Russell the Muscle Saves the Day
Felix Day was looking bleak for the Mariners. The score was 1-0 Tigers after seven, and although King Felix had pitched very well, the Mariners had managed only two hits off of the mediocre Armando Galarraga.
The beginning of the eighth inning brought a little bit of hope, though, as Jack Hannahan lead off with a walk. Ronny Cedeno then grounded out weakly, moving the tying run into scoring position with only one out for Ichiro.
Ichiro bounced a 2-1 pitch from Bobby Seay to shortstop, and instead of staying put at second base like he should have, Jack Hannahan broke for third. Ramon Santiago made a heads up play and gunned him down, putting a huge damper on the Mariners rally. The Tigers were out of the frying pan and into the fire as it turned out, though, as Russell Branyan absolutely crushed a hanging Seay slider into the right center field bleachers, for a go ahead home run.
Mark Lowe and David Aardsma then proceeded to pitch 1-2-3 eighth’s and ninth’s, respectively. As Brandon Inge struck out on high heat to end the game, Dave Sims called out “Case Closed!” I really hope that sticks, I love it. Case closed by the DA.
Felix Hernandez pitched another really nice game, striking out eight while giving up only one run in seven innings of work. He got himself into trouble early, putting runners on first and third with nobody out, for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera popped one into foul territory in shallow right field, but Ichiro couldn’t handle it, and it bounced out of his glove. As it turns out, that was probably a blessing, because Curtis Granderson probably would have tagged up from third, giving the Tigers the lead, but Felix went on to strike out the next two batters and escape the jam.
The Mariners only mustered two hits in this whole game – one being the Branyan bomb, the other being a Ryan Langerhans single. It was a pretty sad display by our offense, but the one bright spot was the fact that we managed to draw 5 walks.
Other news and game notes:
-Ichiro’s hit streak is back at zero games
-Ryan Rowland-Smith will be starting on Friday against the Indians, Bedard should go on Saturday, and who will go on Sunday is still unclear – I’d think it’s going to be Vargas, though
-The Angels and Rangers still won’t lose a game, so we remain 5.5 games back. The Rangers finished off a sweep of the Red Sox tonight, and the Angels finished off a sweep of the Royals, coming back from a 6-2 deficit.
-There was a bit of a scare today, as Felix appeared to hurt his ankle on an infield single early in the game – he looked fine for the rest of the game, though, and as far as I know he’s alright.
-Jarrod Washburn will take the hill tomorrow, as we go for another series win.
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