It’s an absolutely gorgeous night at Safeco. Temps are in the low 60s, roof is open and the sun is shining. Some of you may be wondering why the M’s didn’t play a day game. Well, I was told that if an opposing team has to travel more than two time zones, it changes when you schedule a game. The Twins were in Minnesota last night for Sunday night baseball and had to leave after the game. And you know, flying on a chartered jet and staying in top of the line hotel in downtown Seattle is very taxing.
The M’s get Francisco Liriano, who has seemed to rejuvenate his career after bursting on the scene and then being sidetracked for almost two seasons with arm troubles. The Twins were considering starting Liriano in the bullpen this season, but they didn’t and he went 3-0 and allowed three runs in the entire month of April, earning AL pitcher of the month honors.
Fister needs just eight pitches to get through the inning. But I would suggest not leaving a changeup up in the zone again to Joe Mauer.
Liriano strikes out Chone Figgins. That is Figgins 47th punchout this season, tying him with Franklin Gutierrez for the most. Gutierrez however does not strike out, he rips a double off the wall in left. But he’s stranded as Liriano comes back and strikes out Milton Bradley looking on a pitch that Bradley thought was inside, but home plate umpire Dale Scott thought it was a strike. The batboy looked almost afraid to approach Milton.
The Twins get to Fister as Justin Morneau hits a laser of a double to right. After a strikeout of Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer singles up the middle to score Morneau. Fister then hangs a curveball to Delmon Young, who promptly deposited it in the visit0r’s bullpen for a two-run homer. Twins lead 3-0.
The Mariners get a pair of one out singles from Jose Lopez and Josh Wilson, but Liriano strikes out Rob Johnson and Matt Tuiaosospo, coaxing a few ugly swings from both of them.
Fister likes the top of the order, retiring the side in order for the second time in the game.
The M’s get on the board as Figgins gets a soft single and then later advances to third on Franklin Gutierrez’s single. Milton Bradley’s hard ground ball to short scores Figgins. But that’s all the Mariners get. Twins lead 3-1.
After getting two outs by getting Jim Thome to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, the wheels come off for Fister. He gives up a solo homer to Michael Cuddyer and then another one to Jason Kubel. Back to back homers and three for the game. Fister had given up just two all season.
Josh Wilson gets a one-out single, but a pair of fielders’ choices render it moot.
Again Fister gets through the top of the order unscathed. The Twins first three hitters are 0-for-9 against him.
The M’s are chipping away at the Liriano lead. Two singles to start the inning from Ichiro and Figgins result in two runs as Ichiro scores on a wild pitch and Figgins scores on Milton Bradley’s ground ball.
Fister goes 1-2-3, striking out Thome and Cuddyer.
The M’s also go 1-2-3 as well.
Fister retires the side, that’s 10 in a row since the rough patch.
The M’s go down 1-2-3.
Fister gives up a single, but it erased by JJ Hardy’s 6-4-3 double play. Wakamatsu brings in lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith to face Joe Mauer. RRS gets him to pop out to left.
Fister pitches 7 2/3 allowing five runs on eight hits with 6 strikeouts and no walks. Not a bad recovery.
The Twins go to Jesse Crain, who cuts through the M’s 1-2-3.
RRS gets into a spot of trouble giving up a double to Morneau — his 18th on the season (M’s doubles leaders is Ichiro with 9). And then a single to Thome. Wak calls on Brandon League, who gets three straight ground balls to get out of the inning.
The Ms make a late push as Lopez leads off with a single, and Wilson scores him with his third hit of the game. But Griffey grounds into a force at second and Kotchman hits a rocket to first that Morneau gloves, steps on first and then fires to second to get pinch runner Michael Saunders for a game ending double play.