Raul Ibanez drove the first pitch he saw from Joe Nathan over the right field wall to tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th. Another huge clutch hit by a veteran this afternoon as the Mariners desperately try to end this losing streak and avoid the sweep here. Jason Bay nearly won it moments later with a drive to the wall in left-center, but David Murphy made a leaping catch to steal a home run and send this game to the 12th. Wow.
4:18 p.m.: A.J. Pierzynski came on as a pinch-hitter in the 11th and punched a go-ahead single through the left side to bring in Elvis Andrus from second base and give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Andrus had led the inning off with a bloop single off Carter Capps. Andrus took second on a bunt, then came home when Pierzynski got the first-pitch single off Oliver Perez.
3:10 p.m.: Kendrys Morales just hit a huge home run for the Mariners, a two-run last to right center on the first pitch he saw in the sixth inning to tie the game 2-2. Kyle Seager had led things off with a doule to right, took third on a groundout and then watched Morales launch one. Morales has come through in the clutch before for the Mariners and no hit might have been as big as that one, with the Mariners desperate for some positive offensive sign in a game Hisashi Iwakuma has managed to keep them close in.
1:35 p.m.: The Mariners have not gotten the pitching they need so far from Hisashi Iwakuma and trail 2-0 midway through the second. Jurickson Profar led the game off with a home run, becoming the youngest player — at age 20 years, 95 days — to do that since Lou Klimchock of the Kansas City A’s back in 1958. The Rangers opened the second inning with a single and a double to put runners on second and third with none out.
A sac fly by Leonys Martin brought the second Texas run home. Not good enough by Iwakuma so far.
1:02 p.m.: Hisashi Iwakuma has arguably been the team’s best pitcher this season and the Mariners need him to come up huge today. The Mariners are embroiled in an eight-game losing streak that is their longest since dropping 17 in a row back in 2011.
During the streak, the Mariners have scored only 2.28 runs per game. A big reason for that is the missing-in-action play of Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley, who had both been hitting atop the order for part of the losing run. Ackley is in the midst of an 0-for-14 slump and aout a day or two away from playing his way out of the majors.
The Mariners have Nick Franklin at Class AAA and they might as well see whether he’s capable of playing second base up here rather than contiuing to run a beaten-looking Ackley out there day after day.
Anyhow, we’ll see. Ackley is back in there at second base today. But like I said, the Mariners can’t keep this up much longer and hope to not have the season collapse around them entirely by June 1. There are moves this club can make to take minor leaguers on the 40-man roster and free up a spot for Franklin. One of those moves was going to be made to free up a spot for Jesus Sucre the other day before a news leak prompted the Mariners to create the spot with the DFA of Robert Andino.
So, that move is still out there. If the Mariners wait too long on Ackley and the offense keeps floundering with multiple black holes, it may soon be too late to fix anything.