Mariners Insider Blog

Game No. 43 - the Unit pays a visit

During a mid-90s trip to Cleveland, I ran into Randy Johnson one morning in a mall - and the Big Unit was weaing a suit and tie.

Surprised, I asked him why he was dressed so well.

"You never know when you might meet the future Mrs. Unit," Randy replied.

Ah, those were the days. The days when, for instance, he was speaking to me. We had a lot of conversations early on, more than a few laughs.

Now, he's back, not as an Astro or Diamondback, a Yankee or a Diamondback again, but as a Giant. And he's looking for career win No. 299.

It's Randy vs. Jason Vargas, and we're off.

That was quick

Aaron Rowland hit the fourth pitch of the game into the San Francisco bullpen, and Vargas may be hopelessly behind.

One run? The Mariners have scored once in their last 18 innings.

Mr. Johnson has a lead.

In the first: Giants 1, Mariners 0

We have a pitching duel

Johnson isn't blazing tonight - he's topped out at 92 mph, so far - but he's throwing a slider the Mariners aren't hitting hard.

The surprise may be Vargas, something of a junk-balling lefty, who has five strikeouts through three innings.

Neither of these teams scores much, and so far scoring has been held to one first-inning swing.

In the third: Giants 1, Mariners 0

The Streak lives

A fifth-inning error allowed Franklin Gutierrez to reach base, and then Icihro Suzuki go a hit only Ichiro can get.

Topping a ball in front of the plate, Ichiro legged out his 16th infield single of the season and extended his hitting streak to 16 games.

Two on, one out and Adrian Beltre up? Johnson got a ground ball force out from Beltre, and with runners at the corners struck out Mike Sweeney.

The Mariners may never score again.

After five: Giants 1, Mariners 0

Good Lord! It's a Mariners rally

Don Wakamatsu isn't afraid of risks, and the one he took in sixth inning changed this game.

With two on, one out and a 3-2 count on Jose Lopez, the Mariners manager sent his runners - and Lopez delivered a ground ball that pushed home Seattle's first run since the first inning of Wednesday's game.

A bloop single by Yuniesky Betancourt loaded the bases, and Johnson was lifted for a reliever.

Feel good moment of the night? As Randy walked off the mound, he doffed his cap and saluted the 38,520 fans at Safeco Field - and they roared back appreciation.

Reliever Brandon Medders struck out Gutierrez. Ichiro - batting .219 with runners in scoring position this season - grounded into a force.

The Unit won't lose, but he won't get No. 299 tonight.

After six: Mariners 1, Giants 1

And another Mariners rally!

Adrian Beltre singled to open the seventh inning, and when Fred Lewis let the ball get by, Beltre wound up at second base.

He struck out for the third time.

Vargas, who has gone seven marvelous innings, is done for the night. Like Johnson, he won't win or lose.

For now, it's Mark Lowe's game.

And in the ninth ...

With the score tied, Ichiro grounded out, but Beltre blooped a single into left field - his second hit of the night - to bring up Sweeney.

Sweeney legged out an infield single, getting Beltre to second base, and Endy Chavez ran for Sweeney.

Balentien grounded to first, pushing both runners up a base, and the Giants promply walked Branyan intentionally.

Ken Griffey Jr., batting for Johjima, got a standing ovation for moving into the on-deck circle - and no one sat down when he walked to the plae.

On a 2-1 pitch, Junior flied to the warning track in right-center field.

Extra innings game No. 5.

After nine: Mariners 1, Giants 1

And in the 11th ...

The pitching has been fabulous tonight, and the bullpens have dominated, but there seems a real chance neither the Giants or Mariners will ever score again.

Send food.

After 11: Mariners 1, Giants 1

And in the end

Beltre opened the 12th inning with a walk, and fans began sacrificing mice in the outfield seats and chanting in the upper deck.

Rob Johnson walked to load 'em up with no one out, and women in the stands promised to name their next child after whoever produced an RBI.

Final: Mariners 2, Giants 1