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July 5, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: July 5, 2011 game thread

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All of those missed opportunties came back to haunt the Mariners in the ninth. Brandon League allowed a leadoff double to Jemile Weeks, who was bunted to third. Coco Crisp then hit a soft flyball to shallow left that Carlos Peguero got a late break on and was unable to catch despite a sliding effort.
Yeah, a better left fielder probably catches it and we’re outta here one batter later.
In any event, League blows the save. He was pretty fortunate to escape in a 2-2 tie and send this to the 10th after Crisp was caught stealing and then — one walk later — Conor Jackson lined out hard to Peguero in left.
Seattle had two on with one out in the top of the ninth before Miguel Olivo and Peguero went down swinging. This team needs additional bats. Especially in left field.
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Well lookie here at what we’ve got. It’s the foreign services branch of The King’s Court, perched way in the upper decks of the massive “Mount Davis” bleachers in center field.

If you missed Geoff Baker Live! this afternoon (replay above), a viewer asked whether Jack Cust was “safe” at DH for now. Sure, he’s safe in the respect that Mike Carp won’t be replacing him. But I also replied that Ichiro was about due for another DH “rest” and what do you know? Ichiro is in there at DH tonight.
Another viewer wanted to know how close the Mariners have to be to first place for the front office to consider them deadline “buyers”. I also re-state my case for why this team should take a shot now. On that note, somebody asked me why CEO Howard Lincoln would want to fight for a payroll increase and add a bat this year when he wouldn’t do it nine years ago with Lou Piniella still around and packed houses at Safeco Field.
Somebody also asked me about why the team won’t play Jack Wilson at third base. I used the Wilson situation to offer up a comment on how the M’s have failed to maximize their 25-man roster at times.

9:17 p.m.: Wouldn’t you know it, the M’s won’t let us all out of here easily tonight, with Felix Hernandez yielding a two-out, solo homer to left by (who else?) Kurt Suzuki to make it a 2-1 game. Hernandez then allowed a single by Ryan Sweeney, but Cliff Pennington grounded into a force out at second to keep Seattle on top.
Hernandez is done. We’ll see Brandon League in the ninth going for save No. 24. And it won’t be easy, with the top of the order due up. League could use an insurance run or two here. Hey, Dustin Ackley is due up this inning, so you never know.
9:04 p.m.: Dustin Ackley hit the first pitch of the seventh inning over the center field wall for his third big league homer and a 2-0 lead for the Mariners.
And Felix Hernandez ran with it, getting the side in order in the seventh and notching his ninth strikeout in the process.
Brad Ziegler took over from Trevor Cahill in the eighth and got three consecutive groundouts, so Hernandez is back out there already. Can’t type fast enough to get this done — whoops, there’s strikeout No. 10 for Hernandez to start the eighth — in order to post before the outs are made.
8:40 p.m.: That’s eight strikeouts through six scoreless innings for Felix Hernandez, who carries this 1-0 lead into the seventh. The M’s put two on with two out in the top of the inning on a single by Ichiro and a walk by Adam Kennedy.
But Justin Smoak went down swinging. Seattle just can’t deliver the big hits in key situations this trip or this entire last month. They need every bit of Hernandez at his best tonight.
8:22 p.m.: We’ve already played five innings here and both teams are living up to their reputation for offensive ineptitude. Seattle leads it 1-0, though the A’s had a chance to tie it in the fifth. David DeJesus was hit by a pitch with two out and then stole second.
But Felix Hernandez caught Kurt Suzuki looking at a high fastball with the count full to end the threat.
The M’s have gone six up, six down the last two innings. Settling into a familliar pattern.
7:51 p.m.: Three innings done and Felix Hernandez still has a 1-0 lead. Kurt Suzuki led off the third inning with a hard single to left. But the Mariners caught a break again when Ryan Sweeney whiffed on a hit-and-run and Suzuki was easily thrown out at second.
Hernandez struck out Cliff Pennington to end the inning.
7:34 p.m.: The Mariners opened the scoring — barely — with an unearned run in the second and lead the game 1-0. Dustin Ackley led off with a single, then stole second on a Miguel Olivo strikeout. The throw by catcher Kurt Suzuki wound up in the outfield, enabling Ackley to take third.
Carlos Peguero then ripped a long liner just foul down the right field line. Nearly one of his trademark home runs. Peguero then hit a soft flyball to shallow left. Ackley tagged up and used a good feet-first slide to beat Suzuki’s tag after an offline throw from left fielder Ryan Sweeney.
7:21 p.m.: Felix Hernandez caught a break in the first inning and we’re still scoreless heading to the second. Hernandez yielded a one-out single to center by Jemile Weeks, who then stole second base. But Weeks overslid the bag and was tagged out. I’m told it’s at least the third time he’s done that but the first time he’s been caught. A strikeout and groundout ended things from there.
7:14 p.m.: We’re only a half-inning in and already, the Mariners have wasted a chance. Brendan Ryan stroked a one-out double off the wall in deepest left center, but Adam Kennedy grounded out and Justin Smoak went down swinging. Got to do more with those chances.
7:05 p.m.: Felix Hernandez takes the mound tonight, trying to secure a series win for the Mariners. Hernandez’s next start after that will be on Sunday, preventing him from pitching in the All-Star Game. That could lead to Michael Pineda being added to the All-Star team. If that happens, it’s possible the M’s would back him off a bit after the break.
The M’s have four games versus Texas to start the “second half” and then, there’s an off-day. M’s manager Eric Wedge discussed that a big pre-game.
Erik Bedard is here with the team in Oakland and will start throwing soon in anticipation of being back in there right after the break. Right now, he’s slotted to go about three or four days into that stretch against the Rangers.
Pineda? There’s a good chance he won’t be. The M’s have considered pushing him back until they hit the road to Toronto.
Again, some of that has to do with spreading out some of his starts so that he can make it through September without having to be shut down. The one fear, Wedge said, is that he might be backed off too much.
The team doesn’t want a 10-day rest between outings for him.
But if he pitches in the All-Star Game, part of that would factor into it, because at least it would be game action. Nothing is set yet. These are just some of the things the M’s are looking at for now.
The lineups:
Mariners (42-43)
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) DH
26 Brendan Ryan SS
4 Adam Kennedy (L) 3B
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
30 Miguel Olivo C
8 Carlos Peguero (L) LF
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
56 Greg Halman RF
34 Felix Hernandez RHP
Athletics (38-48)
19 Jemile Weeks (S) 2B
29 Scott Sizemore 3B
4 Coco Crisp (S) CF
55 Hideki Matsui (L) DH
28 Conor Jackson 1B
12 David DeJesus (L) RF
8 Kurt Suzuki C
15 Ryan Sweeney (L) LF
2 Cliff Pennington (S) SS
53 Trevor Cahill RHP

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