Mariners manager Eric Wedge hasn’t pinch-hit for his veterans much this year, even in obvious situations where he leaves his hitters in a clear handedness disadvantage. This time, he pulled Raul Ibanez in the seventh and had Kendrys Morales bat against Angels southpaw reliever Michael Roth with two on and one out.
Morales delivered a line drive single to left, scoring the go-ahead run in what is now a 3-2 game.
It was the fifth inning out of seven in which the Mariners have gotten the leadoff guy on base. They have 10 hits and four walks tonight, but still only the three runs. Still, it’s better than being behind, whch they were not too long ago.
7:55 p.m.: The Mariners just tied it up 2-2 on a two-run homer by Jesus Montero after several innings ofstranding runners on base. After leaving the bases loaded in the fifth, the Mariners saw Raul Ibanez open the sixth with a leadoff walk, then Montero took a Joe Blanton offering just over the wall in left.
7:10 p.m.: The Angels scored twice in the third to take the lead starting with a solo homer to left-center by Chris Iannetta. Peter Bourjos then singled, stole second and took third when a weak throw by catcher Jesus Montero tailed off and went into center field. A sac fly to right by Mike Trout produced the second, unearned run.
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They almost got another run in the fourth, when, with runners at the corners and one out, Brendan Harris tried a squeeze bunt with Mark Trumbo sprinting home from third. But Felix Hernandez fielded it and flipped to Montero, who blocked the plate and held on for the tag out.
The Mariners are again stranding runners left and right. They had two on and none out in the first and did nothing with it, wasted a leadoff single by Raul Ibanez in the second, then left Dustin Ackley on in the third after his one-out single.
5:58 p.m.: This is an important game for a Mariners squad that had played better ball in splitting the first two games of this series against the Los Angeles Angels. Now, they have ace Felix Hernandez going tonight and can guarantee themselves at least a split of their four-game series against a Los Angeles Angels squad many expected to be a World Series contender this year.
So, yes, this is an important game as far as at least establishing some .500 stability for this team over a stretch of games. Beats what the Mariners were doing last weekend, but they need their ace to show up for this one. The starting pitching from veterans has been abysmal this week.