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June 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Mariners at Detroit Tigers: June 12, 2011 game thread

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Felix Hernandez finally gave up another run in the eighth on a two-out single by Alex Avila. But that wasn’t too bad, considering the first two batters in the inning both reached base.
The M’s will take a 5-3 lead to the ninth.
12:30 p.m.: Felix Hernandez now has a 5-2 lead, courtesy of a two-run homer by Miguel Olivo in the eighth off Joaquin Benoit. Remember, the M’s are 17-2 since late April when scoring at least four runs.
Hernandez used a double play grounder to get out of the seventh on just seven pitches and starts up the eighth at 107. This might be his gutsiest performance of the season and it’s come at a crucial time.
The folks who had to step up for the M’s today — Hernandez, Olivo, Brendan Ryan Chone Figgins and Ichiro — have done so. Took them a while to get it going, but they haven’t stopped since.


11:59 a.m.: Felix Hernandez threw too many pitches early, but he did a great job of working through the sixth inning with a 3-2 lead considering how the game began. Hernandez didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning all day, but the fact he got through the sixth with no more runs allowed is huge.
He’s right at 100 pitches now. I’d let him go one more inning and try to reduce it to David Pauley in the eighth and Brandon League in the ninth. Hernandez will get an extra day’s rest with the off-day on Thursday.
As we wrote earlier, the M’s need this game today. They’ve been letting a lot of their pre-trip momentum slip away and a win here would see them at 3-4 on the trip with only one game lost — maybe none — in the standings.
11:38 a.m.: That’s the kind of inning the Mariners need from both Ichiro and Chone Figgins a lot more often. All of a sudden, Seattle leads 3-2 midway through the fifth inning after Miguel Olivo led off with a solo homer and Ichiro delivered a clutch single to score Figgins from second. Brendan Ryan then bunted his way on for a hit and Justin Smoak blooped a high pop up that dropped into shallow center between three fielders to put Seattle ahead.
Figgins worked a one-out walk, stole second and scored when Ichiro lined a 2-1 pitch from Rick Porcello the opposite way to left field. Instead of the automatic out he’s been for most of the last six weeks, Ichiro not only tied it up, but kept the inning going long enough for other good stuff to happen.
And this M’s offense needs a lot more of that.
11:02 a.m.: The Mariners are not getting the kind of outing they needed from Felix Hernandez today. He trails 2-0 after the Tigers added a run in the third on a two-out single to center by Victor Martinez. Hernandez had Martinez at 1-2 but then left a pitch way too high in the zone and Martinez muscled it over Brendan Ryan’s head.
Hernandez has walked three and thrown 57 pitches already. He’s found himself in too many three-ball counts. A leadoff double off the wall in left center by Austin Jackson didn’t help. Nor did an error on the play by left fielder Carlos Peguero that sent Jackson to third with none out. Not a good day for Peguero so far.
Hernandez got a groundout and popout to center and looked like he’d get out of it. But he walked Miguel Cabrera, then made the mistake pitch to Martinez.
The offense hasn’t shown up yet. Better not wait much longer. Middle of the order due up this inning and they really need to get something going here or it could be a long day.
10:42 a.m.: Felix Hernandez didn’t listen to Miguel Olivo in the second inning and it cost him as the Tigers scored to take a 1-0 lead. With one out and a runner on first, speedy Andy Dirks laid down a bunt. Olivo immediately signaled to Hernandez, who fielded the ball, to throw to first.
But Hernandez instead glanced at second base before finally doing what Olivo recommended and throwing to first base. That moment’s hesitation cost Hernandez an infield single as Dirks beat the throw to put two on.
Hernandez then ran the count full on Jhonny Peralta before getting a strikeout. The count went full on Alex Avila as well and he then singled up the middle with the runners on the move to bring home the run.
Next time, Hernandez should just do what Olivo says.
Hernandez’s command has been off. He’s already walked two guys and thrown 39 pitches through two innings.
10:19 p.m.: Felix Hernandez takes an .800 career winning percentage in June into today’s game. Hernandez is 16-4 with a 2.60 ERA in June and his winning percentage is the best all-time for any pitcher with at least 15 career starts in the month.
He’s ahead of Sandy Koufax (42-12, .778) and Whitey Ford (48-14, .774). I’ll give Koufax and Ford the edge based on the sheer number of starts.
But those are still pretty good odds the M’s take into today’s road trip finale.
The Mariners had something going in the first inning when Brendan Ryan reached on an infield single and Jack Cust drew a two-out walk. But No. 5 hitter Carlos Peguero, after doing a good job of working the count full, swung at a bad pitch near the dirt to end the inning. That’s the kind of stuff Peguero needs to stay away from. That pitch didn’t even look good coming out of Rick Porcello’s hand. Bases should have been loaded for Miguel Olivo right there. That bad choice to swing could be an early difference-maker.
Hernandez gave up a one-out walk in the bottom of the inning, but then got Brennan Boesch to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play. Good job by Jack Wilson on the pivot and throw right there.
Scoreless after one.

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins

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