Adrian Beltre is home in Los Angeles, recuperatng from shoulder surgery, Chris Woodward is at thid base and the Seattle Mariners have all but cancelled the Wladimir Balentien-is-the-regular-left fielder experiement.
Ken Griffey Jr. is out there tonight, with Mike Sweeney the designated hitter.
With Endy Chavez on the disabled list, the Mariners brought in left-handed hitting Ryan Langerhans as a defensive replacement. Balentien’s future with the franchise is now behind him.
By next week, the Mariners might be using a new-look infielder of 1B Russell Branyan, 2B Yuniesky Betancourt, 3B Jose Lopez and SS Ronny Cedeno.
Tonight, it’s Brandon Morrow vs. Joba Chamberlain, and the Mariners are hoping their lineup and produce enough runs to give Morrow his third career win in ninth career start.
Morrow’s fastball on the hands has shattered two bats in the first inning, and one of those pitches became an out.
Johnny Damon pushed a ground ball double past first, holding a small piece of his bat as he began to run. And Mark Teixeira broke his bat in tapping back to the mound.
Oh, and Alex Rodriguez? Strike out, looking. A nice first inning for Morrow.
Oops and oops again
Beltre’s fill-in for the night, Woodward charged a slow roller toward third and bobbled it, allowing Hideki Matsui to reach base.
Worse, Woodward then threw past Russell Branyan at first – allowing the Yankees to score their first run.
They got a second run on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice fly, although the runner was on third only because of Woodward.
If the Mariners are going to win this one, they’ll have to come from behind. Both runs are unearned.
After two: Yankees 2, Mariners 0
Some unexpected help
Who’s the last Mariner you’d figure would hit a home run here? No. 9 hitter Cedeno – .133 average as he stood in – hit his third of the season to lead off the third inning.
Ichiro singled, extending his latest hitting streak to 12 consecutive games, then stole second base as Branyan struck out. Lopez walked.
Griffey flied out. Sweeney grounded out.
In the third: Yankees 2, Mariners 1
Yikes! A bad inning
In his three previous starts, Morrow always ran into at least one inning where he stumbled out of control.
Welcome to the fourth: a bloop single and two walks had Chris Jakubauskas warming up in the bullpen and Yankees fans leaning forward in their seats.
Nick Swishr popped up. Cabrera rolled out to first base, with Robinson Cano scoring. Jeter struck out.
Not much damage, but a lot of pitches thrown – all under stress.
Ichiro on the run
Ichiro beat out an infield roller, stole second base, stole third base, and scored on Branyan’s single.
That’s the kind of Mariner scoring that leaves opposing teams shaking their heads – and the kind Seattle must score to stay in games.
For the third time tonight, Griffey came up with at least one runner on base. As Junior worked the count, Branyan stole second base. Griffey patiently walked. Sweeney flied out.
Franklin Gutierrez broke his bat on an RBI single to tie the game, the ball falling into shallow right-center field.
In the fifth: Yankees 3, Mariners 3
Goodnight, Mr. Morrow
Another long inning, and this time Morrow couldn’t finish it, loading the bases with two outs and Hideki Matsui due up. After facing six men in the fourth inning, Morrow worked to five men in the fifth.
That was enough for Don Wakamatsu, who brought in Chris Jakubauskas.
Matsui grounded out.
More small ball
Kenji Johjima’s second hit, a single, opened the sixth inning and Cedeno promptly bunted him to second base.
That sent Chamberlain to the clubhouse and Phil Coke in from the bullpen, with Ichiro and Branyan given the chance to hurt New York.
In the sixth: Mariners 3, Yankees 3
Going, going, gone
A-Rod, the man Mariners fans most love to boo, hit a mammoth two-run home run in the seventh, the 565th of his performance-enhanced career.
How big do those two unearned runs in the second inning look now?
After seven: Yankees 5, Mariners 3
Who are these guys?
Playing in the House Next to the House That Ruth Built, the Yankees can’t quite figure these Mariners.
Down two, singles by Gutierrez, Woodward and Johjima cut that deficit in half, and Cedeno bunted – again.
The Yankees walked Ichiro intentionally to get to Branyan with the bases loaded and one out.
Mariano Rivera was warming, the Yanks were pondering win No. 44, and Branyan’s fly ball got Woodward home for the tie.
In the eighth: Mariners 5, Yankees 5
Watching it get away
With Sean White pitching, Matsui doubled, Swisher bunted for a hit and Cabrera doubled home the go ahead run – all in the span of five pitches.
Derek Jeter singled home two more, and if the Mariners are to come back again, it will be against the man with 500 saves, Rivera.
After eight: Yankees 8, Mariners 5
The rallies ended against Rivera, who made quick work of Seattle in the ninth inning to seal the win.
And in the end
For all the effortd, all the comebacks, the Mariners never got the hit that put them ahead.
The final: Yankees 8, Mariners 5