Ichiro Suzuki opened the Seattle Mariners 35th game of the year with a double, took second on a ground ball – small ball, anyone – and then scored on a Franklin Gutierrez home run.
That’s four home runs in their last 10 innings for a team that had only 13 in its previous 33 games.
The power surge hasn’t produced a win yet, and Tampa is a mortal 9-6 at home compared to 15.4 on the road, so maybe this is the place to face them. In Seattle last week, the Mariners were swept away.
Most surprising event of the night so far? Mike Sweeney singled, moved when Jose Lopez walked and then – yikes! – stole third base. Casey Kotchman grounded into a double play.
Still, that was Sweeney’s first stolen base since Aug. 29, 2006.
Tonight, it’s Doug Fister vs. Wade Davis. And the Mariners lead 2-0 before Mr. Fister throws a pitch.
- Fister has now thrown two innings worth of pitches and allowed one hit, a two-out single. The Mariners had a chance to add to their lead in the second – Adam Moore doubled with one out, but neither Michael Saunders nor Ichiro could move him from second base. After two innings: Seattle 2, Tampa Bay 0.
- Reid Brignac doubled with one out and took third base on a Saunders throwing error – then scored when Fister stumbled trying to deliver a pitch and was called for a balk. After three: Seattle 2, Tampa Bay 1.
- Ben Zobrist singled, Evan Longoria walked and pitching coach Rick Adair paid Fister a visit on the mound. Carlos Pena flied out. B.J. Upton grounded into a double play. Good coaching – great pitching.
- Manager Don Wakamatsu was saying this afternoon the every day job of regular catcher remained wide open. Moore, who doubled in the second inning, homered leading off the fifth. Seattle 3, Tampa Bay 1.
- Two-out walk to Brignac, then a single to Jason Bartlett put runners at first and third, and forced Fister to throw a lot more pitches. On his 91st, he walked Carl Crawford to load the bases. On his 93rd, Zobrist flied out. After five: Seattle 3, Tampa Bay 1.
- Gutierrez walked, and with one out took second on a wild pitch – and third base when catcher John Jaso threw he all into center field. Lopez struck out looking. Kotchman was intentionally walked. Josh-not-Jack Wilson popped out. That’s a ‘gimme’ run left on base.
- Fister is gone afer five innings and 93 pitches. Now pitching for Seattle: Kanekoa Texeira. He struck out the side in the sixth.
- Ichiro legged out an infield single – his 12th of the season – and now has six consecutive multiple-hit games. He’s had 19 streaks of five multi-hit games or more, including a career-high seven-gamer last year. Chone Figgins doubled Ichiro to third. Gutierrez struck out. In the seventh: Seattle 3, Tampa Bay 1.
- Mike Sweeney homered for the second game in a row, and Seattle now has six home runs in its las 17 innings. In the eighth: Seattle 4, Tampa Bay 1.
- Shawn Kelley on in relief of Texeira, who pitched two scoreless innings. Crawford beat out an infield single. With one out, Longoria homered – his ninth. In the eighth: Seattle 4, Tampa Bay 3.
- Ichiro singled off the pitchers glove, his 13th infield hit of the year and third in two games, then took second base on a wild pitch. Figgins and Gutierrez struck out looking. To the bottom of the ninth – and David Aardsma time.