When was the last time the Mariners were at the top of their division? I do believe it was back in 2003. Hell, when was the last time the Mariners were 2 games over .500? I think that was also sometime in 2003.
To answer yesterday's questions, it appears that while Marquis didn't hit a home run off Lidle, he did get the only Cardinal XBH of the game with a double off of Lidle, as Jimmy Rollins ended his streak at 38 and the Phillies went to 0-3. Kris Benson did just fine, but the rest of his team couldn't score any runs. Silva walked 2 and struck out 2, which means he's already given up 2/9 as many walks as he did last year. And Pedro's poor little toes were enough to get him through a lousy 6 innings where he gave up 4 hits, 5 runs, walked 5, struck out 6, but still got the win because Ramon Ortiz and the Nats were even worse.
As for Gil Meche, while he threw approximately two hundred pitches in the first inning alone, he settled down after a while and lasted 5.1 innings, walking 2, striking out 6, and only gave up two runs, one of which was when he was running out of gas and Eric Chavez clobbered him for a home run. Of course, I'm not sure it counts to say he struck out 6 when they were almost all Nick Swisher.
Yes, the Mariners won 6-2. Infact, they won it without anyone having to strangle the bullpen. Jake Woods made his Mariner debut and mostly did okay. Putz even pitched a perfect 9th inning, striking out the side. Every guy in the Mariners lineup got at least one hit. What more could you want?
I sort of experienced this game partially on the radio, partially online, and partially on TV, so I don't have that much to comment on. I was actually driving south on Highway 99 listening to the game on the radio and passed Safeco JUST as Carl Everett hit his home run. I opened the window and could hear the crowd cheering and saw the "Home Run" animation up on the big screen, which was sort of neat. I arrived at my friend's house just after hearing Betancourt hit the single to knock in Reed following the failed attempt at a squeeze -- trust me, it's pretty funny hearing the radio announcers argue over whether they're going for a squeeze play, and even funnier after it actually happens -- and we watched the 2nd-6th and the 9th innings on TV.
I noticed that the Oakland A's are really going for the beardo look these days. I don't remember Swisher, Chavez, Kotsay, Johnson, etc having quite so much facial hair last year. On the other hand, given that the A's tend to have groups of guys who sort of look the same -- last year it was Hatty and Kielty (OH EMM GEE, WHERE *IS* THE HEATMISER? SACRAMENTO?? HE HAD OPTIONS LEFT?!), Chavez and Kotsay and Ginter, Street and Duchscherer, Johnson and Byrnesie, etc. It's almost like the cliques in high school who go to the mall together and get the same haircuts and accessories and knee socks and all.
Anyway, the reason I didn't see part of the game is because my friend had acquired a copy of 実況パワフルプロ野球, aka Jikkyou Power Pro Yakyuu aka Pawapuro aka whatever, for the Japanese PS2, and we spent a while playing it. I think the last time I played this game was goofing around in videogame shops in Tokyo two years ago. Fortunately, the version he got is Pawapuro 10, which has all the 2003 data anyway!
We played two games, and I lost them both, but it was pretty fun. The first one, we played Chunichi vs. Nippon Ham at the Tokyo Dome. The game informed me that Angel Echevarria was having a very bad day and I would have to find someone else to DH for my Fighters, so as a joke I inserted Yukio Tanaka, who should only be doing cleanup at the Tokyo Dome if he's on the janitorial staff. However, don't get me wrong, the Dragons won by a score of 11-0 because I suck.
In the second game, we played Hanshin vs. Lotte - now, keep in mind, this is not the Hanshin and Lotte who played each other in the 2005 Japan Series -- this is Hanshin 2003, who DID make it to the Japan Series, vs. Lotte 2003, who were still finishing in the bottom half of the Pacific League. "What? Masato Watanabe is a TERRIBLE shortstop, what do you MEAN Kosaka's having a bad day and Nishioka hadn't been drafted yet?" Hell, I didn't even have Shunsuke Watanabe to start -- we were sort of wondering what the game would make him look like. So I got to deal with a mostly incompetent lineup of Lotte hitters failing to hit Kei Igawa, while Hiroyuki Kobayashi got knocked out in three innings, and Nate Minchey finished up the game for my Marines. Unlike the slaughter in the first game, I only lost this one 3-2. It's really pretty cool how despite being a goofy cartoony game, they really portray the players accurately. Nothing like a bobblehead limbless Jeff Williams throwing sidearm fastballs until he falls over, I tell you.