The New York Yankees are the scourge of baseball, unless of course you're willing to concede they may also be the best team in the majors again this season.
Their record suggests they are. As the defending World Series champs, they're entitled to a little swagger
Well, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia and - aarghh! - Alex Rodriguez are at Safeco Field and prepared to do more damage to the Seattle Mariners 34-50 won-loss record.
Standing in their way tonight is Jason Vargas, who precedes Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez in this four-game series. What Vargas will need tonight is runs - something the Mariners struggle with and Yankee left-hander Andy Pettitte is stingy about.
Yes, A-Rod was booed during introductions. Now, let's see if Mariners fans have anything to cheer about.
- Derek Jeter was safe on Josh Wilson's fielding error, and new All-Star Nick Swisher singled him to second base. Mark Texeira grounded into a double play. Alex Rodriguez flied out. Nice job getting out of a potentially disastrous situation for Vargas.
- Ichiro legged out an infield single, then was thrown out at third base when Chone Figgins singled into left field. Franklin Gutierrrez forced Figgins. Russell Branyan popped out.
- First time up, A-Rod had a runner at third and two outs. In the third inning, he came up with two on base and two out - and Vargas popped him up. In the third inning: No score.
- Yankees get after Vargas again in the fourth, when Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson singled with one out. Brett Gardner struck out. Ramio Pena popped out on Vargas' 60th pitch. Still no score.
- Two outs in the fifth inning, A-Rod up - again with a man in scoring position. Vargas has been living dangerously for five innings, allowing seven hits and no runs. On pitch No. 73, Rodriguez flied out. In the fifth: No score.
- Josh Wilson leads off the sixth with a single, Seattle's first hit since he first inning. Michael Saunders squared to bunt, then swung away and singled, Wilson taking second. Ichiro bunted, and when Pettitte threw wildly past first base, Wilson scored, Saunders went to third and Ichiro to second. It was scored a single and an E-1. With one out, Gutierrez was intentionally walked. Branyan struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Jose Lopez struck out on three pitches. In the sixth: Seattle 1, New York 0.
- Mr. Vargas has thrown seven shutout innings against the Yankees, using 99 pitches to get the first 21 outs. New York has had runners on base every ininng, but Vargas has pitched out of each jam. The Mariners bullpen is now stirring.
- Vargas takes the mound for the eighth inning - and walked A-Rod on four pitches and Robinson Cano singled. That was it, manager Don Wakamatsu lifted Vargas after 105 pithes. Now pitching Brian Sweeney. A-Rod took third on a wild pitch, Cano remained at first. Posada grounded into a double play, Rodriguez scoring. In the eighth: Seattle 1, New York 1.
- Ninth inning. David Aardsma in to pitch. A one-out walk to Jeter was followed by Swisher's fourth hit, a double that put Jeter at third base. Texeira popped out. To thunderous boos, that brouht up A-Rod. Rodriguez grounded a single into right field, Jeter and Swisher both scoring, with Rodriguez taking third base on Ichiro's throwing error. In the ninth: New York 3, Seattle 1.
- Bottom of the ninth. Mariano Rivera. It's a final: New York 3, Seattle 1.