Throughout all the off days, it seemed like this was the first back to back series the Mariners have played all season (actually the 2nd but whose counting). After taking 2 of 3 from the depths of the cavernous, drum-pounding dumpster that is Progressive field, the Mariners won in extras today for the second time in as many days.
Tonight’s game was originally supposed to be started by Felix Hernandez, but he was scratched due to the flu. Enter the wonderfully majestic Hisashi Iwakuma making the start for the Mariners tonight. He did not disappoint. Kuma Bear dazzled by pitching 8 complete innings (longest outing of a Mariners starting pitcher this season). He scattered 2 runs on 6 hits, 3 strike outs and retired the last ten batters he saw, all while only throwing 89 pitches.
Before the 10th, all Mariners scoring had taken place in the 1st inning. In that inning, the Mariners had the bases loaded thanks to a Norichika double, Seff walk and Robinson Cano single. Nelson Cruz scores the first run on a sac fly, and Kyle Seager walks to reload the bases. Adam Lind scores run number two with another sac fly, but that’s all the Mariners get out of the first inning. 2-0 Mariners. The 4th and the 5th inning saw the only Kuma mistakes of the entire game. Solo home runs hit by Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron evened the score up 2-2.
Top 6: one of the weirdest, wackadoodle innings I’ve seen in recent years. With Chris Iannetta at the plate and Adam Lind on first with a single, it seemed like there was a time out. Catcher was not behind plate, batter not in box, umpires all standing. Angels starting pitcher Nick Tropeano throws the ball to first baseman C.J. Cron, seemingly tagging Lind out. Lind is not out (?), Nick Tropeano is charged with a balk, Scioscia yells dumb things, balk is erased and Lind is sent back to first. It’s okay if your lost, so is everyone else. Servais goes mini-Grand Torino on the sequence while his finger points away, but ultimately goes back into the dugout with no further interruptions. Game resumes, and ends on a strike-em-out throw-em-out because Adam Lind is not a fast runner.
At this point we all still hate Angels fans because they do stuff like this:
Not too much happened in the 7th and 8th innings, but the 9th inning is where the blood pressure got going. It’s no secret that the strategic use of the Mariners bullpen this season has been, uh, not so strategic. Servais’ choice of relievers tend to confuse the viewers at home *cough* Tony Zych *cough*. His decision in the 9th inning of this tied ballgame did little help public opinion. Servais sends home run surrenderer, Joel Peralta, out to face none other than Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. However, Peralta would care none for our collective worries, and negative opinions of his 40-year-old arm. No, no not at all. He would vanquish the beating heart of the Angels order, send them back to where they came from, and quietly fist pump his way off the mound in victory. We were all stressed, it’s okay.
The entirety of Mariners twitter would take a deep breath and reset for the first frame of extra innings. In this inning we are reminded why all the anxiety that comes with being a fan of the Seattle Mariners is worth it. Ketel Marte starts us off with single, and is pushed to second on a sac bunt from Norichika. Our beautiful Franklin Gutierrez comes in to pinch hit for Seth Smith. He promptly jumps on the second pitch he sees, singles to center and Ketel Marte is waved all the way home by Manny Acta. Mariners take the lead, 3-2.
Robinson Cano comes in and pops up for what should have been an inital out. Andrelton Simmons drops the ball, allowing Robinson to get to first, but still getting the force out on Guti at second. Nelson Cruz is up, but I think you can guess what happens next:
This ball had an exit velocity of 111 MPH. One-hundred and eleven. Do you realize how fast that is? Holy Moly. That laser beam makes the score 5-2 Mariners. Stress-free closer Steve Cishek comes in the bottom of the 10th, and knocks down the Angels in order. Game over.
Mariners are .500. A wining road trip is secured, and tomorrow we get to watch Felix Hernandez become the all time Mariners strikeout leader. We are so lucky.