Late Home Run Lifts Mariners Past Rangers
Yet another unlikely hero emerged for the Seattle Mariners tonight, this time coming in the form of catcher Rob Johnson. After botching a bunt attempt with a runner on first base and nobody out in the eighth, the bunt was called off and he was told to swing away. He proceeded to take an 0-2 hanging Kevin Millwood slider over the left field wall, giving the Mariners a 3-1 lead.
New Acquisition Jack Hannahan followed with a double, and scored two batters later on an Ichiro RBI single. Hannahan looked good today. His only hit was the double, but he saw a lot of pitches, and made a couple nice plays at third base. The Mariners only other run came on a mammoth Russell Branyan home run in the third.
Jarrod Washburn checked in with yet another solid start tonight, working seven innings of one run ball against a scary Texas lineup. He got a good amount of help from his defense though, and did allow his fair share of deep fly balls. Fortunately, he was able to work out of several jams, and he handed the ball off to the bullpen with the team in good shape.
Mark Lowe pitched a smooth eighth inning, and David Aardsma pitched a fairly quick ninth to earn his 19th save of the season. The only hit he allowed was a two out Marlon Byrd double.
One of the biggest plays of night, perhaps, was made by Franklin Gutierrez in the top of the seventh inning. With a runner on first base and nobody out, Nelson Cruz blooped one into shallow center field. Marlon Byrd, who had been running on the pitch, thought the ball was going to be caught (thanks to a nice Gutierrez deke), and turned around to head back to first. The ball dropped in front of Gutierrez, and in a heads up play, forced Byrd out at second base.
If Franklin hadn’t made that play, there would have been runners on first and second base with nobody out, in a 1-1 game. Who knows how things would have turned out? We may not have won the game.
Other news and game notes:
-Ichiro’s hit streak is now at: 10 games.
-Rob Johnson’s home run in the eighth inning was only the second of his career, the other coming in September of last season.
-We now stand 3.5 games back of the Rangers, and 4 back of the Angels. Winning tomorrow would put this team in pretty good shape heading into the all-star break. We’ll be sending Erik Bedard to the hill against Dustin Nippert.
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