Well, the wheels just came off this game for the Mariners in the fifth inning, with Texas scoring six times to go up 7-0. Joe Saunders got the first out, but then a single, walk and single loaded the bases and then a bloop to left by A.J. Pierzynski led to another single that scored a pair. Jeff Baker then walked to load the bases — Saunders will be upset about the walks in the inning — and a David Murphy groundout scored another run.
Craig Gentry then tripled to left field on a ball Raul Ibanez looked mighty unsure of as he tried to play it. Two more runs scored on that and then Hector Noesi came on to pitch and yielded a double to the left field corner that brought the seventh Texas run home.
6:45 p.m.: We’re midway through the fifth inning and the Rangers lead it 1-0 on a Jeff Baker home run to right-center in the second inning. The only real good news for the Mariners — who have struck out eight times — is that they’ve got Rangers starter Yu Darvish up to 80 pitches already. Sort of a rope-a-dope deal going on. So, we’ll see how that plays out.
Joe Saunders is keeping the Mariners in it for now and if that Darvish pitch-count keeps soaring, it could be a determining factor in this game.
4:37 p.m.: This will be a test for Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders tonight. This ballpark isn’t all that friendly to flyball pitchers and he’ll be up against the formidable Rangers lineup.
Saunders has had the Rangers’ number his last two times out — including last year while pitching for the Orioles in the AL wild-card game. Can it continue? We’ll find out.