Franklin Gutierrez has done it in the field and now, at the plate, dropping down a squeeze bunt up the first base line to get Dustin Ackley home from third base for a 3-0 lead after five innings. Ackley had been 1-for-21 at the plate this season but led off the fifth with a hard single lined to center field. Brendan Ryan then dropped a bunt in front of home plate and catcher Jason Castro threw late to second after pump-faking once and waiting for Ronny Cedeno to cover the gag. Should have thrown to first when Cedeno wasn;t there right away.
That put two on and Ackley advanced on a flyout by Michael Saunders. Gutierrez then dropped the squeeze down and charging first baseman Carlos Pena wasn’t nearly in time to get Ackley. Kendrys Morales drew a walk to load the bases up for Michael Morse. But with the crowd buzzing with anticipation of a grand slam, Morse grounded into a double play.
8:02 p.m.: Michael Saunders used a bloop single that landed just fair down the left field line to get on for the second time tonight. Kendrys Morales then knocked him in once again, doubling to left center with a hard line drive for a 2-0 lead after three innings. Mariners are now 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-14 the past two games.
7:28 p.m.: The Mariners were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position during their two previous losses to Chicago. Well, tonight, Kendrys Morales delivered an RBI single u the middle the very first chance the Mariners had, bringing home Michael Saunders from third base for a 1-0 lead. Saunders singled to left, then stole second and took third on a groundout before scoring on a grounder that got by a rather lackadaisical-looking shortstop Ronny Cedeno — he of former Mariners colors back in 2009.
7:21 p.m.: Joe Saunders is only one strikeout away from matching the total from his debut last week in Oakland and we’re still in the first inning. Saunders gave up a one-out single up the middle, then struck out Chris Carter and J.D. Martinez. The Astros whiffed 74 times their first six games and are on-pace to obliterate the single season record.
6:54 p.m.: We’ll see whether the offense and pitcher Joe Saunders can get untracked against a Houston Astros squad that hasn’t won a game since its season opener eight days ago. Not only that, we’ll get a look at the “new look” Safeco Field, with fences moved in and no out of town scoreboard atop the left field wall any more.
Will we have a Home Run derby tonight? I doubt it. Astros starter Philip Humber tends to keep pitches down for the most part, while his team mates can’t hit their way out of the paper bags most of their fans will be wearing on their heads come May at this rate.
Should be fun.