Over the course of their last three games, including that 14-inning victory over Chicago, the Seattle Mariners have scored one run in each.
Ryan Rowland-Smith is a confident Aussie, but even he would have to wonder if he and the Seattle bullpen can beat the New York Yankees, 1-0 - which means the Mariners offense must awaken.
Against lefty Andy Pettitte, manager Don Wakamatsu is starting five left-handed hitters - Ichiro, Ken Griffey Jr., Russell Branyan, Jack Hannahan and Michael Saunders.
It probably won't help that the Mariners starting lineup has hit 81 home runs this season - while New York's has hit 147, but Seattle hasn't won many of its 60 games on power.
No, the Mariners need Rowland-Smith to hold the Yankees in check get help from his defense and - who knows? - maybe a couple of runs from his offense.
That would be Seattle baseball. Yankee baseball? That was played last night - when New York won, 11-1.
It's Rowland-Smith vs. Pettitte.
Hey kids, a rally!
Rowland-Smith threw a 22-pitch first inning, and after shutting New York down has gotten more support than the last three Seattle starting pitchers.
Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez singled, Jose Lopez doubled home a run and Griffey got another home with a ground ball.
That's a lead, folks, and Rowland-Smith will retake the mound trying to make it hold up.After one: Mariners 2, Yankees 0
Jose gives one back
Lopez drove in his 67th RBI in the first, and just gave one back that won't show up in the box score.With runners at first and third base and one out, Rowland-Smith got a double play grounder to Jack Hannahan at third. Hannahan threw to Lopez for the force, but when Jose couldn't get the ball out of his glove, the Mariners didn't turn two - and the Yankees got a run.
In the second: Mariners 2, Yankees 1
Holding the line
Rowland-Smith is dealing, though he may be using too many cards.Through four innings, he's at 61 pitches, but the Yankees have only one run and shouldn't have that. He's pitching with confidence and authority - precisely the mound demeanor Ian Snell lacked 24 hours ago.
It's not always what you throw as how you throw it.
Rowland-Smith, so far, has attitude. That works.
Another gift-wrapped run
Two outs, runner on second and Derek Jeter rolls one toward the left side of the infield.Hannahan lunges for it, can't get, but then screens shortstop Josh Wilson, who has it go under his glove. Ruled a base hit, it pushes home the tying run.
That's two earned runs against Rowland-Smith, who should have a shutout.
In the fifth: Mariners 2, Yankees 2
A word on Mr. Pettitte
The veteran lefty has pitched a bend-but-don't-break six innings, worked out of trouble and struck out 10 men.He's also thrown 110 pitches. That's not unusual for Pettitte, who's thrown a high of 116 this season.
He's even through six. Nice job.
It's up to the bullpens
Pettitte went six. Rowland-Smith seven. Neither will get a decision.From here on out, it's in the hands of the bullpens.
Good as Pettitte was, Rowland-Smith was better - allowing three hits in seven innings, throwing 99 pitches.At the moment, it's Bruney for New York, Lowe for Seattle.
In the eighth: Mariners 2, Yankees 2
Ninth inning heroics
Great match up between Mark Lowe and Mark Teixeira and on the third pitch, Teixeira hit it out to right field to break the tie and put New York ahead.A squib double by Robinson Cano and a two-out single by Nick Swisher scored a second run and chased Lowe.
Mariano Rivera's 1-2-3 ninth inning saved it.It's a final: Yankees 4, Mariners 2