Sunday, June 25, 2006


AP photo -- Lenny Ignelzi

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Five homers followed eight from the night before in San Diego. Also, someone was busy hitting balls a country mile.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Mike Thompson. Fresh off a victory the night before to stop their two-game losing streak, the Mariners hoped to put together another winning streak to head into their off-day before hopping a flight to Phoenix, where Jason Grimsley has left an icky taste in the mouths of the Diamondbacks, though not quite a Rick Neuheisel-type bad taste. I don't think the Diamondbacks will be facing bowl bans and probation. A win in this game would make it sixteen wins in twenty-three tries for the Mariners. With the win, they would also have won six of their last seven series, the outlier being the sweep in Oakland. Yes, a win and a series win would be very good things. As if that's not enough, a win would put them back within a game of .500. In an odd note, the Mariners' last ten homers have been solo shots.

Ichiro was ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch outside. Adrian Beltre fell behind 0-2 and chopped a 1-2 pitch to short, but it was hit slowly enough so Beltre wasn't doubled off at first. Jose Lopez fouled the 1-2 pitch straight off his left shin and took a while to walk it off. Lopez ended up one-hopping the next pitch over the leftfield fence in the corner for a double. Raul Ibañez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Richie Sexson fought off a pitch, getting jammed and dumping a single into shallow center, scoring Beltre and keeping the bases loaded.
Jeremy Reed popped the first pitch to Johnson in left, but it wasn't deep enough to score Lopez. Rene Rivera hit the second pitch for a nice swinging bunt along the third-base line, but Rivera's a catcher and doesn't run fast, so he was thrown out. Thompson threw 24 pitches.

Mike Cameron popped the first pitch to Sexson treacherously under the sun in foul ground near first. Mark Bellhorn popped the second pitch to center. Brian Giles grounded out to second on the second pitch. Piñeiro threw only six pitches.

Willie Bloomquist popped an 0-2 pitch to center. Joel Piñeiro foul-tipped a 1-2 breaking ball into Bard's glove behind the plate. Ichiro whiffed horribly on an 0-2 pitch outside. Thompson threw ten pitches and had 34 through two.

Josh Bard was ahead 2-0 and ripped a 2-1 pitch barely foul past first base. Bard ended up taking a full-count pitch down and in that nearly hit him. Adrian Gonzalez bounced the second pitch along the right side, where Piñeiro got it and had Gonzalez run into him as Bard went to second. Khalil Greene lined the second pitch to Ichiro running toward the fence in rightcenter, moving Bard to third. Ben Johnson fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and away. Piñeiro threw 17 pitches and had 23 through two.

Beltre rolled out to short. Lopez worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Ibañez was ahead 2-0 but later rolled to second to start a 4-6-3 double play. Thompson threw 14 pitches and had 48 through three.

Geoff Blum worked an 0-2 count before rolling it to Beltre on the left side, who threw high (Sexson is tall). Mike Thompson bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Cameron cranked a liner that got over the wall in centerfield, giving him homers in all three games of the series.
Bellhorn whiffed on a full-count breaking ball down and in. Piñeiro threw 20 pitches and had 43 through three.

Sexson blasted one into the second deck in leftcenter.
Reed lined a low 1-2 pitch to Bellhorn in the hole on the right side. Rivera roped a 1-2 pitch down the leftfield line, but the ballgirl played the live ball and gave it to a child in the stands, resulting in a ground-rule double, which it probably would have been anyway. In any event, tip your beverage of choice to the ballgirl because she'll get a lot of heat for that. Bloomquist whiffed on a 3-1 pitch up and in before walking on a full-count pitch down and in. Piñeiro bunted an 0-2 pitch to the mound, where Thompson got it and would have had Rivera at third, but Thompson threw it wide and into left, scoring Rivera and moving Bloomquist to third as Piñeiro also got to second on the play.
Ichiro bounced the first pitch to first, where Gonzalez bobbled it and had to race Ichiro to first, a race he barely won. Bloomquist scored from third on the play and Piñeiro went to third.
Beltre popped an 0-2 pitch to Bellhorn on the infield grass. Thompson threw 25 pitches and had 73 through four.

Giles took a mother of a 2-2 curve for strike three. Bard fell behind 0-2 and flew out to left on a 1-2 pitch. Gonzalez bounced a 2-2 pitch to first (3-1 putout). Piñeiro threw 18 pitches and had 61 through four.

Lopez rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. Ibañez rolled a 3-0 pitch to second. Sexson punched a single into center. Reed bounced the second pitch to second. Thompson threw 14 pitches and had 87 through five.

Greene lined a 2-2 pitch into the second row of seats beyond the leftfield wall, his first homer in a month.
Johnson crushed the next pitch into the fourth row of seats beyond the leftfield wall. Piñeiro is terrible. In related news, the Padres hit back-to-back homers on consecutive days.
Blum popped the first pitch to short. Thompson fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Cameron was ahead 2-0 and later lined a single into center. Bellhorn blistered the first pitch to the wall in leftcenter for a triple, scoring Cameron easily. Again, Piñeiro is terrible. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves, knowing this, visited the mound.
Giles grounded the second pitch hard to first. Piñeiro threw 20 pitches and had 81 through five.

Rivera fell behind 0-2 and foul-tipped a 1-2 change into Bard's glove behind the plate. Bloomquist flew out to Cameron in rightcenter. Piñeiro grounded the first pitch hard to third. Thompson threw ten pitches and had 97 through six.

Bard shot a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Gonzalez rode a fly ball to the track in left, narrowly missing a homer. Rivera visited the mound. Greene flew out high to left on a 2-2 pitch. Johnson fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball away.

Piñeiro's line: 6 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches (65 strikes)

Ichiro lined out to left. Beltre smoked a line drive right to a running Johnson in left. Lopez split his bat on the first pitch and grounded to third.

Thompson's line: 7 innings, 4 runs (2 earned), 5 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 105 pitches (67 strikes)

George Sherrill came in for Piñeiro. Vinny Castilla, hitting for Blum, rolled up the middle to Lopez. Eric Young, hitting for Thompson, flew out to Reed in leftcenter on a 2-2 pitch. Cameron foul-tipped a 1-2 pitch into Rivera's glove behind the plate.

Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (12 strikes)

Alan Embree came in for Thompson. Ibañez waved at an 0-2 fastball outside. Sexson bashed the second pitch just over the in-wall video board in rightcenter, breaking the tie. Them's good stuff.
Reed rolled a 2-2 pitch up the middle to Bellhorn, who ranged to his backhand side and made the off-balance throw in time.

Jon Adkins came in for Embree. Rivera dumped a single into shallow center. Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and dumped a 1-2 pitch along the rightfield line for a single, moving Rivera to third. Carl Everett, hitting for Sherrill, got ahead 3-1 and ended up taking a full-count pitch barely low, according to the umpire (Adkins was squeezed, no question), loading the bases. Bard came out to chat with Adkins. Ichiro dumped the second pitch into shallow leftcenter for a single, scoring Rivera and Bloomquist.
Beltre drilled a neck-high 0-2 pitch, but managed to land it in center for a single, scoring Everett. Ichiro was hung up between third and second on the relay to the infield, ending the inning.

Embree's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 12 pitches (10 strikes)
Adkins' line: 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (12 strikes)

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. Bellhorn worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a full-count pitch. Giles popped high to second. Bard took a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner, turned around and jawed at plate umpire Paul Nauert and was tossed immediately, possibly arguing that Adkins didn't get the call on the same pitch the half-inning before on Everett, after which three runs scored. Soriano threw 13 pitches.

Brian Sikorski came in for Adkins and Bowen came in to catch for the ejected Bard. Lopez flew out to first on a 2-0 pitch. Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson knocked a double into the rightfield corner to cap off his crazy day. Reed fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch high off Bowen's glove and to the backstop, moving Sexson to third. Reed ended up punching the next pitch (2-2) through the left side for a single for his first hit of the day, scoring Sexson.
Rivera popped the second pitch to shallow right.

Sikorski's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 19 pitches (12 strikes)

Gonzalez popped a 1-2 pitch to shallow center. Greene rolled a 1-2 pitch out to short. Johnson doubled the first pitch into the leftfield corner. Castilla fell behind 0-2 and ended up taking a 1-2 pitch up and quite inside on the eighth pitch, probably not a strike, but that's Nauert for you.

Soriano's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 31 pitches (23 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
For Saturday's game, I picked Kenji Johjima for the gameball because he did something I expect to see either rarely or never again for the rest of the season. The same applies to Sexson here, who went 5-for-5 for the first time in his career, hitting a double and two homers along the way to pad his slugging numbers. The nutty day bumped his batting average from .211 to .225, his on-base percentage from .288 to .299, and his slugging percentage from .386 to .421. For the month of June, Sexson is hitting .271, getting on base at a .344 clip, and slugging .576. He's hit eight homers this month, two more than his combined total for April and May. His 23 hits for June are more than what he put up in either April or May, and the Mariners still have four games left to play this month. Also, we've come to know that Sexson strikes out. A lot. Again, there are four games left in the month. He struck out 28 times in April and 36 times in May. He has only struck out 18 times this month. He'll have to go on a strikeout binge to surpass his April or May totals. The scary thing is that I don't think Sexson is all the way back yet. He's making strides, but I don't think he's really opened up yet.

Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
The bug-a-boo big inning appeared yet again. The main solace here is that said inning didn't cost the Mariners the game, though it did cost Piñeiro the win. At the time, though, it did tie the game, and it was incredibly upsetting. Piñeiro one-upped Eddie Guardado's Saturday night performance by not just giving up back-to-back homers, but by giving up back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches. Yes, Piñeiro's a pretty competitive guy. Even with how hard the Padres had hit him in the fifth inning, manager Mike Hargrove left him in for the sixth, and Piñeiro got through that without incident other than a leadoff single by Josh Bard and what was almost a two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez. Also of note was that this was a start by a Mariner starting pitcher that was caught by Rene Rivera. Piñeiro's line is further up in the post, but the main thing is that he didn't get hit around other than in the fifth, and he only walked one guy in the game. Rivera has caught twelve starts by Mariner pitchers this year, and their ERA is 3.04. The average starting pitching line when Rivera catches is this: 7 innings, 2.7 runs (2.3 earned), 5.8 hits, 1.7 walks, 5.6 strikeouts, 104 pitches (68 strikes).

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 56-21 .727 -- L2
2003 51-26 .662 5 W1
2002 48-29 .623 8 W2
2000 45-32 .584 11 L1
2006 38-39 .494 18 W2
2005 33-44 .429 23 L5
2004 32-45 .416 24 W1

Ichiro 46-for-106 (.434), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 12 RBIs, 10 walks, 8 strikeouts
Beltre 31-for-103 (.301), 8 doubles, 5 homers, 18 RBIs, 9 walks, 18 strikeouts
Lopez 24-for-91 (.264), 9 doubles, 1 homer, 13 RBIs, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Ibañez 29-for-87 (.333), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 9 homers, 28 RBIs, 13 walks, 14 strikeouts
Sexson 24-for-91 (.264), 2 doubles, 8 homers, 24 RBIs, 11 walks, 21 strikeouts
Everett 14-for-62 (.226), 2 homers, 5 RBIs, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
Johjima 26-for-79 (.329), 8 doubles, 3 homers, 9 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Reed 17-for-71 (.239), 2 doubles, 3 homers, 5 RBIs, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Betancourt 25-for-83 (.301), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 8 RBIs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Washburn. Webb. Tuesday.

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