Saturday, September 10, 2005

Game Report: Mariners vs. Orioles - Singles Night Means Hitting More Singles

Tonight's game was just lazy, lazy, lazy. I swear, the USSM game thread was almost as interesting as the game itself.

We got there fairly late, like at 6:00pm for the 6:05 game. Of course, it didn't matter, because nobody was there. My section was almost entirely empty. I thought there were about 20k people in the stands, although the reported attendance seems to be 30k.

Anyway, the game got off to a crappy start when Brian Roberts sliced a single through Richie Sexson and Jose Lopez, and Melvin Mora homered immediately after for a lead of 2-0 after the first two batters.

Ichiro had a pretty damn good day, going 4-for-5, all singles (for Singles Night, maybe?), three of them on infield singles, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, in the first inning, after reaching on a pretty hard-hit ball barely stopped by Tejada, he tried to steal, and got caught. It was a really questionable call. Ichiro just stared at the umpire in disbelief for a few seconds, and then Hargrove came out to argue it, and got ejected. Whee! Then Reed grounded between the pitcher and first, and the pitcher had to come tag him. He tried to avoid the tag, eventually diving under the first baseman. It was pretty funky looking, but he was out.

I really had no idea the Orioles catcher was pronounced "Heronimo Heel", even though this must be the fourth or fifth Orioles game I've been to this year.

The third inning saw Brian Roberts get a "ground rule double" when a fan grabbed the ball down by the left field line. (I hate that. If a fan can touch the ball, it seems it should be a foul ball. I know that's not really how it works, but still.) Harris tried to pick him off second and way overthrew into center (wasn't even anywhere near the second baseman), so he got third. It was easy for Mora to single him home after that. Mora moved to second when Gibbons walked, and Javier Lopez singled him home, 4-0. With Lopez on first and Gibbons on second, Walter Young came up to bat. He hit a single out to left field, and Gibbons tried to score, but Ibanez made a pretty sweet throw home and got there in time to catch him for the out, ending the inning.

Walter Young is very large. I think he ate Bucky Jacobsen *and* a cow.

The grounds crew has a new dance routine, whee! This time they did "It's Raining Men". It was actually a pretty cool routine, involving push-up shuffles and stuff, and two of the crew cartwheeling off at the end.

I think it was something about tonight being Singles Night, but they had the music trivia be "What Is Love?" by Haddaway, and the Verizon jukebox crap was all songs like "Can't Help Falling in Love" and whatnot. Later on, during the 7th or 8th inning, they had this incredibly stupid "dating game" thing on the dugout where they had a girl and three guys, and the guys had to answer "what song describes you best?" Apparently the girl picked a guy, and they would get a paid dinner date at the Hit it Here Cafe. It was totally Seattle, when the girl picked him, she tried to shake his hand, and he made her hug him.

Also, David J. Corcoran should have come to Seattle. Or so I hear.

The only really compelling inning for the Mariners offense was the 8th. Ichiro led off with his fourth single of the day, and then Reed got the benefit of a weird error. He hit it to second base, and Brian Roberts got it off center a little, threw it to Tejada covering second. Tejada bobbled the ball but recovered it, continually having his foot on the bag. Ichiro was somehow called safe and Reed was called safe at first. Ibanez grounded out, setting the stage for Rodrigo Lopez to get pulled in favor of rookie Chris Ray. In a moment of excitement, Richie Sexson pounded Ray's first pitch 432 feet onto the canvas "Mariners" sign in right center field. Whoooosh, 4-3. Unfortunately, that led them to bring in B.J.Ryan, and the inning was over shortly after that.

I think it was kind of cool that they brought in their closer a little early, but bad because it was a pretty done deal. And it was. The Orioles won the game 5-3.

The top of the 8th also had a great play. Matos grounded to deep short, and Betancourt flawlessly recovered the ball, but he was pretty far out, so the throw didn't make it to first quite in time. Then Matos tried to steal second. It was really wacky - Ojeda got up to throw him out, had to hesitate a second because nobody was on the bag at 2B, then Betancourt ran over, Ojeda threw the ball, and whoooosh, Matos was out by a mile. It was sweet.

Was good to see Atchison and Soriano pitching. Atchison wasn't too bad, and Soriano seemed to be back to his power-pitching ways, getting two strikeouts, but unfortunately also giving up a run in the process. Still, he was throwing 94-95 and lots of strikes, which is good to see.

Want to know something else cool? No Mariner struck out in the first 8 innings. I wonder when the last time that ever happened was?

Jeremy Reed looked absolutely fabulous out there in center field. Every fly ball to center, all 8 of them, were fielded beautifully. He really got a great jump on them and did an awesome job running them down. Sadly, Matos also had two beautiful fielding plays in CF, but Reed just looked superb.

Betancourt, as usual, also was fantastic. He fielded plays anywhere from short to second to shallow left to shallow center. He only got one hit, but it was that sort of long drive into center that most people would get a double out of, and he slid into a triple that he could have easily taken standing up. It was great, except that it was with two outs, sadly.

They put Eric Byrnes in to play left field during the bottom of the 7th, and I squealed "Yay! Eric Byrnes!" My friend was like "What's the big deal about Byrnes?" and I said, "I just like him. He's cool. He's funny. He runs around a lot and is just a goofy guy. See?" As I pointed, Byrnes was literally jumping up and down, bouncing around in left field, his hair flying everywhere.

For some reason, they actually had "51 Suzuki" up on the scoreboard instead of "51 Ichiro". It was very odd. I wonder what happened.

Also, people started the wave in the 9th inning. It kept going... and going... and going... I think it went around 8 times or so. I hate the wave.

Cleveland is now 1.5 games up on the Yankees and the Pathletics for the AL Wild Card. My friends and I re-watched "Major League" last night. It seemed apt. I should go get an Indians jersey with "99 Vaughn" on the back. That'd rule. The Phillies lost to Florida, putting them 2.5 games back for the NL Wild Card. I cry.

Whoosh. Felix, tomorrow. I'll be like 12 rows back from home plate, and of course, I'll be wearing the shirt. I'm really hoping to get a good look at his pitching from really close up. Should be awesome.

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