Coming into today, things were not looking too pretty for the Mariners. They had lost four of their last five and the worst part was that they had not scored a run in 23 innings. Well both of those streaks would come to an end tonight.
Erasmo Ramirez was very impressive yesterday and Jason Vargas followed him up with a very good outing of his own. Vargas attacked hitters early on, getting a first pitch strike against the first seven batters that he faced. In the first, he had an easy 1-2-3 inning, getting a fly out and striking out two batters swinging. The second inning was even more impressive as Vargas struck out the side. In the third, Vargas opened up the inning with a hit batter but was able to get a double play ball and then another grounder to end the inning. The double play ball was Vargas’ friend again in the fourth as he got one to get out of the inning after giving up a one out base hit.
Vargas continued to dominate in the fifth, striking out three batters but walking one. He was up to 8 strikeouts at that point and he was not done yet. Vargas walked one in the sixth but picked up two more strikeouts giving him 10 through 6 inning of work. Vargas got into his first trouble of the game in the seventh when Cespedes took Vargas deep after Vargas fell behind 0-2. It was a shot. Vargas got Inge to ground out but after giving up a double to Seth Smith, which would be it for Vargas on the day as Brandon League relieved him. Brandon League gave up two hits though, allowing a run to score which got charged to Vargas. That would all the action that League would see.
Vargas’ final line on the day was 6.2IP 3H 2ER 2BB and 10K. This was a much needed performance for him after he was destroyed byArizonain his last appearance. Vargas’ change up really looked good tonight, getting a lot of batters to swing right through it. It made his fastball even better because hitters were kept off balance. 17 of Vargas’ 65 strikes tonight were swinging and he was able to get 13 first pitch strikes. Hopefully Vargas can keep this going into his next start.
The bullpen shut things down from here on out as Charlie Furbush entered the game in the 8th. He walked two batters on the inning, but was able to get out of it, striking three batters on the inning. He was impressive tonight as he has been all year. Wilhelmsen entered the game in the 9th and he shut the door down earning his 6th save of the year. He did not give up a hit and the final out of the inning was a strikeout on a nasty bender that got the batter looking. He now has a 2.77 ERA on the year.
Like I mentioned above, the Mariners had a 23 scoreless inning drought coming into this game and it would go two more innings until the Mariners finally put some runs across in the third inning. Dustin Ackley opened the inning with a base hit and after Brendan Ryan flied out, Ichiro moved Ackley up to second with a base hit. Gutierrez came up big with an RBI double to center, just missing a homerun. Kyle Seager brought Ichiro in on a sac fly but Gutierrez was thrown out trying to tag from second to third. Luckily the run scored before the out.
The two spot would remain there for quite some time until the bottom of the 8th. The game was tied 2-2 andOakland brought in a new reliever after Travis Blackley was done after 7. Casper Wells opened up the inning with a base hit and then stole second as Dustin Ackley struck out. With a runner on second, Brendan Ryan stepped up and after working the count full, he came up huge with an RBI base hit, just over the leaping Jemile Weeks at second. That would be the difference maker as Wilhelmsen came into shut things down in the ninth.
The Mariners put together 7 hits today, but were able to bring the runners in when it mattered. They were 2-4 on the day with runners in scoring position. Ichiro had himself a nice day, going 2-3 with a BB. His average continues to creep up as it is now at .277. Gutierrez, Montero, Well, Ackley, and Ryan each picked up a base hit on the day too.
Seattle needed this one and hopefully they can get a nice little winning steak going on this current home stand. Kevin Millwood looks to continue the great starting pitcher for the Mariners as of late going up against A’s rookie, Jarrod Parker. Earlier today I tweeted that I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams fail to reach 10 combined runs on the series. It is at 6 right now so things may be close.