When the Seattle Mariners traded for first baseman-designated hitter Russell Branyan, it was to put a bat in their lineup that at least had the possibility of hitting a home run.
After eight games out with back spasms, Branyan is back and batting third in the lineup, a .260 hitter with 13 home runs and 34 RBI. As a threat, there's no one in the Seattle batting order who's comparable.
Justin Smoak (10 home runs) and Michael Saunders (8 HR) may develop into run producers, but the Mariners don't have hitters another pitcher fears - let alone a flurry of them.
Ryan Rowland-Smith tries again to find the form that made him a promising young left-hander before going 1-9 this season with a 6.27 earned run average.
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- Ichiro is at it again, banging a ground ball off first baseman Paul Konerko and reaching base safely. Originallly ruled a hit, it's been changed to E-3. Chone Figgins flied out. Branyan singled Ichiro to third base. Jose Lopez grounded into a double play. Yikes!
- That pesky Juan Pierre singled and stole second base. Alexei Ramirez singled and - 12 pitches into the game - Rowland-Smith trailed, 1-0. Carlos Quentin walked, both runners moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a single by A.J. Pierzynski. Dayan Viciedo doubled home another run. In the first: Chicago 4, Seattle 0.
- Gordon Beckham doubled and with one out, Ramirez homered, his 10th. Oh, and for the Mariners, cleanup hitter Lopez is out of the game. With two outs, Paul Konerko homered, his 23rd. In the second: Chicago 7, Seattle 0.
- Update: Mr. Lopez left the game with a tight left hamstring. He's day-to-day.
- And, in the fifth, Andruw Jones added a three-run home run. Yikes! In the fifth: Chicago 11, Seattle 0.
- Brian Sweeney managed to hold the White Sox tethered to the earth, not that it mattered. It's going to be near impossible to spin something positive out of this for Rowland-Smith. Five innings, 11 hits, 11 runs? That's a week's worth of offense for Seattle.
- It's a final: Chicago 11, Seattle 0.