INJURY UPDATE: Dustin Ackley left the game in the ninth inning with a sprained thumb after diving for that double to left center. He is being X-Rayed for any breaks right now. With Michael Saunders unavailale to play the field, the Mariners have forfeited their DH and sent Jason Bay into the game, which means they’ll have to keep pinch-hitting every time the No. 8 spot is due up — which they did with Henry Blanco last frame — or else have a pitcher bat. Not a place you want to be in with the game in extras.
Closer Kevin Gregg just blew a save for the Cubs by walking pinch-hitter Henry Blanco and giving up an RBI single to Endy Chavez with two out. That’s why he closes for the Cubs, I suppose, but it’s on to extras for the Mariners yet again! Chavez had been in an 0-for-19 slump.
6:09 p.m.: Aaron Harang had allowed just one hit since the first inning, but got into all kinds of trouble in the sixth as the Cubs scored twice to take a 3-2 lead. Onetime Mariners infielder Luis Valbuena — part of the Franklin Gutierrez multi-team swap in 2008 — hit a one-out double, followed by a two-out single to right by Nate Schierholtz that tied the game. Schierholtz took second on the throw home and he wound up scoring when Alfonso Soriano hit a broken-bat blooper into left field.
4:58 p.m.: Justin Smoak got the Mariners on the board with a towering home run to right field in the second inning. Mike Zunino then doubled over the left fielder’s head and Dustin Ackley drove him home with a single to left field. So, the Mariners lead it 2-1 as we head to the third.
4:48 p.m.: Starlin Castro got hold of an Aaron Harang pitch in the first inning and pounded it over the center field wall to give the Chicago Cubs
a 1-0 lead as we now head to the bottom of the second.
The Mariners had a leadoff walk by Endy Chavez in the bottom of the first. Brad Miller grounded into a fielder’s choice force out at second, then managed his second stolen base in as many nights. But he was stranded at second as Kendrys Morales whiffed to end the inning.
3:46 p.m.: Aaron Harang gets the call for the Mariners today and has a somewhat different lineup behind him than was out there last night. First off, Nick Franklin is out with a stiff neck, so Brad Miller is in at second base and Brendan Ryan back at shortstop.
You’ve got Dustin Ackley back in center with Michael Saunders unable to play after getting spiked on the finger late in last night’s contest. Saunders was not hurt as badly as initially feared, but he’s still a no-go.
Both Franklin and Saunders could be used late to pinch-hit or run.
It’s Turn Back the Clock Day here at the old ballyard. No, not back to 2001 or 1995, which some Mariners fans would like. We’re talking way, way, back, like, in the days before Twitter or even the Internet. Lots of horns, marching bands, a barbershop quartet and who knows? Maybe some good baseball, we’ll see.
No, Harang was not around the last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series. You’re thinking of Raul Ibanez.