On paper, this isn’t a game a Seattle Mariners fan wants to think about too much – a match between a staggering offense and the reigning Cy Young Award winner, Kansas City’s Zack Greinke.
The Mariners, however, have done their research.
“Twenty-three of the last 27 hits he’s allowed came in his first three pitches to a batter,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “So we want to make him work, but if we get a pitch early in the count, we’re going to be aggressive.
“When Greinke has been hurt, it’s been early in the count. We want to try to manufacture something early.”
Seattle will counter with Ian Snell. Oh, boy – let’s go.
- Round one to Greinke. Ichiro swung at the first pitch thrown and flied to the track in center, Chone Figgins struck out on five pitches and flied out to right on the seventh pitch he saw.
- Kansas City can play small-ball, too. David DeJesus singled and Scott Podsednik rolled a ball through the infield on a hit-and-run play, putting runners at first and third with no one out. Billy Butler walked to load ‘em up. Jose Guillen struck out. Alberto Callaspo popped out. Jason Kendall tapped back to the mound, on Snell’s 29th pitch. After one: No score.
- Alex Gordon doubled and moved to third on a ground ball. Yuniesky Betancourt took a called third strike. DeJesus grounded out. Snell apparently does not believe in easy innings. He’s thrown 41 pitches.
- Adam Moore led off the third inning with a double. With one out, Ichiro’s ground ball moved Moore to third. Figgins flied out. Both offenses are pressuring the starting pitchers – but neithe has broken through. Through three innings, Greinke has thrown 49 pitches.
- Snell opened the fourth by walking Kendall and wild-pitching him to second base. Gordon struck out. Mitch Maier tripled to right field, scoring Kendall. Snell stranded Maier at third. After four: Kansas City 1, Seattle 0.
- Butler singled with one out. With two outs, Callaspo tripled him home. Snell has thrown 91 pitches. After five: Kansas City 2, Seattle 0.
- Down two, the Mariners are trying to create something since nothing seems to have worked thus far. Ichiro singled, and on a hit-and-run, Figgins struck out and Ichiro – on a bad throw – was caught stealing. Say this about Seattle’s offense: They’ve made Greinke work. Through six innings, he’s thrown 97 pitches.
- Maier walked with one out as Snell threw his 101st pitch. Betancourt singled on his 104th, and that was that. Snell never had an easy inning, never put the Royals down in order, but kept his team in the game. Shawn Kelley in to pitch. In the sixth: Kansas City 2, Seattle 0.
- With one out in the seventh, Ken Griffey Jr. and Milton Bradley singled, pushng Greinke to 109 pitches. Kotchman forced Bradley, who was booed for breaking up a double play. As he got to the dugout, Bradley doffed his batting helmet. With his 119th pitch, Greinke got Moore on a fly ball. In the seventh: Kansas City 2, Seattle 0.
- Well, the Mariners made Greinke work hard – he’s gone after seven innings – but he can comfort himself with this. Against Seattle, he’s now thrown 29 consecutive scoreless innings. Yikes!
- Against Josh Rupe, Ichiro bunted for a hit with one out and Figgins walked. Gutierrez – who else! – singled Ichiro home for his 13th RBI. Robinson Tejada in to pitch. Lopez bounced an RBI double off Tejada’s glove, scoring Figgins. Junior walked to load ‘em up. Bruce Chen in to pitch. Bradley walked to force in Gutierrez. In the eighth: Seattle 3, Kansas City 2.
- Mark Lowe, hitting 99 mph on the stadium radar gun, retired the Royals in order – three fly balls to left field. After eight: Seattle 3, Kansas City 2.
- David Aardsma in for the ninth inning. Betancourt flied out. DeJesus singled. Podsednik grounded into a double play. It’s a final: Seattle 3, Kansas City 2.