We’re all tied up 2-2 despite a career-best 10 strikeouts notched by Jason Vargas, who entered the seventh with a two-run lead, but could not hold on. Yoenis Cespedes hit a one-out solo homer off Vargas and the Seth Smith hit a two-out double.
With the dangerous Jonny Gomes due up next, the M’s wanted no part of Vargas — who has yielded 21 homers this year — messing with a long ball type. In came Brandon League and he promptly fell behind in the count, then saw a full-count fastball ripped to left for a tying single.
Back to the drawing board. Just three hits given up by Vargas. He and Erasmo Ramirez become the first back-to-back 10-strikeout notchers for the team since Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia in 1999.
But neither Vargas nor Ramirez will get the win.
8:11 p.m.: It took them 26 innings, but the Mariners are on the board and lead it 2-0 as we head to the fifth. Seattle actually scored in the third, ending the streak at 25 innings. A leadoff single by Dustin Ackley, followed by a one-out single from Ichiro and then Franklin Gutierrez hit a run-scoring double off the wall in left center.
That got one run home and sent Ichiro to third. He promptly scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Kyle Seager. Gutierrez was thrown out trying to advance to third base.
7:40 p.m.: We’re two innings into another scoreless affair in which the Mariners have run their scoreless innings streak to 25 and Jason Vargas is going to be threatening Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeouts in a game record pretty soon. Vargas has fanned five batters in two innings and the A’s look completely clueless at the plate (more so than usual).
Jesus Montero led off the bottom of the second with a single, but, yeah, so what? One foul popout and two whiffs later, we’re scoreless in the third.
6:41 p.m.: We’ve got Jason Vargas taking the mound tonight and he’s given up 20 home runs already this season before the halfway mark. The good news? He’s given up 16 of them on the road and only four here where the flyballs tend to get Safeco’d.
The bad news? Even one home run in this park can kill a Mariners pitcher’s chance of winning, as Erasmo Ramirez can attest. The Mariners have gone 23 innings without scoring. Will they break the slump tonight? Against onetime M’s pitcher Travis Blackley? I say yes. By the fifth inning. That’s my vote in the pool.
Cast your votes right now and get in on the action.
2B Jemile Weeks
1B Brandon Hicks
RF Josh Reddick
CF Yoenis Cespedes
3B Brandon Inge
LF Seth Smith
DH Jonny Gomes
C Derek Norris
SS Cliff Pennington
LHP Travis Blackley
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Kyle Seager
C Jesus Montero
1B Justin Smoak
LF Michael Saunders
RF Casper Wells
2B Dustin Ackley
SS Brendan Ryan
LHP Jason Vargas