Two innings to go and the M’s have a 4-3 lead after Casper Wells singled off the glove of third baseman Michael Young to drive in the go-ahead marker in the top of the seventh.
Mike Carp led offf with his second hit of the game, followed one out later by the second hit from Franklin Gutierrez. Wells then ripped a single off Koji Uehara to put Seattle in front.
Jason Vargas battled through the seventh, ending his night on six hits allowed. Great job by him tonight. This was a real test.
7:18 p.m. All those missed chances early came back to haunt the Mariners in the fifth. Miguel Olivo couldn’t squeeze a foul popup by Yorvit Torrealba with Mike Carp bearing down on him as well. That allowed Torrealba to reach on an infield single and then, a few batters later, Ian Kinsler drove a ball over the left field wall to tie the game 3-3.
That’s where we now stand after six innings.
Josh Hamilton lined one over the right field wall in the fourth to get Texas on the board in what had been a 3-0 game. But for all those baserunners and all those pitches the M’s made derek Holland throw early, they didn’t score often enough to put things away.
Holland made it through six innings on a whopping 116 pitches. But he’ll get a no-decision.
The M’s? Jason Vargas will probably get another inning, sitting at 97 pitches. The team doesn’t have much choice. Three innings of bullpen against these Rangers without a substantial lead won’t get it done in this ballpark.
5:57 pm.: Mike Carp just extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-run, 411-foot homer to right center off Derek Holland to make it 3-0 for Seattle in the third inning.
Jason Vargas has done a good job of limiting damage so far and has a 1-0 lead after two innings. Vargas gave up a leadoff single in the first, but the Luis Rodriguez made a nice, diving catch of a softly-hit liner and threw to first to double off the runner.
In the second, Nelson Cruz drew a one-out walk and stole second, but Vargas fanned Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba.
The offense hadn’t been nearly as good at finishing things off unti lthe Carp blast.
With two on and none out in the first, Dustin Ackley whiffed and Carp grounded into a double play. Then, with the bases loaded and one out in the second, Trayvon Robinson hit into what should have been a force out at home when his soft dribbler rolled right to Derek Holland. But the pitcher couldn’t get the ball out of his glove in time and the run scored on what was ruled an error.
Ichiro then re-created the play with another comebacker and this time Holland made the play at home. Luis Rodriguez then struck out to end the threat with just the one unearned run in.
But Vargas now has a cushion to work with. Let’s see what he does.
5:04 p.m.: Our final game of this series sees Derek Holland taking on a depleted M’s lineup that is minus Justin Smoak, Adam Kennedy, Brendan Ryan, Jack Wilson…you get the picture. Not a pretty one for the M’s. Kennedy looked funny rounding the bases on that triple last night and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tweaked something in his legs. Kennedy was overused the first half of the season as the team tried to win games.
Now, he’s paying a physical price for it. With the off-day tomorrow, this gives him a two-day rest, even though he’s usually the guy in there facing lefties. Smoak is still on-track to play Friday. Wilson played himself to the point of exhaustion the past few days. Ryan is going to be out for a while.
Jason Vargas takes the mound tonight after a strong outing in Anaheim. This isn’t the greatest matchup for Vargas, but what can you do? The Rangers pounded him for five runs on a dozen hits over six innings his last time facing them. He did much better against them earlier in the year, but then again, he did much better against a lot of teams earlier in the year.
Now is now. We’ll see what he’s got.
Gametime temperature is a cool, breezy 102 degrees. Need some mittens for this one after the balmier stuff the past two nights.