Yes, after three months of hitting for power in the fifth spot in the lineup - then the second spot - Russell Branyan is batting third today.
Though he hasn't hit in the No. 3 or No. 4 slots, his production (46 RBI) ranks second on the team to Jose Lopez (48 RBI).
With the chance to win the series against Baltimore today, and with Mike Sweeney on the disabled list and Ken Griffey Jr. sitting with a tender knee, Branyan agreed to hit third.
It's been Branyan's personal preference not to hit in the heart of the order that's had manager Don Wakamatsu scrambling to find somewhere Branyan can do the most damage.
If anyone gets ejected or injured today, it could get interesting. The Mariners bench is Junior, catcher Rob Johnson and Josh Wilson, the infielder who never plays.
It's Jason Vargas vs. David Hernandez
Mariners long ball
Chris Woodward dropped a parachute single into short left field and, with two outs, Jose Lopez hit his 12th home run of the season.
It's just the fourth time all year Lopez has batted fourth, and the team has gone 0-3 in his first three stints there.
For now, he has the Mariners ahead.
After one: Mariners 2, Orioles 0
Not an easy day
Vargas has pitched into and out of trouble in each of his three innings, but it may catch up with him.
Through three innings, he's thrown 64 pitches, and that pace is not going to get him deep into the game.
The theory for manager Don Wakamatsu isn't just to count pitches, but to determine how much they're taking out of a pitcher. Vargas isn't laboring so much as having to work hard every inning to get out of a jam.
He needs a quick inning or two.
After three: Mariners 2, Orioles 0
Five and dive
Vargas is done, and no one in Safeco Field doubts it.
After walking the first man he faced, the lefty got a thank-you-thank-you double play on a hard hit ball off the mound that caromed right to Lopez at second.
The third batter of the ining, Aubrey Huff, hit a seed down to first base for another out, coming on Vargas' 97th pitch.
He qualifies to win if the bullpen can hang on the last four innings.
Miguel Batista now pitching.
After five: Mariners 2, Orioles 0
Oh, Miguel ...
Batista worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning, then seemed to lose interest in this game.
Catcher Gregg Zaun singled and Batista walked the No. 9 hitter, Robert Andino. Woodward then made a great stop on an Adam Jones ground ball, but bobbled it after the catch for an error - and the bases were loaded.
Goodbye, Mr. Batista. Hello, Garrett Olson.
Olson got a strikeout, then a double play and got out of the jam.
In the seventh: Mariners 2, Orioles 0
And in the ninth
Mariners added a run on an error, but this game got away thanks to some shoddy defense and an off-day by David Aardsma.
Mark Lowe and his 98 mph fastball - with pinpoint control - blew through the eighth inning.
Aardsma was asked to save the game and the shutout, but couldn't preserve either.
Aardsma gave up a leadoff double, walked Zaun and was touched for another single, by pinch-hitter Felix Pie, that loaded the bases for Adam Jones.
Jones beat out a 60-foot infield single, scoring Melvin Mora. Lopez bobbled a perfect double play ball for an error as another run scored.
Ty Wiggington singled up the middle for two runs and a Baltimore lead.
With no one out - still! - Sean White came in to relief Aardsma. He got a ground ball fielders choice, picked Aubrey Huff off first base and then gave up a run when Lopez threw low to first base.
The worst ninth inning of the season for Seattl, which allowed five hits, a walk and committed two errors in allowing five runs.
In the ninth: Orioles 5, Mariners 3
It's a final
The Mariners got one last passion play in the ninth, when Icihro singled with two outs to bring up pinch hitter Griffey.
On the first pitch, he grounded out.
Final score: Orioles 5, Mariners 3