ADDITIONAL NOTE: In case you missed the news, M’s pitcher Erik Bedard has been placed on the 15-day DL with a sprained left knee.
Dustin Ackley just breathed a little life into the Mariners, hitting a two-run homer to right field in the eighth to cut Atlanta’s lead to 5-3. But as has been the case with this offense for much of the season, it might be too little, too late.
The Braves will bring closer Craig Kimbrel to the mound in the ninth. At least, if the M’s hold the deficit at two in the top of the ninth, they will have a chance in the bottom of the frame. Prior to that Ackley shot, there was no way.
2:37 p.m.: And we move on up to the eighth inning, with the Mariners now trailing the Braves 5-1. Atlanta added a run in the seventh inning when Alex Gonzalez led off with a single, then singles by Jason Heyward and Brian McCann (who else?) brought him home. McCann has been a one-man wrecking crew this series.
2:26 p.m.: Six innings done here and the Mariners trail 4-1. Seattle finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, with Josh Bard singling to right field to score Franklin Gutierrez. But the Mariners went no further from there and have only four hits so far.
1:53 p.m.: Sorry about the scarcity of posts. I’ve been sitting in the King’s Court section of fans out near the left field bleachers today, getting some perspectives for an upcoming story I’m working on.
The Mariners allowed three more runs in the fifth inning to fall behind 4-0. Felix Hernandez has been made to work by this tough Braves lineup, which scored a run in the fifth inning on a wild-pitch that got by catcher Josh Bard and went to the backstop, then tacked on two more with a two-out single to center by Freddie Freeman.
But the story, yet again today, is the offense. The Mariners have one hit so far, a one-out double by Bard in which he was stranded on base. As the team’s players and coaches keep saying, they can’t wait until the late innings to score. It’s only the fifth, but it feels like this game is just about over. We’ll see.
12:45 p.m.: This is a huge game for the Mariners, with their ace pitcher on the mound in Felix Hernandez and the team already three games out of first place and risking a tumble from the division race before July 1.
Good start for Hernandez today, getting two strikeouts and a groundout to first in the first inning.
By the way, for those of you wondering, Adam Kennedy did not have to take off last night when Ichiro stole third base. Ichiro going was a questionable decision at best, but Kennedy getting thrown out was on Kennedy.
He has the discretion of whether to go or not. In this case, he got thrown out. So no, Ichiro does not get the blame for that part of it.
Again, Ichiro stealing third in that situation? Well, he did make it. Like I said, taking that risk with a 3-0 count on the team’s best power hitter? Questionable at best. Let’s leave it at that.
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
4 Adam Kennedy (L) 3B
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
29 Jack Cust (L) DH
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
8 Carlos Peguero (L) LF
3 Josh Bard (S) C
34 Felix Hernandez RHP
1 Jordan Schafer (L) CF
22 Jason Heyward (L) RF
16 Brian McCann (L) DH
5 Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
26 Dan Uggla 2B
7 Brooks Conrad (S) 3B
8 David Ross C
13 Nate McLouth (L) LF
2 Alex Gonzalez SS
32 Derek Lowe RHP