M’S WIN — League closes it out in the ninth and the Mariners get the win, 3-1. They also close to within a game of first place in the AL West, something I doubt anyone can say they thought would be the case this late in the season.
Now a much-needed day off before a three-game set with the Phillies over the weekend.
And Friday, remember, is Ichiro replica green jersey night for the first 20,000 fans.
BOTTOM EIGHT — Greg Halman added some insurance with his first Major League HR on a 1-2 pitch from Rich Thompson to make it 3-1. A nice moment for Halman, obviously, and for the Mariners as League now comes on to close out a much-needed win.
TOP EIGHT — The Angels get one but Pauley strikes out Abreu with two on to end the inning. Pauley walked two and gave up a single to Aybar to score the run. Obviously we’re looking at Brandon League likely to come on in the ninth and close it out.
BOTTOM SEVEN — The Mariners get a lucky break and maybe the only two runs they will need as Perguero’s grounder up the middle hits the bag at second and bounces into center with the bases loaded and two outs.
Aybar would likely have made the play and the inning over. Instead, the M’s now turn a 2-0 lead over to the bullpen.
The Angels gambled and walked Smoak to get to Peguero, and it seemed like a good move when he fell down in the count 0-2. But he fouled two off, then took two balls before hitting it up the middle and getting a little good fortune to snap Seattle’s 19-inning scoreless skid.
TOP SEVEN — More dealing by Bedard, who has thrown 96 pitches so far and is on top of his game, getting the Angels again 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. But can the M’s finally break their own drought?
BOTTOM SIX — Carp got a two-out single but that was it as a nice play by Andrew Romine at third of a Gutierrez shot ended the inning. M’s haven’t scored since the fifth inning Monday, 19 straight without a run.
TOP SIX — Another 1-2-3 inning for Bedard as the Angels have now gone 14 innings without scoring since the four-run first last night. Course, Seattle hasn’t scored since Monday so it remains 0-0.
BOTTOM FIVE — Ichiro got his second double of the night with one out. But he was again left stranded, thanks in part to a diving grab by Angel first basemman Trumbo of a Smoak liner that he then turned into the third out of the inning.
TOP FIVE — Speedy Peety Bourjous turned a single into a double to give the Angels a threat in the fifth. But Bedard got Andrew Romine to ground out for the third out after Bourjos had advanced to third on a fly out, so the game remains scoreless.
BOTTOM FOUR — Getting a little redundant here as the M’s go down 1-2-3, Santana appearing to get into a little groove.
Does the first time to score, win?
TOP FOUR — Another quick 1-2-3 inning for Bedard, who has thrown 54 pitches, 37 strikes. He’s allowed just 10 earned runs in his last seven starts and appears to have it going again tonight.
BOTTOM THIRD — M’s got a one-out double from Smoak, but Peguero flied softly to left and Olivo popped to second to end the threat. So still scoreless in Seattle.
TOP THIRD — Easy inning for Bedard as he gets the Angels 1-2-3 including a strikeout of Hunter to end it.
BOTTOM SECOND — Soft as a Manilow song hits by Figgins and Wilson put runners on first and third with two outs. But Ichiro picked a bad time for his recent surge to take a breather, grounding out to second for the final out leaving the game still scoreless.
TOP SECOND — The Angels hit the ball hard off Bedard a few times but ultimately came away with nothing thanks largely to a nice catch by Carp in left field to steal at least a double off the wall from Mark Trumbo with one out and a runner on first. Bourjos followed with a single and aggressive baserunning put runners on second and third. But Bobby Wilson grounded out so it remains 0-0 to the bottom of the second.
And Texas’ loss is now a final so M’s can again get to within a game with a win.
BOTTOM FIRST — Mariners wasted an Ichiro leadoff double, making him 9-18 since his “benching.” Smoak walked with one out and Ichiro then stole third. But Peguero and Olivo struck out to end the inning, so the game remains scoreless.
TOP FIRST — A markedly different start for the Mariners tonight than Tuesday as Erik Bedard needs just 15 pitches — 11 strikes — to retire the Angels in order. Seattle was down 4-0 after the top of the first last night.
And as many of you have noted, Texas is losing 9-4 in the eighth, so a chance for the Mariners to get to within a game of first in a division no one seems to want to win at the moment.
PRE-GAME — If you’re a hockey fan, welcome back as the season appears over in the NHL. Time to concentrate on some baseball and the Mariners attempting to salvage a game in this three-game series.
As Geoff Baker noted the other day, the Mariners had a chance in this series to pour a lot of dirt on the Angels, who came here 5.5 games back. Instead, the Angels are now just 3.5 back and just 1.5 back of the Mariners. Tonight, obviously, is big for the Mariners to head into an off day and then a tough series with the Phillies with at least a little breathing room on the Angels.
It won’t be easy, though, as Angels starter Ervin Santana has done pretty well against Seattle historically. He’s 9-4 lifetime against Seattle with a 3.89 ERA, and is 5-3 at Safeco Field. He’s been even better lately, going 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four against Seattle.