Well the Alonzo Powell-era begins at Safeco Field today. And if anyone is expecting a change over night, you are mistaken.
There is a line my dad used to say about chickens and other stuff. But stealing a line from Dave Cameron instead, Powell is being asked to make lemonade out of some light-hitting lemons.
The M's get Ervin Santana today. And nobody, including Santana, knows what to expect in any given start. He has fantastic stuff and come and go command. Somedays, he'll look unhittable and other days he's unwatchable as he goes full count to every batter - think of Freddy Garcia when he was younger.
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Jason Vargas is the antithesis of Santana, simple and steady. He gives up a single to Abreu but erases it by getting Kendry Morales to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
Apparently a pitch belt high and three inches inside is a strike to Tom Hallion, today's home plate umpire, who rung up Chone Figgins on an awful called third strike.
Vargas a nice quiet 1-2-3.
Jose Lopez - he of the short strides - rips a ball down the line, and takes 1,324,355 steps to go from first to second, barely beating a throw from left field. With two outs, Josh Wilson singles sharply to center and Lopez the Little Strider is thrown at home by Reggie Willits -he of the lack of talent - to end the inning.
Vargas gives up a lead-off single to Brandon Wood, but he manages to work his way out.
A two-single from Ichiro - aren't they all these days - results in nothing as Figgins lines out hard to center to end the inning.
Another 1-2-3 inning for Vargas
I know you might not believe this if you weren't watching, but the Mariners scored four runs in the inning on back-to-back home runs from Josh Wilson and Michael Saunders. I know it seems like a typo but it isn't. Wilson ripped a three-run homer into left field and then Saunders followed with his first major league homer to right-center.
It's really kind of neat thing for Saunders. As I wrote about for today's paper, his mom, Jane, is batting cancer for the fourth time. She's here in the stands wearing a pink and black No. 20 Saunders jersey from Double A West Tenn.
Another 1-2-3 for Vargas.
The Mariners have turned into a run-scoring machine. Ichiro leads off with a single, steals second and then scores on Gutierrez's double to center. They could have gotten another run, but Guti was thrown out at home trying to score on Jose Lopez's single. Perhaps an ill-advised decision by third base coach Mike Brumley to send him.
Vargas gives up a two-out single, but nothing comes from it.
Josh Wilson triples to center. Leaving him just a double away from the cycle. Of course, two pitches later he was picked off at third base.
Vargas got himself into his first real trouble of the afternoon, walking Kendry Morales and then giving up a single to Juan Rivera, putting runners on the corners with no out. But he got Howie Kendrick to pop up to second, struck out Mike Napoli and got Brandon Wood to fly out to end the inning.
Apparently, Ervin Santana has lost control with his fastball or he doesn't like Franklin Gutierrez too much, with Ichiro already on second having singled and stole second for the third time in the game, Santana threw two under Guti's chin. He was replaced by Brian Stokes, who struck out Lopez to end the inning.
Vargas gets an out in the eighth, but then then walks Reggie Willits and is lifted for Brandon League. League strikes out Erick Aybar and then strikes out Kendry Morales. But the third strike was wild and went to the back stop. Catcher Adam Moore hesistates and then for some reason throws to first to try and get Morales. Willits was alert and raced home. League gets out of the inning striking out Juan Rivera.
Vargas' line: 7 1/3 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 run, no earned runs, 2 BB, 4 strikeouts.
The Mariners are a juggernaut --- well at least today. Michael Saunders and Adam Moore both come up with RBI singles and Franklin Gutierrez draws a bases loaded walk.
Shawn Kelley gives up a hit, but gets it done. The Mariners win, snapping an eight-game losing streak.