Thursday, June 3, 2010

MARINERS: Live Game Log of M's 4-1 win over Minnesota

By Jacson Bevens

The M's won their third game in a row Thursday night against the Twins 4-1. The win improves the Mariners' overall record to 22-31 as they make small strides back to the .500 mark. Here we provide you with a live time-log as the game progressed.

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Minnesota Twins (31-22) at Seattle Mariners (21-31)

Starting Pitchers
Carl Pavano (5-5, 3.99) vs. Felix Hernandez (2-4, 3.50)

7:20pm -- Sorry, I’m late to the game. Was out on the porch smoking a cigar and the sky is doing that sun-after-the-rain thing right before sunset and I lost track of time. Also, I was BS’ing with Kyle and Nate.

7:21 -- It’s 1-0 Twins, and the internet tells me that’s because Justin Morneau drove in Joe Mauer with a single in the top of the first. If those two were playing together in New York, LA, or Boston, we’d all think we were seeing the reincarnations of Mantle and Mays, just at different positions. Instead, we have two of the most potent hitters in baseball playing in relative obscurity in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

7:25 -- Ichiro has walked, been bunted to second by Chone Figgins, and stolen third on a strikeout by Franklin Gutierrez. Jose Lopez, who is batting cleanup because, I don‘t know, he‘s been hot lately? hits a weak ground ball to shortstop to end the inning.

7:26 -- Two days ago I told my buddy Brad that the M’s were going to start a three-game winning streak. They’re two-thirds of the way there.

7:28 -- Felix strikes out Jason Kubel to start the second. FSN shows a clip of Armando Galarraga bringing out the lineup card to a weeping Jim Joyce before the Tigers game today. Weird. Quick aside on something that everyone has offered their two cents on already: both Joyce and Galarraga handled what happened yesterday with terrific class, but hopefully this means we never have to see something like this again. With any luck, Major League Baseball will pull their head out of their past and realize that in the 21st century, accuracy is way more important than tradition or some romantic notion of “human error” as part of the game. Instant replay now, please.

7:32 -- Some kid on the Twins just beat out a dribbler to get his first Major League hit. Congrats, I suppose, but that guy will hit a lot of balls a lot better than that that will be outs. Still, he has more Major League hits than I do, so…

7:35 -- Casey Kotchman just set a Major League record: most consecutive chances without an error. I wonder if any fans will keep their ticket stubs because of that.
“Grandpa, what’s this?”
“Well, Bobby, that’s the ticket from June 3rd, 2010.”
“Wow! The game that Casey Kotchman set the record?!?”
“You bet.”
“Can I hold it?”
“Go ahead, kiddo.”
“I love you, Grandpa!”

7:38 -- Rob Johnson sucks.

7:41 -- Felix walks Denard Span. I wonder how hard it is to grow up with a first name like Denard. I guess he was probably always one of the most athletic people in school, so at least he had that going for him. Maybe he went by Denny until he was a big leaguer.

7:45 -- Felix is fighting himself on the mound. You can always tell how he’s feeling about his control by how long he takes between pitches. He’s doing a lot of pacing and hat-adjusting tonight. By the way, I don’t think there’s a single player in baseball, besides maybe Pujols, that would improve the Mariners as significantly as Joe Mauer would. If talent could be measured on camera film, he would be the photo-negative of our catcher.

7:52 -- Saunders hits a ground rule double to right to lead off the bottom of the 3rd. A fan makes an unathletic attempt to reach over the rail to snag the ball after it bounces over the fence and then yells demonstratively as though he got robbed. For the rest of his life, that ball will be “the one that got away.”

7:54 -- Mauer must hate catching Pavano. Saunders just recorded the Mariners’ third steal in as many innings, and they’ll all go on Mauer’s ledger, but he hasn’t had a reasonable chance at getting any of them. Ichiro picks a ball off the dirt and lines it into right field for an RBI. 1-1.

7:59 -- Ichiro gets the fourth steal of the game by sliding between the legs of the second baseman covering. I wonder if the M’s are just trying to get as creative as possible with their steals. “Hey guys, I bet I can get one by somersaulting down to second.”

8:00 -- Ichiro steals third. No throw. Joe Mauer is going to strangle Carl Pavano.

8:02 -- Jose Lopez hits a homerun to the exact same seat in Safeco’s left field stands that he’s hit every homerun ever. 4-1 Mariners.

8:16 -- It’s still 4-1 and some stuff has happened, none of it very interesting, and I found myself wondering if Jeff Sullivan (of has ever been offered a professional writing gig, or if he’d even want it. Either way, he’s the best internet writer I’ve ever read. His “My Griffey Story” post will be the most singular tribute you’ll read.

8:20 -- In the bottom of the fourth, Ichiro hit a ball 397 feet further than Rob Johnson did, and got one fewer hit than RJ. Don’t ever let someone tell you that batting average is the best way to evaluate a hitter.

8:38 -- Felix strikes out Mauer on a high fastball. This is how you pitch with a three-run lead. Attack the hitters, knowing that even if they square one up, it’s not going to cost you the game. Even the world’s best hitters will fail most of the time.

8:46 -- I’ll say this: Pavano’s mustache means business.

8:49 -- My understanding is that we have Mike Sweeney to thank for the best Mariners nickname of my lifetime. Josh Wilson as “the Paperboy” is more fitting than any other moniker I’ve known in 20 years as a fan.

8:54 -- Felix has settled into a serious groove. He’s not taking much time between pitches anymore. Also, I know that we’ve all had the Niehaus-Fairly-Rizzs experience for a long time, but Dave Sims and Mike Blowers are developing some pretty enjoyable chemistry in the booth. When those other guys are gone, we’re going to have a nice combo stepping in to fill the void.

8:59 -- Michael Saunders made a diving catch to end the top of the seventh. Now he’s leading off the bottom of the seventh. Announcers always say that when a player makes a great defensive play to end one inning and leads off the next one, he seems to get a hit. Let’s see how that theory plays out.

9:01 -- Michael Saunders strikes out.

9:10 -- Felix is dealing! He’s in the 8th and he just struck out the top two guys in the Twins’ lineup. He’s hulking up!

9:13 -- Rob Johnson sucks so much. Felix just struck out Mauer for what should have been the end of the inning, but for the six-thousandth time this season, Johnson can’t catch, or even stop the ball and Mauer reaches first as Johnson hustles after the ball that’s at the backstop. Gotta love the hustle!

9:16 -- Felix is so freaking awesome. He just struck out Morneau, his 4th(!) strikeout of the inning, on his 116th pitch. The Span-Tolbert-Mauer-Morneau quartet is among the toughest four-hitter stretch to strike out in baseball and Felix did it all in the 8th inning. Suck it, Rob.

9:25 -- Poor Casey Kotchman. It just looks like he’s going up there guessing. Or maybe that every pitch looks the same coming out of the pitcher’s hands and he can’t recognize the spin until the pitch is right next to him. Fortunately, his defense does a little to mitigate his offensive struggles. Still 4-1 Mariners, heading to the 9th.

9:29 -- Hang on for Seattle’s scariest and least favorite thrill ride, the David Aardsma Express! Take a ride on his chest-high fastball and wait with baited breath to see if you end up as a strikeout or a homerun!

9:32 -- A slick 6-4-3 double play end it and the Mariners have a three-game winning streak, and it has come against one of the better teams in baseball. 22-31 baby!

9:35 -- Few things in a Mariners broadcast are as entertaining as Jose Lopez answering questions. I love how he doesn’t even seem to try to understand the entire question, but rather picks out a couple of words he recognizes and answers what he assumes to be the question posed to him.

9:37 -- Bill Kreuger is the Rob Johnson of analysts.

Three wins in a row
Two and oh after Griffey
Happy Felix Day!

Reach Jacson Bevens at