Jason Vargas didn't expect to lead the Seattle Mariners in victories in June, but he does and for the right reasons - he's pitched well all year.
Now 4-2 with a 2.93, it's Vargas - not Felix Hernandez of Cliff Lee, with the first chance to win No. 5. And if does, the Mariners can salvage one game in this three-game series with the Angels.
So far, the Mariners have been out-scored 18-3, so Vargas has it work laid out - hold Los Angeles and hope Seattle can post a few runs. That hasn't been easy.
Aside from Ichiro, who has a nine-game hitting streak, the Mariners have been hot-and-cold up and down their lineup. Catcher Eliezar Alfonzo brings a .429 average into the game, in limited playing time, and other than that only Ichiro is above .300.
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Five Mariners in the starting lineup are hitting below .240. Good luck, Mr. Vargas.
It's Vargas vs. Seattle alumni Joel Pineiro.
- Yikes! Erick Aybar doubled on the first pitch of the game. Vargas struck Howie Kendrick out looking. Bobby Abreu flied out, but Torii Hunter got the run home with an opposite-field double that hit th right-field foul line. In the first: Los Angeles 1, Seattle 0.
- Ichiro walked and Chone Figgins bunted safely for a single. Franklin Gutierrez struck out. Jose Lopez singled Ichiro home, but Figgins was thrown out at third base. Milton Bradley doubled Lopez home from first base. Josh-not-Jack Wilson tripled Bradley home. In the first: Seattle 3, Los Angeles 1.
- Ichiro extended his hitting steak t0 10 consecutive gameds, but was stranded at first. After the inning was over, Figgins and then Don Wakamatsu were ejected for arguing with the umpires.
- Mike Napoli singled and Rob Quinlan's two-out double. In the fourth inning: Seattle 3, Los Angeles 2.
- Casey Kotchman and Alfonzo singled with one out and, with two outs and runners on second and third base, Ichiro was intentionally walked. Matt Tuiasosopo - playing for Figgins - struck out.
- With two outs, Hideki Matsui homered on the first pitch from Vargas, tying the game. In the fifth: Seattle 3, Los Angeles 3.
- Gutierrez doubled and Lopez grounded out, getting him to third base with one out. Then what? Bradley rolled back to the pitcher, Wilson flied out. Rally over, go ahead-run stranded at third base.
- No. 9 hitter Quinlan singled with twoout and Aybar singled him to third base. Howie Kendrick grounded to Lopez, who threw the ball away for an error, Quinlan scoring. In the sixth: Los Angeles 4, Seattle 3.
- Saunders walked with two outs and scored when Ichiro doubled. After six: Seattle 4, Los Angeles 4.
- Now pitching for Seattle in the seventh: Shawn Kelley. Matsui singled with one out and Mike Napoli homered, his ninth. Kevin Frandsen singled, Quinlan doubled and Garrett Olson replaced Kelley. In the seventh: Los Angeles 6, Seattle 4.
- Wilson doubled and with two outs, Saunders walked. Ichiro grounded out. After eight: Los Angeles 6, Seattle 4.
- David Aardsma in to mop up. Napoli singled. Rivera doubled him home. Aybar singled with two outs, scoring Rivera. Luke French replaced Aardsma. Kendrick tripled home a run. In the ninth: Los Angeles 9, Seattle 4.
- In the ninth? Those scrappy little Mariners got a single from Tuiasosopo - their 11th hit today! - but Gutierrez forced him at second. Lopez singled. Bradley struck out. Wilson grounded out. It's a final: Los Angeles 9, Seattle 4.