That’s right, today’s all about winning, yes – but getting Felix Hernandez (2-4) going may be just as urgent.
The ace of the staff, a 19-game winner a year ago, has had some poor luck, some poor games and hasn’t really got a run going yet. If the Mariners are to seriously climb back into view in the American League West, he has to be a leading force.
Behind him today, Milton Bradley will be the DH, Matt Tuiasosopo the first baseman and Michael Saunders the left fielder.
It’s Felix vs. Jered Weaver.
- Ichiro walked and stole second base. With one out, Franklin Gutierrez walked, too. With Milton Bradley at the plate, the Mariners pulled a double steal to put runners at second and third base. Bradley struck out. Jose Lopez grounded. In the first: No score.
- Update: Torii Hunter left the game after the first inning, when he was hit on the top of the left hand by a Felix fastball. He’s been aken to a local hospital for precautionary x-rays. More when it becomes available.
- Chone Figgins singled with two outs and stole second base. Gutierrez drew his second walk, but Bradley struck out. Still, the Mariners have made Weaver throw 57 pitches in three innings. No score.
- Lopez singled and Tuiasosopo grounded to shortstop Erick Aybar. Aybar tried to beat Lopez to the bag at second and failed – then threw wildly into the Seattle dugout, a two-base error that pushed Lopez home and sent Tuiasosopo to second. Josh-not-Jack Wilson flied out, and Tuiasospo was tagged out after sliding past third base. In the fourth: Seattle 1, Los Angeles 0.
- OK, then. Felix has thrown five shutout innings, leads 1-0 and has qualified for the win. All the Mariners need is a) four more shutout innings or b) more runs.
- Something to ponder: In Chicago, Carlos Silva has already thrown seven scoreless innings, walked no one and struck out 11. Feel free to shake your head. If he wins – and he’s ahead, 4-0 – Silva’s record with the Cubs will be 7-0.
- Back in Anaheim, Mr. Weaver has worked seven innings, throw 116 pitches and allowed an unearned run. He’s almost certainly done for the day, and as it stands would lose this game. In the seventh: Seattle 1, Los Angeles 0.
- Felix, too, has completed seven innings. He’s thrown 95 pitches – which means he’ll be back for the eighth – and not allowed a run.
- Update on Torii Hunter: X-rays showed no fracture of his left hand. He’s day-to-day.
- The portion of the game all visiting teams fear: Rally Monkey Time! The little simian is jumping up and down on the giant video screen, the fans are howling. And – bang! – Abreu homers deep over the wall in center field to tie the game. The Curse of the Rally Monkey strikes again! Mr. Hernandez walked off the field slowly, talking to himself. After eight: Seattle 1, Los Angeles 1.
- How bad did Felix want this game? He’d thrown 106 pitches and is back on the mound for the ninth inning. He was pitching on an extra day of rest, which didn’t hurt, but his first five pitches were all changeups or breaking balls – he didn’t hit 90 mph – and he walked Hideki Matsui. That was it. Now pitching: Brandon League.
- Extra innings, tied at 1-1. Brian Fuentes pitching for Los Angeles.
- Bottom 10, League pitching. Maicer Izturis doubled to right-center field with one out, and Abreu was intentionally walked. Figgins bobbled a double play ball, loading the bases. Kendry Morales homered to center field. It’s a final: Los Angeles 5, Seattle 1.