Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
April 29, 2008 7:09 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
7:09 p.m.: Not sure how this became a three-hour game. The last two innings took about an hour. But Seattle just piled up a week's worth of production in the ninth inning, equalling a season high with five runs to take a 7-2 lead. The big blow was a three-run homer by Adrian Beltre off Rafael Betancourt. After that, a Richie Sexson double was followed by a stolen base from pinch-runner Miguel Cairo. Willie Bloomquist then walked and stole second. Kenji Johjima -- having a miserable night -- popped out, but then Yuniesky Betancourt drove both runners home with a single to left.
Want to see how I got here to Cleveland? No? Well, too bad. The video below shows yesterday's trek, which begin at the Seattle Times, where I spoke to a group of regional sports editors about the future of online blogging using multi media (audio, video, photos etc.). After that, hopped my car to Seatac, waited an hour for Northwest Airlines to get its act together, flew to Minneapolis and then waited another half hour for the same airline to get the same act in gear, then finally arrived in Cleveland. You'll see a shot of progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field on the left as I ride by in the taxi, about 20 minutes after the Indians/Yankees game. Finally arrived at the hotel about 11:15 p.m. Hey, it's not art. But it's as close to a road trip as some of you are going to get, so I hope you enjoy it.
Now there's a shot that will cheer you all up. Mariners manager John McLaren swapping strategy pre-game with former manager Mike Hargrove, still on the M's payroll as a consultant and living here in the Cleveland area.
6:39 p.m.: Game now tied at 2-2 after eight. Who could have seen that second Cleveland run coming? All of us? Score two runs a game, it's tough to win. Seattle needed more long before now. Carlos Silva started the eighth at 92 pitches and promptly walked Grady Sizemore and yielded a single to David Dellucci that put runners at the corners with no out. Arthur Rhodes came in at that point and allowed an RBI groundout to the right side by Travis Hafner, then got Victor Martinez to pop out to shortstop. Mark Lowe came on and fanned Jhonny (can't spell) Peralta. Considering the go-ahead run was on first with none out, the M's are very fortunate to still be tied. That was some excellent relief pitching. I'd like to jump on the bash-John McLaren bandwagon for leaving Silva in there to start the eighth, but I can't. I had just mentioned to Dave Andriessen of the Seattle PI, sitting next to me, that he was at 92 pitches to start the inning and that was fine. Even after the leadoff walk, I'd have left him out there to try to get the groundball double play against one more hitter. McLaren did it and it didn't work. Happens.
5:55 p.m.: By the way, I don't want to freak any of you out, but the lineup for tonight's Tacoma Rainiers game has neither Wladimir Balentien, nor Jeff Clement in it. Balentien is telling folks down there -- yes, we have a writer at the game, we're everywhere you want to be, along with the Visa Check Card -- that it's because the team doesn't want him playing on his previously-injured knee three dats in a row. One thing to keep in mind about this whole service time thing. The team could always send Balentien and Clement back down to the minors for 10 days at any point before 2011 and the service time thing would become a non-factor. So, I know we made a lot out of it this morning and teams usually won't send good major league performers back to the minors, but that's another way out of a mess if they bring both guys up right now. Frankly, the M's have still scored only two runs tonight, just one earned. The problems aren't solved.
But who ever dreamed this morning that Jose Vidro would force Fausto Carmona from the game? Indians wanted no part of Carmona-Vidro III. So, they brought in Masa Kobayashi, who apparently can not only eat tons of hot dogs, but can retire Vidro, which he did, on a flyball to right. What, it's not the same guy as on ESPN? Who knew? Still 2-1 in the seventh inning stretch.
5:44 p.m.: Carlos Silva survived a leadoff double by Grady Sizemore in the sixth. Retired David Dellucci on a lineout, Travis Hafner on a flyout to right, yielded an infield hit to Victor Martinez, then got Jhonny (can't spell) Peralta on a grounder to second.
I'll tell you what, though. The M's had better get some more runs up on the board. This is another of those games being dominated by a Seattle starter, with just two runs of support by the offense. Sound familliar? For all the success by Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson -- three hits by him now -- tonight, the rest of the offense has been just putrid. Vidro and Wilkerson have five of the team's eight hits. That won't do. Silva can't keep this going forever.
5:28 p.m.: They may need to put out an Amber Alert on Jose Vidro, because whoever that is at DH just notched his second double of the game, driving in Jose Lopez to put Seattle ahead 2-1 in the fifth inning. That's the second two-out double of the night for Vidro, so he's doing it under full pressure (I didn't say he's "clutch'' so calm down). Richie Sexson promptly struck out to strand two more runners. That's seven left on base by him tonight.
Carlos Silva retired the side in order again in the bottom of the frame. He's really rolling now. He's retired 10 in a row and 14 of 15. Not a bad pickup.
5:10 p.m.: Somebody must have thrown some Wheaties into Brad Wilkerson's pre-game meal. Wilkerson just made a fine, leaping catch at the warning track to pull in a flyball by Asdrubal Cabrera. So, Carlos Silva has retired seven in a row and 11 of 12. Still 1-1 after four. Kenji Johjima hit into yet another double-play in the top of the inning after Wilkerson had notched his second single of the night. I kid you not. He's on fire, man.
4:54 p.m.: Jose Vidro, playing for his life right now, just stroked an opposite field double down the line in left to drive in the tying run. Seattle rallied with two out in that third inning, as Raul Ibanez reached base on a fielding error by Asdrubal Cabrera (we all know who he is by now) and a single by Adrian Beltre, followed by the rare double from Vidro. Richie Sexson grounded out again to end the inning. That's five runners left on base by Sexson. Carlos Silva retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, so a 1-1 game after three.
4:45 p.m.: Brad Wilkerson led off the inning with a single that reached the outfield, a line drive to right. But then Kenji Johjima grounded into a double play. Never seen him do that, how about you? Yuniesky Betancourt then grounded out. Carlos Silva got the side in the bottom of the inning, giving up a two-out single to Franklin Gutierrrez, but recording a lineout to third on Andy Marte after that. Silva has thrown a manageable 32 pitches so far. Still 1-0 Cleveland. Gametime temperature was 47 degreess. Lots of clouds have moved in and it's starting to spit rain. Hmm. Two teams that can't hit, lots of cold, wet weather. Looks like we're betting the under tonight.
4:26 p.m. Mariners already trail 1-0 after Carlos Silva yielded back-to-back doubles to Grady Sizemore and David Dellucci to lead off the game. Silva escaped further trouble with a runner on third and one out by getting Jhonny (can't spell) Peralta to ground into a double play. Seattle loaded the bases with two out against Fausto Carmona in the first, but Richie Sexson grounded out. No silly, the M's didn't actually hit the ball (well, Ichiro led off with a single, but you're all used to that). Adrian Beltre and Jose Vidro drew a pair of two out walks before Sexson rapped a ball to first baseman Casey Blake for the unassisted out.
The lineups (I've included batting averages just to spell things out on the M's side):
51 Ichiro CF .257
4 Jose Lopez 2B .314
28 Raul Ibanez LF .300
29 Adrian Beltre 3B .293
3 Jose Vidro DH .195
44 Richie Sexson 1B .207
6 Brad Wilkerson RF .189
2 Kenji Johjima C .197
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS .298
52 Carlos Silva RHP
24 Grady Sizemore CF .266
20 David Dellucci LF .268
48 Travis Hafner DH .219
41 Victor Martinez C .365
2 Jhonny Peralta SS ..247
13 Asdrubal Cabrera 2B .219
1 Casey Blake 1B .224
38 Franklin Gutierrez RF .241
15 Andy Marte 3B .111
55 Fausto Carmona RHP