Unbelievable, but it happened. Jose Lopez hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning off Steve Delabar to tie the game up 4-4. Delabar walked leadoff batter Carlos Santana, got two great defensive plays behind him from Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley on a lineout and popout, then had it all come undone.
Casey Kotchman — yeah, him — doubled to right field and then Delabar somehow fell behind 2-0 on Lopez. We all know Lopey sits dead-red after that and so does everyone in the ballpark since the next pitch was lined just over the wall in left.
10:52 a.m.: Seattle added a pair of huge runs in the sixth inning by finally getting some clutch hits to take advantage of Zach McAllister and knock him from the game. A leadoff double by Kyle Seager looked like it would go for naught when Justin Smoak flied out and Alex Liddi whiffed. But then John Jaso legged out a double to shallow right center and — after Mike Carp walked — Brendan Ryan blooped a single into shallow center off new reliever Jairo Asencio for the inning’s second run.
10:34 a.m.: This is shaping up into a game the Mariners are either going to be very thankful for or extremely upset about. They lead it 2-0 in the sixth despite their only hit of the day being a leadoff bloop single by Dustin Ackley in the first inning.
Zach McAllister has been killing himself, walking Brendan Ryan twice on eight pitches today including in the fifth inning. McAllister then walked Ackley and had an error made behind him to load the bases with one out.
He then saw a passed ball bring the run home, but got a huge strikeout on Michael Saunders. Ichiro then flied out softly to center field.
Ichiro is 0-for-6 with RISP this series and 0-for-3 today. He had an RBI on a groundout yesterday but has zero to show for today despite getting into three 2-0 counts. With any timely hitting at all, the Mariners would be running away with this game.
Hector Noesi has settled in nicely and just got through a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth on his 77th pitch. Much better outing from him today because he’s making pitches when he has to and finishing them off.
10:16 a.m.: That fourth inning could have been a lot worse for Hector Noesi had Ichiro not come to the rescue on a Carlos Santana line drive to right with a runner on and none out. Ichiro had to spring back quite a ways and make a leaping catch on a ball it didn’t appear he’d get to.
The catch mattered because Johnny Damon later added a two-out single and really, the entire complexion of the inning may have changed had Ichiro not snared the ealier ball. Casey Kotchman walked to load the bases before old friend Jose Lopez…grounded weakly back to the mound. Noesi and company take a 1-0 lead to the fifth.
Seattle has just one hit today on a leadoff bloop single by Dustin Ackley.
9:56 a.m.: The Mariners opened the scoring in the third inning, but you got the feeling it could have been so much more than a 1-0 lead they now hold. A wild-looking Zach McAllister walked Brendan Ryan (!) and Dustin Ackley with one out, then had both of them steal bases to put runners on second and third.
But Michael Saunders grounded out — getting one run home — as did Ichiro right after him and that was it. Ichiro is now 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position this series.
On the positive side, Hector Noesi has allowed three baserunners in two innings — including two walks of his own issued in the second — but managed to pitch his way out of trouble. That’s what he needs to do — keep runs off the board. His team is winning.
9:33 a.m..: Hector Noesi gave up five early runs his last time out, but otherwise pitched OK. As we wrote last week, it wasn’t going to be enough to win at Yankee Stadium. And it won’t be enough to win at Progressive Field either unless he can limit the damage.
This offense isn’t good enough to erase a five-run deficit. Not in its present form.
Noesi found himself in trouble right away, giving up a leadoff double to the right field corner by Shin-Soo Choo. A groundout advanced Choo to third base, but Noesi picked himself up with a pair of strikeouts to end the threat. Good job there.
The Mariners had a chance in the top of the first when Dustin Ackley led off with a single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Ackley moved to second on a one-out balk, but Ichiro flied out meekly to left and Kyle Seager lined out hard to left to let the RBI opportunity slip on by.