Blake Beavan finished off the fifth inning for Aaron Harang, then walked a batter in the sixth before Adrian Beltre hit the fourth homer of the day for the Rangers. So, make it a 10-2 game, heading to the seventh.
1:55 p.m.: The roof just caved in on Aaron Harang in the fifth inning, culminating with a Nelson Cruz grand slam to center that carried an estimated 433 feet. So, it’s now an 8-2 game and we can safely say the Mariners and their horrible plate approach today are officially toast. Leonys Martin led off the inning with a triple ro right field and then Ian Kinsler blooped a single to shallow right to get the first run on the board. Remember, Martin hit that earlier home run, meaning we now have time to see the No. 9 batter for the Rangers hit for the cycle.
1:29 p.m.: No sooner did we point a finger at Brendan Ryan than he lashes a single up the middle. Endy Chavez — who has overachieved as a full-time player so far this past week and a half — then drilled a double over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin to get the Mariners back withing a run at 3-2. Problem is, they had a runner on second with none out and still could not get him home.
Kyle Seager, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse all went down on strikes. That’s nine strikeouts against Seattle by Justin Grimm in just five innings. Horrible plate approach taken today by the Mariners, who have left runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings.
1:22 p.m.: Aaron Harang got two quick outs in the fourth, then yielded a bloop single to Nelson Cruz. But there was nothing “bloop” about the cannon shot Mitch Moreland unloaded over the center field wall after that. Moreland’s 422-foot, two-run homer, gives the Rangers a 3-1 lead as we head to the fifth.
If you sense the lights just got turned out, you’re not alone. The quality of the at-bats being taken today by anybody not named Kyle Seager leaves plenty to be desired. This offense right now is as bad as I’ve seen it the past two years. Considering this is Year 5 of the rebuilding plan, that’s not good enough. If something doesn’t change, then this plan has been a waste of time. You don’t need half a decade to put a bunch of kids on the field who can’t hit. The Mariners have banked the reputation of their front office on the quality of the young core they were building. Time for that core to step up and show there’s some gas in the tank. Same goes for the “in-between” age types like Brendan Ryan.
1:09 p.m.: The Mariners have stranded a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings and it finally caught up to them in the bottom of the third when Leonys Martin hit his first home run of the season off Aaron Harang to tie it 1-1. Martin’s blast to right-center came after Harang had retired six in a row.
He then hit Ian Kinsler with a pitch and watched him take second on a wild pitch. Kinsler nearly scored a go-ahead run, but right fielder Michael Morse made a nice, running catch of an Elvis Andrus line drive that nearly went over his head in the right field corner.
12:42 p.m.: Well, well, we finally saw the Mariners score a run, snapping a 19-inning scoreless streak and giving them a 1-0 lead as they head to the top of the second. Endy Chavez hit a hard grounder to second that Ian Kinsler muffed and allowed into right field. Chavez alertly kept running and made it into second base on the error. Kyle Seager stepped up next and lashed a double to left to give the Mariners a rare run.
11:58 a.m.: This is actually, as I mentioned earlier, a pretty important game for the Mariners. Win this series finale in Texas today and you can think of a series win or even a sweep in Houston and then all of a sudden, things don’t look so bleak.
The Astros, despite what happened in Seattle two weeks ago, have played pretty bad ball against every other team and you’d have to think those two wins at Safeco Field were the exception rather than the rule. Remember, the Mariners have since stabilized their starting rotation have have the top three arms going in Houston.
So, as I said, this is a big day for Mariners starter Aaron Harang and company. It would help if the Mariners could score a run. They haven’t done that for 19 innings.