Fresh from a bad-ball series in Texas, the Mariners run into yet another team playing well tonight - the San Diego Padres (35-25).
Jack Zduriencik flew in to invite his team to begin playing good baseball, and do it today, and at least he picked a game in which the Mariners have a legitimate pitcher on the mound.
Jason Vargas has won four games, and could easily have three more. If the Mariners score tonight, he might win No. 5 - but with Seattle, that's always an 'if.'
Chone Figgins is back at No. 2 in the lineup, Casey Kotchman is back at first base and Eliezar Alfonzo is catching. With no designated hitter, Milton Bradley is in left field.
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It wouldn't help if someone on this team got hot. Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-15 in Texas and the Seattle offense never did get unpacked.
New city, new series. It's Vargas vs. Kevin Correia.
- Ichiro, having clearly read this blog, said '1-for-15 this' and singled up the middle. On a hit-and-run, Figgins popped out. Franklin Gutierrez struck out. Jose Lopez grounded out. Oh, well.
- Vargas allowed a leadoff single to David Eckstein, struck out the next man and then got a double-play ground ball from Adrian Gonzalez. In his lineup, you have to be tempted to walk Gonzo every time he comes up.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. singled and Tony Gwynn - the younger, not the elder - tripled him home. With one out, Eckstein singled Gwynn home. Gonzalez was safe on a Figgins error with two out, and Scott Hairston walked. Vargas got out of it, but the error cost him 11 pitches - all under duress. In the third: San Diego 2, Seattle 0.
- A one-out walk, a Gwynn double and the Padres at men at second and third base. Correia struck out. Eckstein struck out. Vargas has thrown 78 pitches in four innings.
- Alfonzo doubled and Vargas bunted him to third. Ichiro grounded out, Alfonzo scoring. Figgins was hit by a pitch. Gutierrez tripled, Figgins scoring. In the fifth: Seattle 2, San Diego 2.
- Mr. Bradley has left the building, hitting his fourth home run on a full count pitch. Josh-not-Jack Wilson singled - his third hit tonight. Kotchman flied out - his third fly out tonight. In the sixth: Seattle 3, San Diego 2.
- Shawn Kelley in to pitch the seventh. Vargas went six innings, threw 101 pitches, allowed two runs, walked two and struck out five. He hands over a one-run lead.
- Bradley singled with one out, his third hit of the night, stole second - No. 7, if you're counting - and took third on Hundley's throwing error. Wilson and Kotchman grounded out. Manager Don Wakamatsu appeared to be saying 'Argh!'.
- Brandon League in to pitch the eighth inning.
- Since three runs is all it appears the Mariners can produce tonight, it's now up to closer David Aardsma to make them stand up for Seattle's 24th win. He's in to pitch the ninth.
- Pinch-hitter Max Venable led off with a single and was sacrificed to second base. On a 2-2 pitch, Aardsma hit Headly. Gonzalez doubled home the tying run. Hairston walked. Hundley flied out, Headley scoring. It's a final: San Diego 4, Seattle 3.