Back in March, this series seemed like a lot more fun that it appears to be now, when it comes down to two out-of-the-running teams whose offense seems to have ended 2010 prematurely.
The Los Angeles Angels are five games under .500, just traded away closer Brian Fuentes and haven't scored a run since Friday night. The Seattle Mariners are 28 games below .500, have scored twice since Friday and wouldn't mind trading a half dozen players today- but no one else wants them.
Thirteen-game winner Ervin Santana brings a 4.13 earned run average into the game, while David Pauley, who has won two major league games, comes in at 4.02.
Eventually, one of these teams is going to score. If that team racks up, say, three runs, the other team may concede. Neither team is going to have a 90-RBI hitter - and Ichiro might be the only .300-hitting regular on either squad.
And to think some dope had these two teams slotted first and second back in March. OK, I'm blushing ....
- Pauley works a 1-2-3 inning and the Angels now haven't scored since the Fourth of July.
- Ichiro singled - hit No. 166 - then stole second base with two outs. Jose Lopez lined out.
- Pauley worked around a one-out walk in the second inning, and the Angels now have not scored since June.
- Franklin Gutierrez doubled to left field with one out and was thrown out at third base trying to stretch it. Oops. After two: No score.
- Pauley hit Peter Bourjos with a pitch, and Bourjas stole second base with one out. Angels failed to move him, and now haven't scored since Easter.
- Ichiro singled with two outs in the third, his 167th of the season, then stole second - his 34th stolen base. Chone Figgins grounded out. After three: No score.
- Torii Hunter's one-out single in the fourth was the Angels first hit. Pauley got Hideki Matsui to ground into a double play. The last time Los Angeles scored: Valentine's Day.
- Russell Branyan hammered a ball off the right-center field wall on the fly, his 18th double of the year. Lopez struck out. Kotchman struck out. Gutierrez struck out. After four: No score.
- One on, one out for the Angels and Josh Wilson made a fabulous play at short, diving to stop a Jeff Mathis ground ball, then starting a double play by flipping the ball to Figgins with his glove while flat on the ground. ESPN highlight, baby! The Angels haven't scored since New Years Day.
- The Angels long nightmare has ended - 31 consecutive scoreless innings snapped by a Bourjos home run, his second. With two outs, Bobby Abreu homered, his 16th. The lead looks insurmountable. It is. Hunter singled and Matsui homered, his 17th. In the sixth: Los Angeles 4, Seattle 0.
- Jamie Wright pitching in relief for Seattle in the seventh inning.
- Oh, those scrappy little Mariners! Lopez was safe when his pop fly fell between two confused infielders and, with one out, Gutierrez singled. A wild pitched moved both runners up, and Lopez scored when Michael Saunders singled. Adam Moore's sacrifice fly got Gutierrez home. In the seventh: Los Angeles 4, Seattle 2.
- Asked to keep it close, Wright got one out in the eighth inning, then walked the bases loaded. Sean White came on in relief and, before his second pitch, balked home a run. In the eighth: Los Angeles 5 , Seattle 2.
- And in the ninth: Fernando Rodney pitching for Los Angeles. Kotchman walked. On a two-base error in center field, Kotchman went to third but Gutierrez - not looking up - was halfway to third when he realized the base was occupied. He was caught off second and tagged out - the second time he'd run into an out tonight. Saunders flied out. Rodney wild-pitched home a run. Moore flied out. It's a final: Los Angeles 5, Seattle 3.