Since the All-Star break, the Seattle Mariners are 4-9, an umimpressive record against contending teams - Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.
It doesn't get any easier. Tonight, they face Mark Buehrle and the White Sox, get Freddy Garcia tomorrow and then open a three-game series in Minnesota.
With Jose Lopez sidelined with a knot in his hamstring, Russell Branyan will bat cleanup tonight, and in seven career at-bats against Buehrle, he owns a home run and a pair of RBI. Better yet for Seattle, Franklin Gutierrez is back from a one-day absence - and he's hit two home runs and battd .368 against Buehrle.
In 49 road games this season, Seattle has won 15 times.
- Ichiro led off the game with a single and Chone Figgins bunted for a hit. Gutierrez continued his ownership of Buehrle with an RBI single. With one out, Figgins and Branyan pulled off a double steal, Figgins scoring and Branyan taking third base on an error. Justin Smoak flied out, Branyan scoring. In the first: Seattle 3, Chicago 0.
- Jason Vargas walked leadoff hitter Juan Pierre, who came around to score on an Alex Rios single. In the first: Seattle 3, Chicago 1.
- Ichiro singled with two outs and Figgins homered, his first of the season. In the second: Seattle 5, Chicago 1.
- OK, it's going to be one of those games. Andruw Jones doubled with two outs and Gordon Beckham homered, his fifth. In the second: Seattle 5, Chicago 3.
- For the first time for either starter, Vargas retired the side in order in th third inning. Peace has been restored, at least briefly. After three: Seattle 5, Chicago 3.
- Buehrle is coming off back-to-back complete games for the White Sox, but it's hard to see him getting another tonight. The Mariners have been patient, and aside from their nine hits they've forced Buehrle to throw 98 pitches already. In the fifth: Seattle 5, Chicago 3.
- Shortstop Alexei Ramirez made a dazzling defensive play in the third inning, then hit a solo home run - his 11th of the season. Paul Konerko homered, his 24th. That was it for Vargas, who was replaced by Jamey Wright. In the fifth: Seattle 5, Chicago 5.
- Buehrle didn't come out for the sixth inning, replaced by reliever Sergio Santos.
- Matt Thornton came on with one out in the seventh, got a second out then allowed singleds to Justin Smoak and Josh Bard - and hit Josh-not-Jack Wilson with a pitch to load 'em up. Michael Saunders flied out. In the seventh: Seattle 5, Chicago 5.
- Pierre walked leading off the seventh and was bunted to second base. Brandon League replaced Wright. Alex Rios singled home Pierre. In the seventh: Chicago 6, Seattle 5.
- Bobby Jenks, returning to his role as closer, was hitting 99 on the U.S. Celluar Field radar gun. Against Gutierrez, Branyan and Smoak, that was plenty. It's a final: Chicago 6, Seattle 5.