Mariners Insider Blog

GAME UPDATES: Angels vs. Mariners, April 15th.

I'm way behind on doing my notebook for the paper and up here by myself, so game updates won't be quite as thorough as last night.

Top of first

Jarrod Washburn works an easy 1-2-3 first inning.

Bottom of first

Ichiro Suzuki was greeted warmly by fans at Safeco in his first at-bat of the season. But he lines out meekly to shortstoop. Endy Chavez continues to hit, slapping a single to center. Junior gets another strong ovation but grounds softly to first. The Angels can't turn the double play, but get out of the inning on a groundout by Adrian Beltre.

Top of 2

Wash has another 1-2-3 inning with Torii Hunter hitting a ball semi-hard.

Bottom of 2

Kenji Johjima with a single, but not much else as Yuni looks bad in a strike out.

Top of 3

Another 1-2-3 for Wash -- I'm not saying anything else.

Bottom of 3

Franklin Gutierrez leads off with a walk, but later gets thrown out trying to steal second. Ichiro lines a single for hit No. 3,084. And Endy Chavez follows with a walk to give the Mariners runners first and second with one out. But Junior struck out and then Beltre grounded weekly back to the pitcher.

Top of 4

Washburn another 1-2-3 inning, and while I haven't said anything, columnist Dave Boling said the words no hitter and the Everett Herald's Kirby Arnold said the words "perfect game." Not that I thought either was a possibility.

Bottom of 4

In the category of things you don't see every day, Russell Branyan hits a towering pop up to center and Torii Hunter had no idea where the ball was. He lost it in the sky. This is a guy that played in the metrodome where it happens all the time, and it rarely happened. The ball dropped about six feet in front of him and Branyan got a double. And since Yuni can sacrifice, so can his buddy Jose Lopez, who dropped down one to move Branyan to third.

The small ball paid off as Joh singled up the middle past a very angry Jered Weaver. But Joh seemed to injure something on the play. After a check with the trainers he stayed in the game. Yuni follows with a double down the line and Joh really looked strained. Wakamatsu went to Rob Johnson as a pinch runner -- Big ups for Montana!!

Johnson is then thrown out at home on Franklin Gutierrez grounder to third. For a moment I thought Johnson and Jeff Mathis may have a collision, but Mathis seemed smart to side step Johnson and tag him from the side --- apparently he knows you don't mess with Butte guys.

Ichiro flies out end the inning. Still, Mariners lead 1-0.

Top of 5

Well, the no-hitter and perfect game are gone as Vlad singles up the middle. And then the shutout is gone as Torii Hunter lost another ball in center- actually left-center as he absolutely crushes a belt high 3-1 fastball right over the plate deep into the night.

Ummm, interesting attempt by Russell Branyan to catch Juan Rivera's pop up in foul territory. It proves costly as Rivera doubles to left center. But Branyan comes back with a nice dig on Adrian Beltre's tough backhanded stab and throw to get Jeff Mathis. Washburn gets out with any further damage by fielding Erick Aybar's soft grounder and tagging out the speedster.

Angels lead 2-1

Bottom of 5

Endy Chavez hit his first homer as a Mariner to right, but that was kind of overshadowed when that Griffey guy just belted his home run and Safeco since his return. And this place went absolutely insane. I even had some goosebumps. Griffey pointed to his family in his private box after rounding the bases. It was his 400th career homer as a Mariner. Much props to the fans at Safeco, who refused to stop cheering until he gave them a curtain call, which he did and the place erupted again.

The inning ends as Beltre pops out, Russell Branyan's hard liner to left is gloved and Lopez taps out to the pitcher.

Top of 6

Washburn continues to pitch well. He went 1-2-3 in the sixth.

To answer your question Snydro --- it appears that Rob Johnson will be starting tomorrow. Kenji Johjima has tightness in his right hamstring according to the Mariners and will be reevaluated tomorrow. I imagine Jeff Clement has just been pulled out of the lineup in the Rainiers game as a precaution.

Bottom of 6

Rob Johnson (MONTANA!!!) doubles to right-center showing some good hustle with a head first slide to beat Torii Hunter's throw. He had to take a few moments because he dove headfirst and it meant landing hard on his protective cup. It's not a fun feeling - I know from experience. Erick Aybar was laughing at shortstop, knowing what happened.

Yuni shows some hitting presence, driving a single to the right side. With runners on first and third, the Mariners bunted Franklin Gutierrez. It wasn't a straight suicide squeez as Johnson didn't leave immediately. But he did leave after Weaver fielded the ball. He would have probably been out at home, but Weaver dropped the ball in his attempt to throw home and everyone was safe on the play.

The Angels brought in Kevin Jepsen to replace Jered Weaver, who kind of looked like his brother Jeff at times. OK, well not that bad.

Ichiro's soft grounder up the middle was turned into a 4-3 double play as Howie Kendrick made a nice play. It was pretty close at first and manager Don Wakamatsu went out to have a chat with first base ump Marty Foster. I didn't see the replays on the inhouse screens, so I couldn't tell. But the inning ends with Endy Chavez's soft grounder.

Top of 7

The Mariners bring in Miguel Batista and he promptly gives up a double down the line to Hunter, he then strikes out pinch hitter Kendry Morales, but the ball was away from where Johnson was set up and it gets by him so Morales reaches first on a passed ball. Batista then gives up an RBI single through the right side to Juan Rivera. There were quite a few boos from the crowd of 18,513. There were some cheers when Wakamatsu came out of the dugout to talk to Batista and more cheers when Wak signaled to the bullpen for Shawn Kelley. Batista left the field to some heavy boos from the fans.

With runners on first and second, Jeff Mathis lays down a sac bunt to move the runners up. We're playing some National League ball here - no waiting around for the three-run jackshot. Kelley strikes out Aybar on a pitch in the dirt- kind of a scary moment when Johnson delivers a low throw to first, but Branyan makes the play. Kelley then blows a 96 mph fastball by Chone Figgins to end the inning.

If I were Wak, and I know I'm not, but any time I had the urge to go to Batista, I would go to Kelley. I hope that's the case from now on.

Bottom of 7

Kevin Jepsen throws hard, but not many are strikes. He gives up a single to Junior and then walks Beltre and Branyan. Jose Lopez then smokes a pitch to center. Torii Henry retreats and makes the catch, but all three runners tag up and advance. The Mariners go up 5-3.

The Angels then bring in Jason Bulger to replace Jepsen.

And my fellow Montanan (yes, I'm going to keep mentioning that), Rob Johnson, comes up clutch with the bases loaded ripping a single up the middle driving in two runs. The inning is still alive as Yuni singles. Both runners move up on a wild pitch from Bulger, and then Bulger walks Gutierrez to bring up Ichiro. And he hits a GRAND SLAM! on a 3-2 pitch, deep to right. This place is insane right now. The homer ties him with Isao Horimoto and the Mariners are up 11-3.

That's all for Bulger, Scioscia brings in Justin Speier. But it doesn't matter, this game is done.

Top of 8

Franklin Gutierrez's defense is ridiculous, just think we watched Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Reed and Wlad Balentien play the bulk of the innings at centerfield last season.


I'm going to roll back to T-town and provide some post game stuff later.