Great job by Tom Wilhelmsen today to send this game to the 12th inning, still tied 8-8. Wilhelmsen tossed three scoreless innings of one-hit ball.
4:21 p.m.: Stephen Pryor appeared in total control in the eighth, then he wasn’t. With the count 2-2 on Dayan Viciedo, Pryor got away from his 100-mph heater and threw an 88 mph slider. Changing speeds and pitch-type like that can really fool hitters, but not this time. Viciedo golfed it into the right field seats and we’re all tied up 8-8.
4:09 p.m.: Baseball is a crazy game and we saw evidence of that in the eighth as the Mariners scored three runs to take an 8-7 lead. John Jaso walked to lead things off, then took third on a one-out single to right by Michael Saunders.
The big blow came next: a double down the left field line by Brendan Ryan that somehow got by third baseman and former Gold Glove winnin infielder Orlando Hudson, recently acquired off waivers. Saunders was running on the pitch so he made it all the way home in addition to Jaso.
Ryan then broke for third on a steal attempt and A.J. Pierzynski’s low throw scooted through Hudson’s legs and into left field to give Seattle the lead. Pierzynski gets the error, but a third baseman has to keep that ball from getting by him no matter what.
5:55 p.m.: First, the bad news: the White Sox scored in the seventh to go up 7-5 when Alejandro De Aza singled, stole second base and scored when Gordon Beckham grounded one up the middle that Brendan Ryan tried to make a play on. Ryan makes those plays look easy bt this one was real tough. He fired the ball wide to first base trying to nab the speedy Beckham and pulled Justin Smoak off the bag.
The even speedier De Aza, who’d gone to third on the play, suddenly broke for home. Smoak fired home and pulled John Jaso, who seemed surprised a ball was coming his way, off the plate.
The official scorer has ruled it an infield single and RBI with an error on Smoak allowing the runner to go to second base.
So, that’s the bad news. The good news? Stephen Pryor made his big league debut with two on and two out and Paul Konerko up.
Pryor came out firing — with various readouts on the stadium scoreboard, the TV broadcast and PitchFX all having him ranging anyplace from 97 mph to 100 mph. PitchFX says he fired a 100 mph fastball on the first pitch and then finished Konerko off with the same pitch and speed at 2-2 to get the strikeout.
Heck of a debut.
2:48 p.m.: Hector Noesi just burned himself yet again and now finds himself down 6-5 and on-the-hook for a loss in a game in which his offense has hit four homers. But we’ve talked before about how Noesi just seems to lose focus at key moments in a game. He had Gordon Beckham down 0-2 with a runner on first and one out and somehow special delivered a hanging something or other up and in and got crushed.
The worst part of it. John Jaso walked out to the mound at 0-2 and had a nice, long chat with the pitcher. What were they talking about? Jaso’s collection of exotic pets? The upcoming Celtics-Heat game? Whether they are morally right to cheer for the Thunder while taking a paycheck in Seattle?
No. They were discussing what NOT to do on the next pitch. Specifically, don’t give Beckham anything in his wheelhouse — like a hanging anything up and in. Did anyone watch last night’s game? We should all know by now that if Beckham can get around on Felix Hernandez’s fastball, he can get around on Noesi slop, too. So, we’ve got the third homer in two games for Beckham on pitches all in the same location and Noesi is done withut getting through the fifth.
Noesi has great stuff, but these mental mistakes and lack of execution at key moments are killing him. If I’m on the coaching staff, I’m telling him — not so diplomatically — that the next time he’s 0-2, the next pitch is either in the dirt or a foot off the plate. I know there was a runner on first base, so the dirt isn’t the best spot. But there are plenty others. Anyplace but where he put that ball to Beckham might have sufficed. Unbelievable.
2:30 p.m.: Hector Noesi just gave uo his second homer of the day, this one to Alex Rios leading off the bottom of the fourth, to cut Seattle’s lead to 5-4. Another pitch that was a little too up on the inner half of the plate. You can get away with pitches like that to scrubs, not to Rios.
2:11 p.m.: The Mariners are trying to play slugfest with the White Sox and it’s working thus far, with a Michael Saunders homer giving Seattle a 5-3 lead in the fourth. The two-run blast by Saunders is the fourth homer of the day for the Mariners.
Chicago tied it up in the third when Orando Hudson doubled and later scored on a Gordon Beckham single.
1:59 p.m.: Ichiro now has consecutive home runs leading off innings today after taking Gavin Floyd deep to start the third inning. So, the M’s are now back on top 3-2.
The sixth multi-homer game of Ichiro’s career.
1:43 p.m.: Justin Smoak hit a solo homer in the second inning to give the Mariners a two-run lead, but the White Sox tied it in the bottom of the frame on a two-run homer by A.J. Pierynski off Hector Noesi. That ties the game 2-2.
Noesi was even at 2-2 in the count when he threw a pitch up in the zone and too centered on home plate for a veteran like Pierzynski, who cranked it for his ninth long ball of the season.
1:18 p.m.: Hector Noesi has pitched some pretty good ballgames for the Mariners of late, but will often fall victim to one or two costly mistakes. These Chicago White Sox are as hot as any team in baseball right now and the kind of club that will jump all over mistake pitches.
So, for Noesi to emerge victorious today, he’ll have to identify those criticial few situations in the game where he needs to make a flawless pitch. And if he fails to execute that pitch, he’d best miss down and out of the zone.
Ichiro got Noesi a bit of a headstart, lining the third pitch of the game over the right field wall for a 1-0 lead. It was the 37th leadoff homer of Ichiro’s career and also his second long ball this season — the prior one coming on April 18 against Cleveland.