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August 21, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Rays, Aug. 21

MARINERS NINTH: They go down in order, with strikeouts by Ichiro (checked swing) and Ackley (looking) against Farnsworth. 7-7.
RAYS EIGHTH: Amazing escape by the M’s as Cortes air-mails a pitch Damon with bases loaded and two outs, and then tags out Joyce trying to score from third. Nice scramble by catcher Josh Bard to retrieve the ball. 7-7.
MARINERS EIGHTH: The M’s tie it on Wily Mo Pena’s first Mariner homer — a prodigious blast to left-center on a hanging curve by James Shield, who was immediately lifted frm the game. Casper Wells’ had singled before Pena’s blast. 7-7.
RAYS SEVENTH: A disastrous inning for the Mariners, who gave up four runs. Jamey Wright walked three,and all came around to score. The big hit was a three-run double by Johnny Damon, originally ruled grand slam off Jeff Gray but changed to double after umpires review (which took just 2 minutes, 41 seconds). 7-5 Rays.
MARINERS SEVENTH: The Mariners can’t do anything with a leadoff single by Ichiro. Carp sent one to the wall in left, but Jennings caught it as he ran into the wall. 5-3 Mariners.
RAYS SIXTH: The Rays added an unearned run, thanks to Ackley’s error on a force attempt at second, which he threw into the runner. Zobrist’s sac fly brought in Jennings with the run. It’s just the second unearned run they’ve given up this month. 5-3 Mariners.
MARINERS SIXTH: Shields strikes out the side — Pena, Seager and Bard. 5-2 Mariners.
RAYS FIFTH: Pineda gave up a one-out infield single to John Jaso, who was erased by Bard trying to steal second. Pineda has really settled into a groove. He’s struck out five through five innings, no walks, five hits (three in the second). 5-2 Mariners.
MARINERS FIFTH: The 1-2-3 inning ended on a great catch by second baseman Ben Zobrist, who went into a full-out dive to snare a looper up the middle by Adam Kennedy. (Upon further review, that ball appears to have been trapped. But it’s still an out). 5-2 Mariners.
RAYS FOURTH: Pineda seems to have it back together after his rocky second. He retired the Rays in order and has thrown 61 pitches through four. 5-2 Mariners.
MARINERS FOURTH: It looked the M’s were going to blow another chance until Gutierrez delivered a two-out RBI single. Seeger had led off with his second hit, followed by a walk by Bard, but Ichiro grounded into a double play. Then Gutierrez grounded a sharp single to left, his second hit, and the Mariners’ ninth, through four innings. 5-2 Mariners.
RAYS THIRD: Pineda worked out of a jam after giving up a leadoff double to Desmond Jennings. Damon popped out, and Josh Bard gunned down Jennings trying to steal third. Pineda struck out Longoria for the second time. 4-2 Mariners.
MARINERS THIRD — Remember this inning: The Mariners had runners on second and third, no outs, and didn’t score. Ackley singled and Mike Carp drilled a double down the right-field line, extending his hitting streak to 20 games. But Casper Wells hit a smash to third that was knocked down by Longoria — who makes great plays look routine — and threw him out. Shields then struck out Kennedy and Pena. You’ve just got to find a way to score there. 4-2 Mariners.
RAYS SECOND: The Rays’ running game is killing the Mariners. They’ve stolen 8 of 9 in this series, inlcuding two this inning, both of whom came around to score on RBI singles. Josh Bard, at least, got throws off, unlike Olivo on several occasions. The second, on Matt Joyce, appeared to be on time but shortstop Kyle Seager couldn’t hold on to it. Mariners 4, Rays 2.
MARINERS SECOND: They get another run on Bard’s RBI groundout after singles by Pena and Seager. 4-0 Mariners.
RAYS FIRST: Pineda struck out Desmond Jennings (looking) and Evan Longoria (swinging) in a 1-2-3 first. 3-0 Mariners.
MARINERS FIRST: The M’s jump on James Shields for three runs, the big hit being a two-run homer by Casper Wells — his fifth in his last seven games. Mike Carp drove in the other run with a ground out. The Mariners had been hitless in their last 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position before Wells’ homer. 3-0 Mariners.

The Mariners try to avoid the sweep, and Michael Pineda tries for his first win since July 30, when he beat these Rays. Pineda was strong in that game, allowing just one hit and striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings in a 3-2 M’s win. In his last outing, on Aug. 15, Pineda give up six hits and five runs in five innings in a no-decision against Toronto. The Mariners won 6-5.
Pineda has the highest strikeout rate (9.13 per nine innings) for an American League rookie pitcher since Cleveland’s Herb Score in 1955 (9.70). The rookie record for strikeouts per nine innings is 12.58 by the Cubs’ Kerry Wood in 1998. The last MLB rookie over 9.0 was St. Louis’s Rick Ankiel (9.98 in 2000). Ankiel is now an outfielder.



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