Jarrod Washburn is warming up, getting ready to test an ailing left knee against an Oakland team that he has a 8-15 lifetime record against.
Seattle will try to give him, like, runs tonight, so the team has scrambled its lineup once more.
One of the keys could be DH Mike Sweeney, batting cleanup. Although his season numbers – .232, 2 home runs, 9 RBI – aren’t good, Sweeney is batting .524 against the Athletics in 2009.
Some of that may be familiarity: Sweeney spent last season with Oakland. But in his long career, Sweeney’s had 334 at-bats against Oakland, and batted .299 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI.
The Mariners, of course, are in a scoring funk. In their last 21 games, the team is batting .148 with runners in scoring position.
Tonight, Washburn’s success rate must change and his team must score for him.
Not too much to ask …
Seattle, we have a lead!
Mike Sweeney’s one-out, opposite field double scored Yunieskey Betancourt.
Russell Branyan singled Adrian Beltre home, but Sweeney – no, he’s no longer a great baserunner – fell between third and home and had to reteat to third.
With the chance for a big inning, Jose Lopez grounded into a double play.
Still, a lead is a lead.
In the first, Mariners 2, Athletics 0
Making Washburn work
The lefty got out of the first inning with the bases loaded, but Washburn needed 28 pitches to get the fist three outs.
Oakland hitters are showing patience, and Washburn isn’t getting quick outs. Nor is he showing great command.
What he’s doing is hanging in there with what he does have, and after two innings that’s a 2-0 lead. It’s only taken 45 pitches to get six outs.
And here’s Junior
Sweeney has left the game with back spasms – the third time this year that ailment has put him on the bench – and Ken Griffey Jr. is now the DH.
He came to bat with Beltre at second base and two outs, and grounded weakly to second.
In the third: Mariners 2, Athletics 0
Let the zeroes roll
Washburn has settled in and is pitching an effective if not quite dominant game through five innings.
The fifth inning was his first 1-2-3 inning, but Washburn has kept the Athletics off the board. He’s probably got another inning in him, as his pitch count creeps toward 100.
The Mariners are going to be tentative with his knee – and their record with a lead after six innings (14-4) gives them hope.
After five: Mariners 2, Athletic 0
Rob Johnson led off the seventh with a ground ball double down the third base line, and manager Don Wakamatsu wasted no time asking Franklin Gutierrez to lay a bunt down.
One out, man on third base? Ichiro lined an RBI single to left – extending his hitting streak to 20 consecutive games.
Looks like Miguel Batista will pitch the seventh.
He’ll do so with a 3-0 lead.
Oops as in Batista
The veteran righty got one out, gave up a single and then inexplicably walked the ninth-place hitter in the Oakland lineup.
That pushed Rajai Davis into scoring position, and Orlando Cabrera singled him home – making Mark Lowe scramble to get loose in the bullpen.
Batista then loaded the bases by walking Kurt Suzuki to get to the heart of the batting order. Goodnight, Miguel. Hello, Mr. Lowe.
Lowe got one out, then walked in a run. Jason Giambi singled up the middle for two more, and the Athletics had the lead, 4-3.
Bad inning for the bullpen.
After seven: Athletics 4, Mariners 3
That’s going to leave a mark
Not all losses are equal, and this one hurt more than most, because Seattle got a lead to their bullpen – one of the strengths of the team.
No matter. Oakland is now in position to sweep Seattle – and catch the Mariners in the standings tomorrow.
The final: Athletics 4, Mariners 3