Things turned lame indeed in the top of the ninth after a leadoff walk by pinch-hitter Mike Carp. Ichiro popped out to third, then Brendan Ryan did the same to first base. Adam kennedy walked to put two on but Justin Smoak popped out to second base.
Time to stop fiddling. This offense is going down in flames. David Pauley on to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Not feeling very good about this one.
9:39 p.m.: Tough turn of events for Doug Fister, who was one out away from ending the eighth inning with a runner on second after a brilliant barehanded play and throw by Adam Kennedy on a bunt attempt to nab the speedy Emilio Bonifacio at first base.
But Omar Infante fouled off eight consecutive pitches, then lined a double down the left field line to score Jose Lopez from second and tie the game 1-1.
Lopez had come on as a pinch-hitter and notched a one-out single.
Fister finished off the inning. But he was lifted for a pinch-hitter here in the ninth so he won’t get the win.
8:57 p.m.: On we go to the seventh in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel, with Doug Fister and the Mariners leading the Flordia Marlins. We’ve seen some great defense tonight, including in both halves of the sixth inning. Marlins second baseman Omar Infante made a brilliant diving stop to his right and then threw Carlos Peguero out at first base. Had Infante let the ball go on through, the M’s would have had runners at the corners with only one out. Instead, the inning ended one batter later.
And then, with one on and one out in the bottom of the frame, Adam Kennedy and Dustin Ackley turned a nifty 5-4-3 double-play. Blink and you miss it tonight.
8:26 p.m.: Doug Fister took things into his own hands to give Seattle a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Fister doubled to left center with one out, took third on a single by Ichiro, then scored on a Brendan Ryan single to right — his second hit of the night.
We saw some great defense from Justin Smoak and Ryan on a 3-6-3 double play in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan then almost made the play of the year defensively on an infield single by mike Stanton right after that — the impossible throw from the shallow outfield arriving a step late despite Smoak’s great stretch at third.
Dustin Ackley tripled to center with one out in the top of the inning. But Miguel Olivo grounded out to third, with Ackley diving back into the bag. Carlos Peguero then went down swinging.
7:49 p.m.: Two innings done and we’re still scoreless after Doug Fister pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the second. Fister had retired five in a row but singles from Mike Stanton and Dewayne Wise put runners at the corners. But Fister got Brett Hayes to ground into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Carlos Peguero was hit by a pitch with two out in the top of the inning, but Franklin Gutierrez grounded out after that.
7:21 p.m.: Ichiro had a great at-bat and then led off with a single to right field. Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez promptly threw over to first base in what seemed like a half-dozen attempts to keep Ichiro close to the bag.
Brendan Ryan struck out and then Sanchez, in another move towards first, committed a balk that finally sent Ichiro to second base. But Adam Kennedy grounded out, with Ichiro going to third, and Justin Smoak took a called third strike in the upper part of the zone, inner corner.
So, scoreless after a half-inning.
7:11 p.m.: Seattle needs to find some offense in a hurry as the Marlins send Anibal Sanchez to the mound tonight. He’s one of the guys the Boston Red Sox dealt to Florida for Josh Beckett way back when (the other guy was Hanley Ramirez). Boston did win a World Series with Beckett in 2007 while the Marlins are still everybody’s favorite darkhorse each pre-season but never really get the winning thing going.
Doug Fister — quickly becoming an innings-eater — goes for Seattle. He’ll have to stuff his face with some innings tonight because it could be a long Sunday evening for this crew of M’s bats.