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May 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Rangers, May 3: Mariners pull out 4-3 win

Heck of a win for the Mariners — 4-3 over the Rangers as they rally for two in the bottom of the eighth after the Rangers had moved ahead in the top of the eight. Game-tying single by Justin Smoak, game-winning single by Jack Cust. And then Brandon League made it interesting by giving up a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre to start the ninth. He then strikes out two and gets David Murphy on a grounder to shortstop — after a wild pitch had moved the tying run to second. League is now 8-for-8 in saves.
P.S.: The Mariners are now two games out of first place.
The crowd at Safeco tonight is 12,759 — third lowest this season (and ever) at the ballpark.
TEXAS SEVENTH: Another 1-2-3 inning for Bedard, who has pitched his second straight strong game. Pedro Strop is coming in to pitch for the Rangers. I’ve got to concentrate on my newspaper story now. 2-1 Rangers.
SEATTLE SIXTH: Three fly outs — one to each field. 2-1 Rangers.
TEXAS SIXTH: The Rangers not only break up Bedard’s no-hitter on Ian Kinsler’s leadoff double, but break the tie on Michael Young’s RBI single under the glove of a drawn-in Adam Kennedy. Young is now an amazing 17-for-30 with runners in scoring position this season. 2-1 Rangers.
TEXAS FIFTH: This is getting interesting. Bedard still hasn’t given up a hit through five as he retires the Rangers in order. He got another fine play from Figgins, who ranged to his left to field Murphy’s grounder and throw him out. Torrealba hit a shot, but right at Ryan at short. 1-1.
TEXAS FOURTH: All of a sudden, Bedard is cruising. He has now retired 11 in a row since Figgins’ error in the first. Figgins made two nice plays in the fourth, especially on Nelson Cruz’s smash down the line. Figgins backhanded it and threw out Cruz on a very close play. 1-1.
MARINERS THIRD: They tie the game on a two-out, ground-rule double to right by Justin Smoak. If it hadn’t bounced into the stands, Adam Kennedy probably would have been able to score from first. As it was, he got stranded at third. 1-1.
TEXAS THIRD: Another 1-2-3 inning for Bedard, who has not given up a hit through three, a fact that might be overlooked because of his struggling first inning. 1-0 Rangers.
SEATTLE SECOND: The Mariners load the bases with no outs against Alexi Ogando (Olivo walk, Smoak single, Cust HBP) — and don’t score. Ogando whiffs Saunders on a called third strike, whiffs Langerhans swinging, and gets Brendan Ryan on a liner at the second baseman. 1-0 Rangers.
TEXAS SECOND: Bedard follows his 33-pitch first inning with an eight-pitch second, retiring the Rangers in order on three ground balls. 1-0 Rangers.
TEXAS FIRST: Bedard labored through a 33-pitch first inning, and was both lucky and unlucky to give up one run. Lucky, because he walked two and gave up an absolute rocket by Michael Young that got caught in the wind and was run down by center fielder Michael Saunders, making a nice back-handed grab at the wall. Unlucky, because Chone Figgins booted what could have been an inning-ending double play ball for his fourth error, allowing in the lone run of the inning (it was earned, because you can’t assume a double play). Adrian Beltre, of all people, hit the ball that Beltre misplayed. Bedard struck out Mike Napoli looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. 1-0 Rangers.
As mentioned in a previous post, Michael Pineda was named the American League Rookie of the Month after going 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in five starts. He becomes just the third Mariner to win that honor, following Ichiro (April, May, August and September, 2001), and Rafael Soriano (August, 2003).
“It’s pretty good. I’m excited because rookie of the month is … oh wow,” Pineda said.
Pineda seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the big-league life.
“The first month was a little difficult for me because it’s my first time playing at this level, you know?” he said. “But I have so many friends and my friends helped me all the time. They say, ‘Hey, Pineda, if you have anything you need, let me know.’ I feel good because the players have helped the whole time.”

Asked what he has learned, he said, “I learned too much. It’s different. It’s different hotel. It’s different food. It’s different when you go on the road.”
Not to mention having to learn the league.
“Yeah, the hitters are different. It’s big difference.”
Pineda was asked if facing one particular batter stood out.
“All the hitters are pretty good. But I’m thinking the most was Miguel Cabrera because he’s a good hitter. (Josh) Hamitlon was my first time. I was focused on throwing the ball down on him because he was great.”
Meeting Cabrera and fellow Dominican David Ortiz was a thrill as well.
“Oh wow. I don’t know how to say it. I was excited to see Big Papi. He was talking to me a lot. He said, ‘Hey, Pineda, I’m excited for you. You are a good pitcher, focus on the game at all times.’ I was excited. He talked to me. And Miguel Cabrera too. He said you are great pitcher, man, keep working all the time, focus on the game all the time.”
Pineda said he has not been nervous “because I have too many players here. They talk to me. The catcher, Miguel Olivo, is a Domincan guy and he talks to me. It’s a little different game. But if you throw the ball down that’s it and you throw hard and you have a good stuff.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Pineda’s award, “That’s a great accomplishment for a young man in his first month in the big leagues. That says a lot. He’s been very consistent. He’s handled everything well. I think now there’s a lot of attention coming his way, and he’s going to have to handle that, too. There will continue to be challenges in front of him he’ll have to deal with and handle. But so far he’s handled everything well.”
Pineda starts Wednesday against the Rangers, the first time he will have faced a team a second time.
“That is another step,” Wedge said. “That’s real. As he gets deeper in the season, there will be more of a book on him. That’s another step as teams prepare for him. That’s one of the things you have to love about the big leagues. It’s always a series of adjustments and it’s never-ending. It’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to play up here.”
Pineda made his major-league debut against the Rangers in Arlington on April 5 and absorbed his only defeat in a 3-2 Texas victory. In six innings, Pineda gave up five hits and three earned runs, striking out four and walking one.

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