Ichiro just singled to open the game, extending his hitting streak to 23 consecutive games – the second longest of his career.
Now, the question is which Felix Hernandez shows up on the mound. Will it be the man who has won five games and had six marvelous starts this season?
Or will it be the other Felix, the one who’s allowed five runs in a game twice – and six runs in a game three times?
And it needs to give him three runs or more if it expects him to win.
OK, the streak lives, and Yuniesky Betancourt bunted Ichiro to second base. When Matt Palmero threw a wild pitch, Ichiro took third base – and then Palmer hit Adrian with a pitch.
All Ichi, All the time
First and third, one out. Ken Griffey Jr. grounded into a double play. Inning over.
Pitching is king
Felix and Matt Palmer matched zeroes through the first two innings, but Palmer clearly is concerned about Seattle’s running game.
Endy Chavez opened the third inning with a single, and Palmer threw to first four times before getting Franklin Gutierrez to fly out.
Up came Betancourt. The Angels tried a pitch out, but Chavez wasn’t running. Palmer threw to first again – for the eighth time in the inning – before Yuni grounded out.
A one-out inside fastball hit Torii Hunter, and Kendry Morales singled him to third base.
It takes two!
Trouble? Not really. For the second inning in a row, Hernandez got a ground ball – this time from Maicer Izturis – and his infield turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Palmer hasn’t allowed a runner in scoring position since Ichiro in the first inning.
Duel in the clouds
Felix has already used three double plays to keep Los Angeles off the scoreboard.
Now, someone needs to score – and one run just might do it.
After six innings: No score.
Good night, Mr. Hernandez
Erick Aybar’s double pushed home the only run of the game, but if Felix loses it will because of the error that preceded that two-base hit.
Izturis hit a sharp grounder at first baseman Branyan, who had it hop off his glove and into right field.
Aboard on that error, Izturis scored when Aybar hit the 107th pitch of the night from Hernandez to the wall in center field.
Mark Lowe finished the inning, and Hernandez cannot win this game. He shouldn’t lose it, but that’s not up to him.
It’s up to a Seattle offense that has four singles all night.
The Mariners are down to one more shot – in the ninth inning.
In the eighth: Angels 1, Mariners 0
That won’t help
Brandon Morrow pitching the ninth, gives up a one-out single to Vladimir Guerrero on a pitch a few inches off the ground, then a single up the middle to Torii Hunter.
Gutierrez throws wildly to third base, allowing Hunter to get to second – and the Mariners intentionally walked Kendry Morales.
Izturis grounds to second, one run scoring.
Gary Matthews Jr. singled home a second run, then was caught rounding first base too far.
Now it’s the ninth, and Brian Fuentes is trotting in for the save opportunity.
After eight: Angels 3, Mariners 0
One swing = three runs
Down to one out in the ninth, with Beltre and Branyan aboard on singles, Lopez hit his fifth home run of the season.
Coming off former Mariner Fuentes, it’s given Seattle a dramatic shot at winning this game – if the Mariners can survive the bottom of the ninth inning.
Now pitching: Miguel Batista.
In the ninth: Mariners 3, Angels 3
And in the 10th
Wladimir Balentien doubled down the third base line and as everyone in the ball park expected, Gutierrez bunted him to third base.
The Angels walked Ichiro intentionally to get to Betancourt with the infield in.
Yuni flied to shallow left field, but Balentien just did slide under the tag at the plate. The Angels appealed – but umpire Paul Emmel insisted Balentien had not left early.
David Aardsma is warmed and ready. Three outs, and the Mariners have won this series and have a chance to sweep tomorrow.
In the 10th: Mariners 4, Angels 3
Aardsma saves it, Batista wins it and the Mariners (24-26) and one game behind the Angels (24-24) in the AL West.
Final score: Mariners 4, Angels 3