Thursday, June 17, 2010

MARINERS: Close win in St. Louis improves Vargas to 5-2

In a rare act of strong team play, the Mariners managed to hold onto a low lead and secure a 2-1 win for Jason Vargas. The St. Louis Cardinals had little in response to strong pitching, losing the last game of the 3-game series in St. Louis.

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Vargas pitched 7.2 innings of 1-run, 5-hit baseball, increasing his record to a Mariners-leading 5-2. Brandon League came in to finish the 8th inning for Vargas, and quickly got the final out of the inning on a strike out. David Aardsma came in for the 9th inning, giving up one hit and getting a strike out.

While the pitching was solid, the hitting still proved lackluster. A 4th inning run off an impressive Jaime Garcia came from a Ryan Langerhans fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. In what seems to be regular Mariners fashion this season, the M's quickly relinquished the lead half an inning later when Vargas gave up his one run, a sacrifice fly by Ryan Ludwick to score Albert Pujols.

The Mariners quickly turned around to respond. In the 5th, Michael Saunders singled to right center, and then advanced to second on a ground out by Vargas. After an Ichiro strike out, Chone Figgins struck a single to center to score the eventual winning run.

The Mariners have a much-needed off day tomorrow before starting a home series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Mariners send Cliff Lee (4-3, 2.88 ERA) to the mound to face Johnny Cueto (6-1, 4.50 ERA) in what could be an impressive pitching duel.

Reach M. Wend at