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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Mariners’

Oh, wow.  Oh, man, that was epic.  How often do you see that? Obviously we’ve had our fair share of walkoffs this year, especially with all those extra-inning games we’ve been playing.  But we didn’t need extras for this one.  Actually, for a while it looked like it wouldn’t do us much good to play the second half.  But what a game.  In the end, it was all worth it.

The fifth inning was our downfall.  Without the fifth inning, we would still have been very much in the game, only behind by one.  Dempster seriously just imploded.

Dempster gave up a run in the first thanks to a triple-single combination.  He gave up his second run in the third thanks to a walk-single combination.  We got on the board in the bottom of the frame.  Ellsbury led off with a double and moved to third on a flyout by Victorino.  Pedroia walked to put runners at the corners, and Ellsbury scored on a sac double play by Papi.

It seemed so simple by the time the fifth inning came around.  All we had to do was score another run to tie and a third run to win, plus great pitching, of course.  But the fifth inning was truly, truly awful.  Dempster gave up five runs.

He gave up a triple and an RBI single before securing the frame’s first out.  He gave up a double before securing the frame’s second out.  Then he issued a walk to load the bases.

And then he gave up four runs on one swing.  Yes.  Ryan Dempster gave up a grand slam.  He threw a two-seam that was fouled off, and then he threw the four-seam that ended it all.

On the one hand, I want to say that that was really his only mistake; if he’d thrown a better pitch, we wouldn’t be six runs behind instead of one.  But on the other hand, it wouldn’t have been a grand slam had he not made a few mistakes before the actual home run was hit.  And even if he’d had to allow the grand slam, if he hadn’t allowed the two previous runs, our deficit would have been cut in half.

Wright came on for the rest of the game.  Victorino’s solo shot, which opened the eighth, should have been awesome but just seemed kind of sad in light of the hole in which we found ourselves.  That right there should have been the tying run, and we should have finished the job in the ninth inning.

And then it happened.  Something truly amazing.  Something ridiculously awesome.  Something extremely epic.  Yes, epic.  It was absolutely, completely, totally, unquestionably epic.

Nava walked, Lavarnway singled, and Nava scored on a double by Holt.  That brought our lead down to four.  We’d need a grand slam or the equivalent to at least tie it up.  Given the dearth of run support we exhibited throughout most of the game, we could hope that the rally would continue due in part to the Mariners’ pitching change, but four runs could potentially be a lot.

Ellsbury walked to load the bases.  To be honest, I was thinking about the absolute perfection that a grand slam would embody at that moment.  But it wasn’t in the cards.  Victorino singled instead.

It wasn’t a long ball.  It wasn’t even an extra-base hit.  But that single scored two runs.  And those two runs brought us within two runs.  Suddenly we were back in this thing, and it was one of those situations where you can almost visualize what the win would look like but don’t want to get your hopes up in case it doesn’t happen at the same time.

Pedroia singled, Ellsbury scored, and we were within one.  Papi struck out for the first out of the inning.  The double play was suddenly an option for Seattle.  But Gomes singled, and the game was tied.  The game was tied at seven.  I saw it with my own eyes and I couldn’t believe it.  Before the ninth, we were down by five.  Even if we’d hit a grand slam of our own, we still would have lost.  Now the game was tied.

Drew walked to load the bases.  A grand slam would have been perfect at that moment as well.

And yet again, it wasn’t in the cards.  But yet again, a single was.  And yet again, it was exactly what we needed.

It was Nava’s turn.  Pedroia scored.  Cue the mob.

We won, 8-7.  We didn’t win in extras.  We didn’t do anything flashy.  We managed to play small ball all the way to the W.  W for walkoff and for win, that is.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki
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Fifteen innings.  Wow.  How exhausting was that? The game exceeded five hours.  We’ve gone into extras during a decent number of games this year, but fifteen innings? We had the lead during the regular nine, and it was really awesome to finish the night that way.  But even more awesome was winning a game that lasted for fifteen innings.  Can you imagine if we’d lost this one? It would have been completely and totally devastating.  We didn’t have a lot to do to win; all we had to do was score one run.  It’s exciting to win, it’s awesome to win, it’s exhilarating to win, but especially in this particular situation, it’s also a huge relief to win.

That would be a quality start from Lackey.  Three runs on eight hits while walking only one and striking out six over seven innings.  That is a strong, lengthy, efficient start; he threw ninety-five pitches, seventy-one of which were strikes.  He faced the minimum through three and then a single, a steal, and a double led to Seattle’s first run in the fourth.  En route to securing the first out of the sixth, he loaded the bases thanks to two singles and a walk.  That opportunity produced two runs thanks to a sac fly, which at least provided another out, and a single.  The seventh inning was the only one during which Seattle did not sure, during which Lackey did not also face the minimum.

Thanks to three straight singles in the bottom of the first, we had the bases loaded with nobody out.  But Papi grounded into a double play.  Then Napoli walked, and Salty ended the inning by lining out.  It was a complete disappointment.  But we took a one-run lead when we scored twice in the fifth.  Brock Holt doubled, Ellsbury reached on a fielding error, and Victorino reached and Holt scored on another fielding error.  Ellsbury was able to score on Pedroia’s grounder.

When the Mariners scored twice in the sixth, they took a one-run lead of their own, which we promptly countered by scoring another two runs in the seventh, both of which came courtesy of Pedroia, who unleashed on a sinker.  He was thrown six pitches in that at-bat; the fourth one was a slider, which he took for a ball, and the rest were sinkers.  The count was full.  And he turned on the laser show yet again.  After Victorino had already singled, that is.  So we scored two runs on one swing.

Tazawa came on for the eighth and gave up a solo shot with one out.  That was the tying run.  It was awful.  We had a one-run lead, which was obviously more fragile than we thought.  I mean, you’re supposed to bring in the reliever to preserve a lead, not to squander it.

Uehara pitched the ninth and tenth.  Thornton pitched the eleventh.  Breslow pitched the twelfth and thirteenth.  Britton pitched the fourteenth and fifteenth.

Yes.  Fifteen innings.  It ended as humbly as it started.  Pedroia walked and moved to second on a groundout by Papi.  Napoli was walked intentionally, Salty struck out, and Gomes walked.  So we had the bases loaded with two out.  And it was the best score we had in, well, hours.

Drew was up.  He took a slider for a ball, a sinker for a strike, and a slider for a ball.  And then he got another sinker.  The Mariners had not always had good luck with sinkers last night.  And Drew got one, and all he did was single.  He just hit a single.  That’s all.  But the bases were loaded.  Pedroia scored.  Cue mob.  End game.  5-4.

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There have been a lot of close games lately.  But every once in a while, or actually hopefully more than every once in a while, the offense cuts loose.  This was a slugfest.  Indicated, of course, by the fact that we hit three long balls that accounted in total for more than half of our runs.  Refreshingly, there was nothing close about this game.

Wow.  Brandon Workman is awesome.  He just pitched six innings of one-run ball like it was a walk in the park.  (Pun intended.) In between the first inning’s first two outs, he gave up a double that turned into a run thanks to a single.  Other than that, he was lights-out for the remainder of his start.  He faced four in the second and third, three in the fourth and fifth, and six in the sixth.  After striking out the inning’s first batter, he gave up three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out.  But he rallied after that, securing two swinging strikeouts to end the frame.

Breslow had a one-two-three seventh, and Thornton had a one-two-three eighth.  They took pages from Workman’s book.  Beato, who came on for the ninth, did not.  Or rather he did, but from the first inning only.  After putting up two outs, he gave up a single, a walk, and another single, which scored a run.  So the Mariners scored one in the first, one in the ninth, and none in between.

The same can most definitely not be said of our lineup.  We did not waste time.  Ellsbury struck out to open the first, but then Victorino doubled, Pedroia reached on a fielding error, and both Victorino and Pedroia both scored, on a passed ball and a single, respectively.  One out later, Salty singled and Gomes walked to load the bases, but Drew grounded out to end the threat.

Our second inning was even bigger in every way.  We scored three runs that inning, all via the long ball.  Iglesias singled to start it off but was out at second.  Then Ellsbury unleashed on a slider, his third of the at-bat, and sent it flying beyond the right field fence for a solo shot.  Victorino singled after that, and it was Pedroia’s turn.  This was a real battle.  He took a two-seam for a ball, fouled off a two-seam and a changeup, took a four-seam for a ball, fouled off a slider, took a two-seam for a ball, and fouled off two more sliders.  So, by the time the ninth pitch rolled around, obviously the count was full.  He got another two-seam and put on a laser show.  The ball rocketed toward the Monster.  Pedroia’s been in a slump lately, but hitting that two-run shot, he looked pretty comfortable.  He just unleashed all his power on that ball, and he looked like his old self again at the plate.

With two out in the fourth, Victorino doubled and scored on a single by, obviously, Pedroia, who ended up out at second.  And Salty joined the home run club in the eighth; Napoli had singled with one out, and Salty powered a fastball to right center field.

In every inning during which we did not score, we went down in order.  But thanks to the innings in which we did score, we won, 8-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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That was a great game.  We didn’t keep it to nine, but we did trade run for run with the Mariners.  I would have loved to watch us win decisively, but I give us a lot of credit for keeping ourselves in it.  There’s something really satisfying about keeping your head down and grinding through it.  Because, at the end of the day, you know that you made this one happen.

Ellsbury led off the game with a solo shot.  Papi walked to lead off the fourth, and Carp got hit.  Holt, Iglesias, and Ellsbury hit back-to-back-to-back singles in the fourth, scoring three.  Pedroia singled, Papi walked, and Gomes singled to load the bases with nobody out in the fifth, and a sac fly and two singles scored three.

Dempster gave up a solo shot to lead off the second.  Two flyouts, a single, a wild pitch, a fielding error, a double, and a single later, two more runs scored.  He gave up another run on a walk-single combination in the third.  He gave up four singles over the course of the fourth, resulting in two runs.  The latter was a runner inherited by Steven Wright, who came on for relief.  But he ended up pitching the rest of the game phenomenally well.

The game started with a bang but ended pretty casually.  Lavarnway led off the tenth with a walk, and we made the Mariners pay.  Bradley came on to pinch-run, moved to second on a sac fly by Holt, and later scored on a single by Nava.  And Uehara pitched a one-two-three ninth.

And that’s a wrap.  We won, 8-7, in ten but we used only two pitches.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

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Congratulations to Big Papi, who now holds the Major League record for most hits by a designated hitter! We all knew this day was coming, so there’s no surprise here.  It would have been nice to have had it happen at home, but Seattle was a good place, too.  After all, the Mariners did sign him when he was still in the Dominican Republic.  It’s not their fault he’s not currently wearing their uniform.  Oh, wait.  It is.

Through the first three, it was all us, almost all the time.  Papi doubled, Napoli walked, and Nava got hit in the second.  Then Salty and Iglesias both hit sac flies that scored two.  Not exactly a great response in a bases-loaded situation, but better than nothing.  With two out in the third, Pedroia walked, and Papi smashed a home run.  With two out in the fourth, Ellsbury doubled and scored on a single by Victorino.  And then Salty and Iglesias hit back-to-back singles to lead off the sixth, Holt grounded into a force out, and we executed four straight scoring plays: Ellsbury and Victorino both singled, Pedroia reached on a force attempt thanks to a throwing error, and Papi hit a sac fly.

We even took it down to the wire.  Nava and Salty led off the ninth with back-to-back walks; eventually Nava scored on a wild pitch and Salty scored on a single by Carp.

And now for the pitching.  Felix Doubront, ladies and gentlemen! His outing was almost impeccable.  He pitched seven innings of one-run ball that were almost seven innings of shutout ball had it not been for the double-single combination in the seventh initiated by, of all people, Jason Bay.  The greatest number of batters he faced in an inning was five, and that was only twice.  He threw 107 pitches, sixty-six of which were strikes, and his command and control were evident throughout.

It would have been quite nice to win, 11-1.  But Brandon Workman came on for the eighth and gave up a solo shot and three doubles for a total of three runs.  So we won, 11-4, instead.

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Never believing that you’re out of a game is a very valuable skill.  It makes you able to make sure hat you’re never out of a game.  It would have been easier last night for us to just assume that we wouldn’t be able to score enough runs to keep a lead going.  But then we wouldn’t have won big.

Allen Webster had a terrible night.  And when I say terrible,  I mean terrible.  It was, well, terrible.  In the first, he gave up a single and then a two-run shot.  In the second, he loaded the bases with a single and two walks and then cleared them with a double.  In the third he gave up a solo shot, a single, and a lineout before being replaced by Aceves, who gave up a triple that allowed his inherited runner to score.

So Webster gave up seven runs in less than three innings.  Ouch.  At the time, he was exceedingly fortunate that he had excellent run support.  Somehow, we managed to survive his implosion by scoring enough runs to generate a one-run lead.

Papi led off the second with a solo shot, but the really big inning was the third, during which we scored five runs.  Nava lined out, Victorino singled, and Pedroia smacked a two-run shot.  Papi doubled, and Napoli smacked a two-run shot.  Salty doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch during Iglesias’s at-bat, and scored on Holt’s sac fly.  Nava got hit in the fourth and scored on a single by Pedroia, and Bradley hit a solo shot in the fifth.

Breslow came on for the fourth and stayed for the fifth and an out and a double in the sixth.  Then it was Bailey’s turn.  He finished the sixth and pitched through the seventh.  Tazawa gave up a single that turned into a run on a groundout in the eighth.

That run would have tied the game at eight had it not been for some clutch hitting in the top of the frame.  Victorino appropriately led it off with a solo shot.  Then Pedroia lined out, Papi singled, Napoli struck out, Salty walked intentionally, and then Iglesias and Holt each singled in a run.  And Uehara pitched the ninth.

So, in total, that’s sixteen hits, three doubles, and a whopping five home runs! The score, thanks to our resilient attitude, was 11-8.

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Baseball is so unpredictable.  That can be either good or bad.  It can be good when you’re on the positive receiving end of the unpredictability.  It’s not so great, though, when you start the game off thinking you’re still in it, only to spend the entire second half of it being dominated by the competition.

Lester started out on the right foot and fired three shutout innings out of the gate.  But he ran into a little trouble in the fourth.  He gave up two singles to lead it off, and one out later, he gave up a double and then two consecutive walks, the first of which loaded the bases and the second of which resulted in another run.  It was pretty humiliating.

But arguably not as humiliating as squandering a perfectly good tie.  Those two runs put us in a two-run hole because we hadn’t scored yet.  We did, however, have an answer in the top of the fifth.  Iglesias got hit, Holt singled to put runners at the corners, and then Nava singled in Iglesias and Holt scored on a wild pitch.  But Lester returned the lead to Seattle by giving up a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the frame.

Unfortunately, that was nothing compared to what happened in the sixth.  Lester gave up two consecutive singles to lead it off and was replaced by Wilson.  But Wilson gave up a double and Nava made a fielding error that allowed both inherited runners to score.  Two outs later, Wilson gave up a single that allowed his own runner to score.

It only got worse from there.  Wilson issued a walk to lead off the seventh; he helped things along with a wild pitch followed by a double.  De La Torre relieved him and got the inning’s second out but then issued three consecutive scoring plays: a double, a single, and another double.  Three runs scored on De La Torre’s watch.

The Mariners found themselves up by eight runs at that point.  Clearly, if we were going to get ourselves back in this game, we didn’t have a lot of time to do it.

The Mariners made a pitching change in the eighth, and Pedroia singled, Lavarnway flied out, and Napoli and Salty bookended Carp’s groundout with RBI doubles.  But it was way too little, way too late.  In the eighth, thanks to a hit batsman and two walks, Seattle had the bases loaded, and a groundout was all it took to the drive the point home.

Lester had another mediocre start.  He gave up five runs, and the relievers each gave up three.  We lost, 11-4.

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