UPDATE: Jack Wilson left today’s game with irritation of the right eye. Something apparently blew into it, Wilson rubbed the eye and caused the irritation.
Well, you know things are going the offense’s way when Luis Rodriguez gets in on the act with a three-run homer, as he did in the eighth inning off Ryan Perry. Rodriguez had not gone deep since July 2009, but hammered the 2-2 pitch over the right field wall to give Seattle a 7-2 lead.
The crowd started booing Perry when he surrendered an ensuing single to Michael Saunders. Detroit’s bullpen has looked awful this series and that’s continued today after starter Brad Penny made it through seven innings of four-run ball on 112 pitches.
Michael Pineda came out after six innings for the Mariners. Pineda struck out nine and only allowed the two runs on four hits. But left-handers drilled a number of balls hard off him today nad he was somewhat fortunate to get out of it with minimal damage done.
But after that last homer, Pineda now looks poised to improve to 4-1 on the season. Quite a start for him and a huge turnaround for the offense this series, with 24 runs in three games.
Looking more like a major league caliber offense now than it had at the outset of this series. As a result, these games are a lot more fun for M’s fans to watch, I’m sure.
12:24 p.m.: Michael Pineda looked to be in trouble after walking Miguel Cabrera to open the sixth. But he survived the inning, notching two more strikeouts to move to nine on the day. The last one was big, with Cabrera on second after a wild-pitch. Pineda got the lefty-hitting Alex Avila to stare at a 95 mph fastball on the outside corner for a called third strike.
Still 4-2, with the M’s now three innings away from sweeping.
12:04 p.m.: Miguel Olivo has the luck thing firmly in his corner these days and used it again in the sixth inning, hitting a home run that bounced off the top of the left field fence and into the Tigers bullpen.
That gives the Mariners a 4-2 lead. Michael Pineda enters this inning having thrown 78 pitches. But this frame is a big one because you have Miguel Cabrera due up followed by a bunch of left-handers who have hit the ball hard today.
11:46 a.m.: The Mariners squandered a chance to add to their 3-2 lead in the fifth inning after Ichiro made it to third base with one out. Chone Figgins got caught leaning too far off first base after that and was tagged out in a rundown.
Milton Bradley then struck out to end the inning.
Jack Wilson took a called third strike to start the inning off and has now come out of the game. Luis Rodroguez moves over to second base while Brendan Ryan takes over at shortstop.
We’ll try to get word on why the switch happened.
11:18 a.m.: Justin Smoak continues his transformation into a middle of the order hitter before our eyes, doubling over the head of center fielder Austin Jackson in the fourth to give Seattle a 3-2 lead. The inning began with a single by Miguel Olivo, who came home all the way from first base on the Smoak hit.
The M’s could have had more, but, with Smoak on third with one out, Luis Rodriguez flied out to shallow left and Michael Saunders grounded out.
10:59 a.m.: It didn’t take Seattle long to tie things up in the top of the third. Michael Saunders and Jack Wilson opened things up with singles, then Ichiro doubled to right center to bring one run home.
Chone Figgins then grounded one to the shortstop, who opted to throw to third to nab Ichiro rather than going home. That scored the tying run in a 2-2 game.
Milton Bradley grounded into a double-play after that.
10:47 a.m.: Michael Pineda began the second inning with his fourth consecutive strikeout and all looked great. But then, he was done with the right-handed bats and moved into the left-handers.
That’s where the trouble began.
The Tigers now lead 2-0 after jumping all over Pineda in the second as lefty Brandon Boesch doubled down the right field line. Pineda then walked righty Ryan Raburn and saw lefty Alex Avila double into the right field corner to bring both runners homer.
Another lefty, Don Kelly, then drove one to deep center where it was hauled in at the lip of the warning track. Avila advanced to third on the play.
Pineda then walked lefty Will Rhymes to put two on. But then, he was back to the right-handers and struck out Austin Jackson to strand a pair.
So, that’s 5 K for Pineda, but two runs allowed and a growing pitch count.
10:20 a.m.: Great first inning for Michael Pineda, who strikes out the side on just 11 pitches. Pineda blew some 95 and 96 mph heat past Austin Jackson and Ramon Santiago, then completely tied up Magglio Ordonez with an 84 mph slider.
The M’s went three up, three down in their half of the first. We could be in for a low-scoring day with this cooler weather.
10:07 a.m.: The Mariners go for the series sweep this afternoon on a chilly day where the gametime temperature is 49 degrees with a stiff wind. Michael Pineda makes his latest start, taking a 3-1 record and 1.78 ERA into his final April outing. Pineda ranks first in ERA and opponents batting average (.202) while tied for first in strikeouts (210 among rookie pitchers.