-6 curveball. David DeJesus flew out to left and Josh Willingham couldn’t check his swing and also went down on strikes.
The A’s have already made another error — their seventh of the series. Barton went into foul territory behind first base, but had a Chone Figgins pop-up bounce out of his glove. This defense needs work. The M’s will take it.
1:04 p.m.: Doug Fister takes the mound this afternoon as the Mariners go for the series sweep against Gio Gonzalez and the Oakland Athletics.
The M’s last swept Oakland back in September 2009. They haven’t swept the A’s here since Sept. 17-19, 2007.
It’s Japanese Heritage Day here at the Coliseum. Ichiro, of course, did Japan proud last night by becoming Seattle’s all-time hits leader.
Milton Bradley had his share of struggles with the crowd in last night’s game. I spoke to security staffers down on the field this morning and they told me the fans weren’t throwing anything at Bradley or heckling him in any way that was out of the ordinary (for Oakland standards, at least). One guard near the dugout chatted with Bradley after he became upset at a mocking chant some fans were making. I’m told the guard advised Bradley to stop reacting to the crowd, something that seemed to fuel them. Anyhow, Bradley got the last laugh, notching a single and later scoring the game’s tying run in the sixth on a base-hit by Jack Cust, another guy ripped mercilessly by boo-birds here this series.
The lineups:
RF Ichiro
3B Chone Figgins
LF Milton Bradley
DH Jack Cust
1B Justin Smoak
C Miguel Olivo
CF Ryan Langerhans
SS Brendan Ryan
2B Jack Wilson
RHP Doug Fister
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 Gio Gonzalez

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins


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