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April 4, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Mariners at Texas Rangers: April 4, 2011 game thread

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David Pauley got out of the sixth with just a run allowed, but only because Jack Wilson made a tremendous play going to his right for a ground ball, stepped on second for an out, then threw to first for the double play. Words don’t do it justice. Pauley had given up a double and two walks to load the bases with none out and get Aaron Laffey warming up in the bullpen.
The Yorvit Torrealba grounder looked like at least a two-run single going up the middle, but Wilson’s play saved that plus the overall inning as well. This game would probably be over by now if not for that DP. It’s still a 6-3 game, Texas leading, but at least the M’s are within striking distance…albeit barely.

7:05 p.m.: Erik Bedard made it through five innings, the Mariners trailing 5-3. Seattle got a run back in the top of the fifth, with Jack Wilson and Ichiro notching back-to-back doubles. Wilson thought Ichiro’s ball was going to be caught and had tagged up at second, so he had to stop at third on the play. But he soon scored on a Chone Figgins groundout.
Ichiro was at third with one out, but Milton Bradley struck out and Jack Cust grounded out.
Texas got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Josh Hamilton doubled home Ian Kinsler.
So, Bedard goes five innings, gives up five runs — three earned — on four hits (two of them homers) with three strikeouts and two walks. He threw 95 pitches.
6:22 p.m.: Nelson Cruz just made history, becoming only the third player to ever hit a home run in each of his team’s first four games of the season. Cruz crushed the first offering by Erik Bedard some 419 feet over the center field fence to make it 4-2 for the Rangers. Cruz joins Willie Mays and Mark McGwire as the only players to accomplish the feat. He’s the first AL player to do it.
6:13 p.m.: For those who may have forgotten the past few years, that’s what a middle of the order looks like. Milton Bradley leads off the fourth with a single, Jack Cust works a walk and Justin Smoak doubles off the wall in center to score a run.
Cust stopped at third, then scored on a groundout by Miguel Olivo. So, we’ve got ourselves a game at 3-2, with Texas still leading. That’s five hits for Smoak this season, all off lefties.
6:04 p.m.: Just what Erik Bedard needed, a nice six-pitch inning to get out of the third on a strikeout of Elvis Andrus, a Josh Hamilton groundout and an Adrian Beltre pop-up that was caught by the first baseman.
Still a 3-0 game. The M’s have been very quiet on offense thus far, notching only two singles — one of them a pop-up that everyone let drop.
5:52 p.m.: Yes, that line drive in the second inning was hit right at Ichiro and it did handcuff him. But you’ve got to make those catches, tough as they are. He didn’t and it cost the M’s a pair of runs as Julio Borbon tripled to the gap in right center.
So, it’s 3-0 for the Rangers after two innings.
Erik Bedard was already in pitch-count trouble before the error and had to throw seven more pitches because of the non-catch. So, he’s now up to 51. The M’s don’t want their bullpen having to go four or five innings tonight, so he has to cut down on pitches and the fielders have to catch the ball.
5:25 p.m.: OK, I’ll say it…Elvis has left the building. Erik Bedard got behind in the count on Elvis Andrus and then watched the slick-fielding shortstop hit his first home run in his last 705 at-bats. That dates back to Sept. 2, 2009 against Toronto. A long time. But not as long since Bedard last pitched.
So, it’s 1-0 for the Rangers.
Bedard went full in the count to leadoff man Ian Kinsler before getting a flyout to left. He then went 3-0 on Andrus before landing a strike, then seeing the next pitch taken over the left field wall.
The Mariners got a fluke hit from Milton Bradley in the top of the first when Kinsler and first baseman Mike Napoli got their signals crossed and let an easy pop-up drop between them. Prior to that, Andrus made a sweet play at shortstop to field an Ichiro grounder and throw him out by a nose. A rather short nose.
5:06 p.m.: It’s all about the return of Erik Bedard tonight, taking on a red-hot Rangers team that just hit 11 home runs in three games against the Boston Red Sox. Mariners have dropped 15 of their last 22 games at the ballpark, but did take two of three here last September.
I’m interested in seeing how Justin Smoak fares here. You’ll remember, it was in a late September series last year that Smoak got his home run bat going.
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
LHP Erik Bedard
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Julio Borbon
LHP Derek Holland

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins


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