March 19, 2013 at 6:47 PM
Game thread: Michael Saunders leading off as Mariners play Giants
The Mariners scored twice in the sixth to retake the lead at 4-3, even though they had just one hit — a single — in the entire frame. That belonged to Kyle Seager to lead things off, followed by a Jason Bay walk and then Kelly Shoppach getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. Two sacrifice flies by Brad Miller and Nick Franklin brought the runs home.
8:58 p.m.: Tom Wilhelmsen and the Mariners are down 3-2 midway through the sixth and fortunate it isn’t more. Brandon Belt hit what looked like a three-run homer to left, but somehow the ball stayed in the park for a double and only one run scored on the play. Quite a few fans here thought the ball was going out and seemed surprised when Belt stopped at second. I haven’t seen a replay and officials here in the pressbox are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Apparently, the ball short-hopped the fence. But two runs allowed that inning by Wilhelmsen.
8:38 p.m.: That’s it for Brandon Maurer, who got the side 1-2-3 in the fifth and is done for the night after 64 pitches. I liked what Maurer did for the most part. He’s got a great arsenal to choose from and should only get better with a little more polish. You have to like the confidence with which he throws that changeup, as it gives him a real edge against left-handed hitters. Maurer faced 18 batters total, struck out four and didn’t walk anybody. He also hit one guy.
But three hits allowed over five innings? The Mariners will take it from a guy fresh out of Class AA.
We’re tied 2-2 in the sixth as Tom Wilhelmsen took over from Maurer, walked leadoff man Andres Torres, then watched him steal second and score on a single to center by Gregor Blanco. Kendrys Morales had driven in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth after Nick Franklin led things off with a hard double deep to the right center gap. Michael Saunders moved him to third with a groundout, Franklin Gutierrez walked and then Morales delivered with a liner fairly deep to right.
8:17 p.m.: Well, Brandon Maurer was doing really well, breezing through the fourth inning, but then he served up a two-out fastball right down the middle to Brandon Belt and he ripped ot to right for a single. The next batter, Brandon Crawford, drilled a changeup into the right-center gap to tie the game up 1-1.
8:03 p.m.: We’re three innings in and Brandon Maurer has held the San Francisco Giants to a lone single. The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Brad Miller was hit by a pitch, stole second and came home on a Nick Franklin single to left.
Maurer has done a good job using four pitches so far — fastball, curveball, slider, changeup — and has logged a pair of strikeouts without walking anyone, though he did hit a batter.
6:47 p.m.: This leadoff thing could become a headache for the Mariners before all is said and done. Michael Saunders gets the nod tonight against the San Francisco Giants and left-hander Barry Zito. Franklin Gutierrez is batting second, where the team would normally want him to be, except, well, that whole leadoff hitter thing. One guy the Mariners really don’t seem to want leading off any more? Dustin Ackley, the de facto incumbent.
Jason Bay? Don’t think so.
Anyhow, that Brandon Maurer guy is on the mound for Seattle and he’s pretty good.