Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
June 9, 2008 7:08 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
7:08 p.m.: Seattle has a chance to pull this one out, leading 3-2 after scoring on a suicide squeeze in the top of the tenth. Miguel Cairo got the bunt down in front of home plate to the left of catcher Rod Barajas and pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist raced home from third. Gutsy call by John McLaren. The way this game was going, though, it looked like nobody was ever going to score again. The key to the inning was erratic-looking Toronto reliever Jason Frasor walking Wladimir Balentien to load the bases with one out.
By the way Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th homer came off Wazzu's own Mark Hendrickson. A great guy, by the way. Hendrickson, that is. Got to meet him back in his Blue Jays days. Now, he's part of history. Along with getting jumped over by Michael Jordan for a slam dunk.
6:38 p.m.: Still tied 2-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Seattle just blew the first sacrifice bunt of Kenji Johjima's career in the top of the inning. It got pinch-runner Miguel Cairo to second with one out. But Yuniesky Betancourt -- having a whale of a night -- grounded out to the left side. Ichiro was walked intentionally and Jose Vidro grounded into a 6-4 fielder's choice.
6:23 p.m.: Well, that bottom of the seventh sure had everything, didn't it? Mark Lowe allows the first two runners to get on. Pop-gun hitter John McDonald is then brought in to pinch-hit for slugger Matt Stairs against Arthur Rhodes. McDonald can play "small ball'' and showed it by getting the bunt down towards third with two strikes in the count. Miguel Batista then came on -- yes, you read that right -- in relief to face Scott Rolen and blew him away with 94 mph heat. Looked like Batista back in his early days as a Toronto closer in 2005. The M's then made a controversial decision to pitch to Vernon Wells with first base open. They guessed right, though, as Batista got Wells to hit a chopper to Yuniesky Betancourt. But the backpedaling shortstop let the ball nearly eat him up in snagging it. He then made an offline throw that allowed the hard-running Wells to reach base. The tying run scored in what is now a 2-2 game in the eighth.
Wells was awarded a hit on the play, but the official scorers in Toronto tend to be terrible. That was an error all the way. Batista should have been out of the inning. Last eight M's in a row have been retired. They shopuld have scored when they had the chance.
R.A. Dickey is now on to pitch in the bottom of the eighth. We could be here a while.
5:44 p.m.: I dunno, the M's can't be feeling too good about this game, despite a 2-1 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth. Seattle has 10 hits, but only two runs. Jeremy Reed and Richie Sexson led off the sixth with singles, but Reed got picked off by catcher Rod Barajas. Kenji Johjima then grounded out to the shortstop and Yuniesky Betancourt bounced out to third. Yeesh.
5:24 p.m.: Toronto scored a run off Jarrod Washburn in the bottom of the fifth after the lefty yielded a two-out walk to Kevin Mench. Lyle Overbay then doubled to right field to score Mench all the way from first. Jeremy Reed did a good job of barehanding the ball and made a strong throw to cutoff man Richie Sexson. But Sexson then multi-hopped the throw home and Mench slid around Kenji Johjima's tag attempt. So, it's a 2-1 game as we head to the bottom of the fifth. Seattle has eight hits already, but only two runs to show for it -- both attained in the game's first two at-bats. Sounds like something we've seen before. I can sense Mount Elia getting seismic.
4:48 p.m.: The Mariners had a chance against Jesse Litsch in the second inning, putting two on with one out. Yuniesky Betancourt then flied out to center. Ichiro drew a walk to load the bases, but Jose Vidro -- suddenly looking like a DH -- hit a deep flyout to left.
Jarrod Washburn is through two innings, giving up a leadoff single in the first -- erased by a double-play grounder. Then, he yielded a double down the left field line by Kevin Mench. But Washburn escaped that with a groundout to Centralia's own Lyle Overbay.
Richie Sexson has a loud heckler here in Canada. "Hey, Richie! Your sister's in my trunk!'' yelled the male fan. That was seconds before Sexson sent a blast to the warning track iun center with two on in the third that was pulled in by Vernon Wells.
So, it's still a 2-0 game, Seattle ahead, as we go to the bottom of the third.
4:25 p.m.: This just in: the new hitting coach is a genius! Seriously, folks. Ichiro leads off with a single and then Jose Vidro hits a second deck shot for a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Something seems to happen to Vidro when he crosses the border. He actually hits.
By the way, congrats to Ken Griffey Jr. on hitting his 600th home run tonight. Lee Elia must be getting excited now.
51 Ichiro CF
3 Jose Vidro DH
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
4 Jose Lopez 2B
8 Jeremy Reed RF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
2 Kenji Johjima C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
56 Jarrod Washburn LHP
BLUE JAYS (33-32)
15 Alex Rios RF
24 Matt Stairs DH
33 Scott Rolen 3B
10 Vernon Wells CF
20 Rod Barajas C
36 Kevin Mench LF
17 Lyle Overbay 1B
19 Marco Scutaro 2B
11 David Eckstein SS
51 Jesse Litsch RHP