Why are these guys smiling? Well, two of them got free rides to first and the other hit an opposite field bomb (doesn't he always do this once a series) to help propel the Rangers to a 6-4 win.
Brandon Morrow was well Brandon Morrow. There were moments he would look great and others where he simply couldn't throw one in the zone even if it was worth $10,000,000 per strike. He goes 5 innings, gives up four runs, walks four guys, doesen't strikeout a batter and gives up two home runs. He now drops to 0-4 on the season and the team is 1-5 in his starts.
The worst of it came in the third inning when Morrow got two quick outs and then walked Omar Vizquel and Ian Kinsler and then served up the opposite-field homer to Michael Young.
"After I walked Vizquel, I just lost it against Kinsler," Morrow said.
It's something we've seen before, and it wasn't lost on manager Don Wakamatsu.
"We've seen it in different starts this year where he has a tendency to lose it for a little bit and we're trying to figure out what causes that," Wakamatsu said.
Morrow doesn't quite have an explanation or an immediate cure for it, but does have an idea.
"You have to slow it down for a second and get back to what you were doing when you were throwing strikes," Morrow said.
But apparently that easier said than done.
"The game plan was to get at him early," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Morrow "We know what type of fastball he has and we are a fastball-hitting team and when he threw something in the zone, we tried to get on him."
Realistically, the Mariners were still within striking distance at 4-2, but the absolute crush job of a two-run homer by Nelson Cruz - a 2009 home run derby participant - into the left field upper deck made things slightly more difficult.;
Seattle had chances in the late innings but couldn't capitalize, but Wakamatsu was concerned with the early innings.
"The big thing for me was we had Feldman with 24 pitches in the first inning and we allowed him to go 6 2/3 innings," Wakamatsu said. "Our strength is to put pressure on the opposing pitcher and get to their bullpen like anybody else."
Wakamatsu was happy with the 11 hits, but the Mariners didn't get the big hit, and they simply can't wait till late in games for the one big hit to rally them. It needs to be a progression, throughout the game. They get two early runs on Feldman but don't knock him out of the game. Basically, they are trying to score runs with a sure out every third inning, since Ronny Cedeno is barely hitting -- one hit tonight.
&bull Texas has now won 8 of 10 and 11 of 16…are 18-6 vs. AL West (21-22 vs. rest of AL)… remain a half game ahead of the L.A. Angels for the AL West lead.
&bull Scott Feldman pitched his 3rd consecutive quality start (10 in last 13)…lasted 6.2 innings and has now thrown 6 innings or more in 12 of last 13 starts…at 8-2, his .800 winning pct. ranks 4th in AL…despite allowing 7 hits, opponents are batting just .222 (72x325) against Feldman, 3rd-lowest mark among AL starters.
&bull Hank Blalock knocked in the 1st Texas run of the night with a 435 ft solo home run in the 2nd… has hit safely in 5 straight games (.429/9x21) and is batting .400 (14x35) with 4 HR, 2 doubles, and 8 RBI in last 9 games, raising his average from .237 to .260.
&bull Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 7 games with a 3-run HR in the 3rd… has hit safely in 12 of last 14 (.360/18x50)…later added a single, finishing 2x5 with a HR and 3 RBI…3rd in the AL with 34 multi-hit games…a career .455 hitter against the Mariners (15x33).
&bull Nelson Cruz was named to the All Star team on Friday and followed with a 2x3 performance including a 2-run home run in the 8th.
&bull Despite out-hitting the Rangers 11-9 as well as scoring 2 late-inning runs, the Mariners fell to the division-leading Rangers, moving to 4.5 games out of first place.
&bull Brandon Morrow allowed 4 runs in 5 innings of work, all of the runs coming as a result of the long ball…in his last 2 starts, all 7 runs have come via the home run, including 4 consecutive solo shots and one 3-run HR by Michael Young…Morrow, who is averaging 7.2 strikeouts per 9 innings (45 K, 46.0) failed to record a strikeout in a start for the first time in his career. Kept his pitch count low, tossing 74 pitches in 5.0 IP.
&bull Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 515th career double, passing Edgar Martinez for most career doubles, tying Joe Cronin for 38th on the all-time list…also had his 12th multi-hit game on the season (last: July 1 @NYY), finishing 3x4 with a double and 2 runs scored.
&bull After hitting the go-ahead home run in previous night's game, Franklin Gutierrez doubled in his first AB, scoring Ken Griffey Jr. from 1st base… also extended his career-high hitting streak to a career-high 13 games (.462/24x52)…has hit safely in 21 of his last 23 games, batting .389 (35x90) with 7 HR and 18 RBI…raised his batting average from .251 to .297 during the 23 game stretch.
&bull Ichiro extended hitting streak to 9 games with a lead-off single in the 1st …later added a double (18) and a stolen base (19)…now averaging a multi-hit game for every other game played (39 multi-hit games in 78 games).
&bull Kenji Johjima caught Nelson Cruz attempting to steal 2nd base in the 2nd inning…has now thrown out 5 of his last 9 runners and 8 of last 17…despite spending time on the DL and starting only 32 games, Johjima is tied for 4th in AL with 13 CCS…Johjima later added a 2-out, RBI double in the 8th to score Ken Griffey Jr.
&bull Russell Branyan snapped a 3 game hitless streak with an RBI double in the 1st, scoring Ichiro on the play…was his longest streak of games without a hit this season.
&bull Chris Shelton had his first career AB as a Mariner when he pinch hit for Chris Woodward in the 8th, resulting in a 5-3 PO to end the inning.