Happy Labor Day! A handful of Oakland Athletics fans are in the Coliseum today to watch their team play the Seattle Mariners and boo Ichiro Suzuki, a player they have always disliked.
The feeling may be mutual - Ichiro's .333 career average has been built without help from the Oakland pitching staff. Against these Athletics, Ichiro's lifetime batting averagte is .268. Ichiro opens this series with a seven-game hitting streak, during which he's piled uup 13 hits.
Then there's Russell Branyan, who has homered in back-to-back games, in three of his last four games and has 13 in his first 48 games this season with Seattle. Need more? With 44 home runs in 164 games as a Mariner, Mr. Branyan has homered every 13.66 at-bats - the second highest rate in franchise history.
The immortal Ken Phelps was first (13.33) and Branyan has now bumped Ken Griffey Jr. (15.15) to third on the franchise list.
With Ichiro and Branyan hot, wouldn't you think Seattle could put more than three runs on the scoreboard? Well, they haven't in their past 10 games. And there's this: On Labor Day, the Mariners are 14-16. Wooo!
It's Jason Vargas vs. Brett Anderson.
- No, it's not a hit, but Ichiro is aboard on shortstop Cliff Pennington's error. Right fielder Matt Carson made a diving catch of a foul ball to retire Chone Figgins. Franklin Gutierrez struck out and Ichiro was caught stealing. In the first: No score.
- Leadoff hitter Coco Crisp hit the second pitch thrown to him for a home run, his seventh. Ichiro misplayed Daric Barton's fly ball for a triple. Kurt Suzuki grounded out, Barton scoring. Jack Cust walked and Mark Ellis was safe on an infield single. Rajai Davis popped out. Carson popped out. In the first: Oakland 2, Seattle 0.
- Carson led off the inning with his second home run. Steve Tolleson doubled and was bunted to third. Crisp singled home the run. In the fourth: Oakland 4, Seattle 0.
- Jack Cust doubled off the glove of Gutierrez, then took third on a fly ball. Brian Sweeney came in to pitch. Davis flied out, Cust scoring. In the fifth: Oakland, 5, Seattle 0.
- Ichiro singled with two outs, his 179th of the season with 24 games remaining after this one. Figgins struck out. Through six innings, Marinrs have two hits.
- Gutierrez homered leading off, his 11th. In the seventh: Oakland 5, Seattle 1.
- Oakland got that run back in their half of the inning. Barton singled, took second on a ground ball and scored on Cust's single. In the seventh: Oakland 6, Seattle 1.
- In the ninth, Figgins walked and Gutierrez doubled him to third. Andrew Bailey came on in relief. Branyan popped out, Lopez flied out, Figgins scoring. Kotchman struck out. It's a final: Oakland 6, Seattle 2.