It's no secret that two months in, the list of Mariners hitters doing more than expected is two players long - Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Branyan.
So tonight, manager Don Wakamatsu has stacked those two atopalign="right"/> his latest lineup, hoping to get his best on-base men, well, on base.
After that, who knows? What has hurt the team all season has been the lack of production dint eh third and fourth spots in the lineup.
Why isn't Branyan hitting cleanup?
"I'm old school. I hadn't earned the right to bat cleanup in the big leagues," Branyan said. "Guys like Adrian Beltre, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Sweeney – they've proven what they can do. I flopped around for years. I've got to earn the right.
"I just didn't feel right there, and I told Don that."
Tonight, it's David Hernandez vs. Erik Bedard - and not even a 2.48 ERA will help if the Mariners forget to score again.
The streak livesIchiro grounded to shortstop and beat the throw to first - one of his specialities - and now has a club-record 26-game hitting streak in progress.
New No. 2 Branyan singled.
That got the game to the heart of the order. Adrian Beltre popped out to first. Ken Griffey Jr. struck out on three pitches. Jose Lopez doubled off the glove of left field Nolan Reimold, scoring both runners - Branyan from first.
Yes, the ball should have been caught. Think the Mariners care?After one: Mariners 2, Orioles 0
And one more runBeltre opened the third inning with a single, took third on a Lopez double and scored on Yuniesky Betancourt's RBI ground ball.
Hey, it's one more run than they got all Monday.After three: Mariners 3, Orioles 0
Bedard being Bedard
There are scouts watching every pitch, including one from the Phillies, and Bedard is looking like the kind of guy any team could use.
The fastball is crisp tonight, but the curve? Just try hitting it square. Four innings in, he's allowed two hits - and after Adam Jones doubled and Nick Markakis walked, Bedard got the next three hitters.
Go ahead, make an offer.
Signs of life!
Beltre singled to start the fifth inning and Griffey doubled to the wall in center field. Lopez grounded to short, and while Junior had to hold, Beltre scored.After five: Mariners 4, Orioles 0
Beltre likes it
The new lineup seems to have invigorated Mr. Beltre, who came up in the sixth inning with two outs, Ichiro at second and Branyan at first.Beltre's third hit drove in Ichiro, and though Branyan was out at third, the Mariners could certainly use Beltre's bat in June.
After six: Mariners 5, Orioles 0
That old century mark
Bedard got to 100 pitches looking good, then allowed a single and two one-out walks, leaving the bases loaded for Sean White.
White got a ground ball out - one run scoring - then fielded a comebackeer from Brian Roberts.Sweet job of relief by White, who saved Bedard's ERA, and just maybe his win.
In the seventh: Mariners 5, Orioles 1
It's a win in the booksHome runs by Griffey and Branyan.
Doubles eveywhere and marvelous pitching.
For a night, this new lineup looked like the stuff of genius, and the Mariners are 25-28.