I was late getting home today and then had a ton of other things to take care of, so didn’t manage to pay much attention to the game until the top of the 4th inning, and by that time, the Tigers already had one run in. Rick Porcello hadn’t managed to fling anyone into the dirt by their collar yet, so I figured the game was going alright other than the Ms not having a lead. Josh Wilson changed all that for a while with a homer in the 6th.
Porcello was taken off the mound in that inning by Tigers manager Jim Leyland after loading the bases by giving Ken Griffey Jr a walk, and replaced by Ryan Perry, who was replaced by Bobby Seay in the 8th. Perry didn’t mess around with us much, but Seay threw towards Ichiro’s head with what looked like an uncontrolled pitch. Ichiro repaid him by sending Josh Wilson to third on a double to right field with nobody out. Russell Branyan hit a nice high sac fly to right, and Wilson tagged and ran home. I think Josh Wilson really wants a job on a major league roster. He’s not Jack Wilson, but as a secondary Wilson, he does alright.
Griffey batted one to Curtis Granderson in center, and Ichiro tagged and ran in, score 3-1, two men out. Seay walked Franklin Gutierrez to get to Jack Hannahan, who constantly has an expression on his face as if he’s lost in a mall. Seay’s ploy didn’t work, as he pitched enough balls to give Hannahan a walk. I can’t really express how nice it is to finally have players who have good eyes and patience enough to not hack like a slasher film at everything that comes out of the pitcher’s hand. Seay had to face Rob Johnson, which normally I wouldn’t think anything of, but Seay didn’t seem comfortable with it; he took his time between the handful of pitches he threw at RJ, pacing the mound, double-checking the signs from catcher Alex Avila, and generally going at Batista Pace. Johnson wound up popping out anyway, but it was clear that we had shaken the big cats up a bit – at least until the next inning, where…
MARK LOWE IS STILL ON NOTICE, because…he gave up a solo home run to Alex Avila. He continued giving up hits until he had men on the corners and one out, with Carlos Guillen at the plate. Lowe walked Guillen to load the bases, his control severely lacking. The next ball he threw at Miguel Cabrera was swung on but missed; the next pitch was not missed, and flew over Lowe’s head into the middle outfield, scoring two runs. Don Wakamatsu somberly walked to the mound and took the ball from his reliever, calling Sean White in from the pen. As someone on Lookout Landing gamechat pointed out, Lowe is still a gladiator, it’s just that tonight, he came home on his shield.
There was some mess at the plate that wound up scoring a run (look away from the game sometimes, and you will miss important things), and White was finally able to get out of it. With our last three batters on the way and Fernando Rodney on the hill, there wasn’t much we could do. Ryan Langerhans got a base hit straight up the middle, and Josh Wilson hit out to short, sending Langerhans back to the dugout and himself to first. Ichiro sent one up the middle as well, and Wilson dug for third, getting his base standing up (again, that guy is really gunning for a job). Russell Branyan stepped up to the plate (just for the record, I disagree with him in the 2-hole), and with Rodney’s second pitch, Ichiro stole second with little issue. Branyan struck out swinging on a somewhat outside pitch of 99 MPH.
Jose Lopez was our last hope, he of the Excessively Lengthy At-Bats, and this last one was no exception – indeed, for a while, it looked like Rodney had absolutely lost control of his pitches; he started pitching down, outside, everywhere but where he needed to, and taking a lot of time doing so. The tracer showed what looked like confetti as Lopez fouled off another and another and another. The crowd was on its feet, and finally, severely, sadly, Lopez struck out swinging.
Somewhere in Detroit, Felix Hernandez silently cries himself to sleep, and here in Seattle, I wonder how many of the next 43 games will be ours to win. I plan to keep my promise – second place in the AL West for 2009, and I get a tattoo. It’s all up to you, Mariners.