Ichiro Suzuki likely has had this game circled on his calendar since he heard that Vincente Padilla was starting for Texas.
For good reason.
Ichiro has a career batting average of .526 against Padilla in 38 lifetime at-bats – his highest average against any pitcher he’s ever faced more than once.
Similarly, that .526 average is the highest by any hitter against Padilla, who has thrown every combination of pitches to Ichiro that he has.
So Ichiro is fully capable of starting rallies tonight, and the Mariners could certainly use a few.
They get Russell Branyan back in the lineup for the first time – batting third! – and have Ken Griffey Jr. batting fifth.
Yes, it’s Don Wakamatsu’s 88th different lineup of the season. Jason Vargas vs. Padilla.
Ichiro popped out on the first pitch he saw, but the inning got better.
The Mariners have what they never had Thursday: A lead.
Texas got a couple of hits and a walk to load the bases with one out, but Vargas limited the damage to a Taylor Teagarten sacrifice fly.
Against the Rangers, the key to victory is avoiding the big inning. So far, so good.
After three: Mariners 2, Rangers 1
Ah, they do love a good home run here, and every Ranger can hit ‘em.
Vargas left a pitch away a little up, and Taylor Teagarten – batting .189 – hit it out to right center field.
Omar Vizquel and Michael Young singled and Marlon Byrd homered, his 11th. Now that’s a big inning.
After five: Rangers 5, Mariners 2
Mariners … thunder?
No, the Mariners lack that particular weapon, so they relied upon singles in the sixth inning.
With two outs and no one on, Branyan, Lopez and Griffey each singled, with Junior picking up his 30th RBI.
In the sixth: Rangers 5, Mariners 3
When cows fly!
Rain, lightning and wind strong enough to blow a bovine over the house – we have a delay in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Nasty weather. Nasty!
Play ball – again!
Game set to resume a few minutes down here in Texas.
Sean White is warming up and will be pitching to Michael Young in the bottom of the seventh when we restart.
Rangers 5, Mariners 3
Scrappy little Mariners
A two hour, 18-minute rain delay? So what?
Gutierrez singled with one out and, with two outs, Lopez singled – his third hit of the night – to push home his 57th RBI of the season.
That brought on reliever C.J. Wilson to face Junior, lefty vs. lefty. Wilson won.
It’s a final: Rangers 5, Mariners 4