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September 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: Sept. 4, 2011 game thread

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Seattle got a pair back in the eighth. Trayvon Robinson — in the thick of things today — doubled off the right field wall with two out to put two on for Luis Rodriguez, who singled up the middle.
That made it an 8-5 game.
Ichiro singled to put two on after that but then Franklin Gutierrez swung at a 1-1 pitch and appeared to injure his oblique muscle. He clutched at his side in obvious pain and had to be helped off the field. You don’t want to speculate too much, but those side muscles can be real tricky and take time to heal. If it is indeed an oblique injury, his season probably just ended.
Adam Kennedy came in to finish the at-bat and struck out.
X-Rays on Casper Wells proved negative, so he’s day-to-day with a contusion on his elbow.

3:39 p.m.: Josh Lueke just gave back four runs to the A’s, making it an 8-3 game with two innings to go. Lueke was his own worst enemy that inning, walking Cliff Pennington to lead things off, then giving up a double off the top of the wall in right by Hideki Matsui. That’s three potential homers that have wound up doubles by about a foot for Matsui today.
Josh Willingham hit a sac fly to make it 5-3.
Lueke then threw his first of two wild pitches in the frame to move the runners up to second and third. He got a strikeout on Brandon Allen, but then, on the pivotal play of the inning, Ryan Sweeney hit a slicing liner to left.
Trayvon Robinson sprinted in on the ball and dove for it — but missed. The ball rolled to the corner for a triple that scored a pair and then another wild pitch brought the fourth run of the inning home.
The “correct” play for Robinson is to keep that ball from getting by him. But you understand his thinking. It was already a two-run game with six outs to go, so he’s doing all he can to keep it from getting to three. I really can’t fault him on going for it all there. If it’s 6-3 heading to the eighth, the M’s probably still lose.
Looks like they will now.
3:21 p.m.: Brian Fuentes is still doing what he does best. There’s a reason he’s not a closer anymore and we just saw why as he entered with two out in the seventh inning, threw one pitch and yielded a two-run homer to right field by Dustin Ackley.
Big hit for the M’s and for Ackley — who has slowed of late — to get back in this thing at 4-3. The M’s have been a non-factor for most of the contest but just woke up in a hurry. Was it in time, though?
3:00 p.m.: We just saw the good and the bad from Trayvon Robinson in that fifth inning. The good was when he walked and scored. The bad? He had a perfect opportunity to throw out Hideki Matsui as he rounded third on a two-out single to left by David DeJesus in the bottom of the frame.
Instead, his throw started to veer offline to Miguel Olivo’s left. The ball bounced in the dirt and popped out of Olivo’s glove as he prepared to sweep back and make the tag.
The throw still got there in time and Olivo should have hung on to the ball and could have applied the tag for the out. But Robinson should never have made Olivo reach for the ball and make a sweep tag in the first place. The ball was hit hard enough and the left fielder got to it in plenty of time and in good position to make a stronger throw.
Problem is, he has a weak arm. The throw we just saw was under optimal conditions and it wasn’t great. Doesn’t absolve Olivo. He has to squeeze the ball. But when we discuss Robinson becoming a full-timer at whatever position, these are things the M’s will have to consider.
Instead of the inning being over, Brandon Allen wound up doubling home another run to make it a 4-1 game for the A’s.
It also helped finish off pitcher Blake Beavan, who now leaves after five innings in favor of Josh Lueke.
2:34 p.m.: A leadoff walk by Trayvon Robinson helped get the Mariners their first run of the game. Seattle now trails 2-1 midway through the fifth. Robinson took second on a bizarre groundout by Luis Rodriguez in which first baseman Brandon Allen stumbled, then kicked the ball around before finally touching the bag with his bare hand after grabbing the ball with his glove. Ichiro then singled through the right side to bring the run in.
Blake Beavan got through a quick fourth inning. After using 45 pitches to get four outs, Beavan has needed only 25 more to get another eight outs.
2:13 p.m.: Blake Beavan continues to walk a tightrope and now trails 2-0 after the third inning. Oakland opened the third with Hideki Matsui lining a ball off the upper part of the wall in left center for a double. He later took third on a single to center by Josh Willingham and scored on a sacrifice fly by David DeJesus.
A lot of hard-hit balls that inning. The good news is, as poor as Beavan’s pitching has been, his team is still in striking distance.
2:03 p.m.: Blake Beavan and the Mariners trail 1-0 after two innings and are fortunate it’s only that. Beavan has walked three guys already and had thrown 45 pitches with two on and one out in the second. But then, he got two quick outs on only three more pitches and so has gotten that part of his game — pitch count — back under control.
Oakland took the lead when Brandon Allen led off the second with a double, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Kurt Suzuki’s single.
A’s starter Trevor Cahill looks real hittable today. The M’s loaded the bases with one out in the second but failed to score as Luis Rodriguez flied out to shallow center and Ichiro grounded out in an at-bat that might have resulted in a walk had he taken a few more pitches.
The big news of the inning was the M’s losing Casper Wells for the rest of the game after he was beaned on the left elbow by Cahill. Wells lay in a heap on the ground for several moments before finally taking his base and was replaced in left field in the bottom half of the frame by Trayvon Robinson.
1:07 p.m.: The Mariners have managed to score one run against Oakland starters over the 16 innings they’ve thrown so far. Seattle has also struck out 13 times while walking just once against both Brandon McCarthy and Guillermo Moscoso.
Fortunately, neither of those guys is throwing today.
Instead, the M’s will face Trevor Cahill. No, not the guy who actually found his way into the Cy Young Award discussion last year.
This year’s Cahill is only a poor man’s facsimile of the other guy. Cahill is 1-6 with a 7.15 ERA since the all-star break. Opponents hit .327 off him in August. He’s Oakland’s version of Jason Vargas.
Like Vargas, he began the year with a bang, going 6-0. And he’s ending it with a thud, dropping to 3-13 with a 5.33 ERA and .285 opposition batting average his last 21 starts.
The M’s hope he’s their slump-buster.



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