And Brandon League closes out a perfect ninth for a 7-3 win by the M’s. Great job of relief pitching by League and David Pauley — who allowed one hit over two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.
6;23 p.m.; That was a nice, quick 1-2-3 seventh inning tossed by David Pauley. Just what the M’s needed as they take their 7-3 lead into the eighth.
Felix Hernandez was at 102 pitches after six innings and could have come out for the seventh. But manager Eric Wedge, perhaps conscious that Hernandez threw 126 pitches his last time out, opted to pull him.
So, the M’s have a four-run cushion with six outs to go.
Hernandez settled down nicely after that potentially big first inning by Detroit. The Tigers had just four hits off him on the night while scoring the three runs — only two earned.
Hernandez fanned four and walked two. He was being more economical after the 24-pitch first inning and got the outs he needed to get his team in a position to win.
5:44 p.m.: Seattle just regained the lead, 7-3, by scoring four times in the top of the fifth off Phil Coke. Brendan Ryan led things off with a single, followed by a one-out double from Jack Wilson that put two on. Ichiro singled up the middle to score one run and then Chone Figgins hit a two-run triple to break things open.
Milton Bradley was hit by a pitch after that, ending Coke’s night. Brayan Villareal came on to pitch and uncorked a wild throw to first base on a pickoff attempt that allowed a seventh Seattle run to score.
Felix Hernandez didn’t hold his two-run lead very long in the fourth inning, giving up a two-run double down the left field line by Brandon Inge with two out. Milton Bradley got the ball, but made a high throw to the cutoff man as Brandon Boesch, who’d been waved home, easily scored all the way from first base.
Hernandez has the lead again now.
5:07 p.m.: This has to be an emotional night for Justin Smoak, playing for the first time since his father died last week. Smoak just added to the emotions by belting a two-run homer to left field in the top of the fourth inning to give Seattle a 3-1 lead.
The inning appeared to be going nowhere with two quick outs. But then Miguel Olivo doubled to center and then Smoak — after watching a prior deep fly ball hook just foul — sent a no-doubter over the wall off Phil Coke.
So, the M’s are turning into extra-base machines all of a sudden. Felix Hernandez has a lead. Let’s see whether he can hold it. His pitch count is at 54 entering this inning, so he’s stabilized it after that 24-pitch opening frame.
4:59 p.m.: Three innings done here and we’re still tied 1-1. Any guesses what Jack Wilson was thinking in the top of the third? With one out and Wilson on first after a single, Ichiro lofted a rather soft liner/flyball to center for an easy out. Except that Wilson kept on running, taking a turn at second, before realizing the ball had been caught. I mean, he’s the last guy in the stadium to figure it out. Easily doubled off.
So, what was he thinking?
1. There were already two out
2. He’s not good enough as a second baseman and wants to be pulled by Wedge
3. The latest UZR numbers suggested a slight downtick in the Tigers OF
4. He figured the OF would deflect Ichiro’s shot another 150 feet and off the wall
4:37 p.m.: Miguel Olivo had a little bit of help from the left fielder — OK, a whole lot of help — but he finally has his first home run of the season. Olivo sent a drive to left field to lead off the top of the second inning that Ryan Raburn got his glove on, only to deflect the ball a good 20 feet up and over the wall. I mean, that ball wasn’t even going to hit the warning track until Raburn gave the assist. (OK, I just saw a replay. It would have hit the track, but Raburn was still on the grass when he touched the ball.)
But the M’s will take it. Yeah, that counts as “luck” swinging his way, I suppose. Not really what we’ve been talking about, but hard to dismiss it as anything but good luck. The game is now tied 1-1.
Felix Hernandez threw 24 pitches in the first inning and gave up an unearned run. The inning opened with Brendan Ryan whiffing on a backhand attempt at a ground ball. An ensuing walk after the error put two on with none out.
But Chone Figgins made a nice play on a hard hit grounder to third by Magglio Ordonez, throwing home to get the lead runner.
Miguel Cabrera then singled to right to load the bases and an ensuing groundout to the right side by Jhonny Peralta opened the scoring. Hernandez got out of the inning by striking out Alex Avila.
3:56 p.m.: Felix Hernandez tries for his second straight win tonight and hopes to get better run support. His team scored only once for him his last time out, but that’s all he needed.
The Mariners are wearing their road alternate uniforms for the first time this year. Those are worn on Tuesdays if the home team is wearing white. So, we’ll see whether that brings them any luck. Then, maybe they could wear them Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well. Mondays, they could be worn if they’re facing a tough lefty and it’s an even day on the calendar.
3B Chone Figgins
LF Milton Bradley
C Miguel Olivo
1B Justin Smoak
DH Jack Cust
SS Brendan Ryan
CF Michael Saunders
2B Jack Wilson
RHP Felix Hernandez
CF Austin Jackson
2B Will Rhymes
DH Magglio Ordonez
1B Miguel Cabrera
RF Brandon Boesch
LF Ryan Raburn
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
3B Brandon Inge
LHP Phil Coke