One inning, game over - and the Seattle Mariners are a .500 team again, mediocre despite the fact they're technically contending in the goofy American League West.
They ran into a first-inning disaster of their own making against the Los Angeles Angels, who forced Doug Fister to get five outs, scored four times and then won the game, 4-0.
That last shouldn’t be a surprise. Fister began the night with the lowest run support of any pitcher in the AL And then he was shut out. He gets 2.19 runs per game.
Matched against Angels ace Jered Weaver - 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA - Fister got a big zero this time out. How good was Weaver?
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“I went 0-for-4, I would have gone 0-for-20,” Adam Kennedy said. “He has deception, command and three or four great pitches. He was at his best tonight.”
If Weaver was on, the Mariners were not - especially in the first inning.
After Erick Aybar opened with a double, Torii Hunter singled sharply into left field, where Mike Carp was playing. Aybar turned third and headed home, and Carp’s throw was online – but cut off by third baseman Chone Figgins.
Behind Figgins, catcher Miguel Olivo jumped in frustration, clearly thinking he’d had a play.
Figgins cut the ball of and threw to first base, behind Hunter, catching the Angels right fielder in a rundown. Except the Mariners didn’t catch Hunter, who scampered around a bit and wound up safely back at first.
After a walk, Fister got Vernon Wells to ground hard to third base. Figgins corralled the ball, but did so jumping backwards. That delayed his throw to second, where Kennedy tried to hurry his relay to first and pulled Justin Smoak off first.
The double play missed, the inning went on, the Angels kept pushing and when Peter Bourjos lined a ball down the third base line that replays showed was foul, umpire Chad Fairfield ruled it fair and it was 4-0.
“Doug struggled and we struggled in that first inning,” manager Eric Wedge. “We didn’t back him up, but he dug deep the next six innings. That’s as well as he’s pitched all season. If we get the job done defensively, he might have allowed one run in the first inning.”