- The two teams wore replica uniforms from 1909, and all of Safeco was caught in the middle of throwback fever with old-timey video updates, swing music, and some guy dressed like President Taft in the front row. In the third inning, the FOX crew put a headset on Felix Hernandez to ask him what it's like to be the Best Fucking Pitcher on the planet, and what he thought of said throwback uniforms. He made it pretty clear that he disliked both the uniforms and the lip service he was getting after being asked if he would ever join the King's Court in a game he wasn't pitching in. Also, play-by-play announcers Justin Kutcher and Eric Karros explained the M's front office strategy around Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin, favoring their status as Baseball Players® above all the other people who just get paid to ride the team bus or something. Sometimes ROOT Sports makes me roll my eyes. I wouldn't have minded them today.
- Endy Chavez drew two walks in the first two innings of the game. He had 3 walks over his past 200 plate appearances. On September 18th of last year, Miguel Olivo drew 3 walks in that awful 18 inning game against the Orioles. The Mariners lost both games. Sometimes surprises are exciting, sometimes they are just stupid numbers on a page.
- In the 2nd inning, Justin Smoak hit a home run on a first-pitch fastball from Jeff Samardzija that was immediately followed up by a Mike Zunino double, and a Dustin Ackley RBI single. A current of excitement shot through the Seattle air, knocking over drinks from tables and causing grown men and women to stand up and shout nonsense at their TVs. It felt akin to that feeling you get when you play the same goddamn videogame level over and over and over and then all of a sudden you just beat it. You aren't sure how it happened, but just FINALLY. Dustin Ackley got thrown out stealing less than a minute later. Sometimes you just can't catch a break.
- The Cubs pulled ahead in the 6th off Nate Schierholtz and Alfonso Soriano RBI singles to make the game 3-2. Things were getting dire by the 8th, until Cubs' reliever James Russell gave up a 1-out single to Kendrys Morales, who was quickly lifted off the bag for Jason Bay's quicker feet. With the game on the line, Bay was picked off in limbo between first and second, and an exasperated Screw It emerged from the 34,630 baseball fans at Safeco Field watching yet another game fall apart after preventable mistakes. But wouldn't you know, Raul Ibanez, yes- Father Ibanez came through in the clutch with a 2-out double! And up next was Justin Smoak, who singled into left to send Ibanez to third! Except he went home. And got thrown out. Look at this, the ball was caught before Ibanez even tagged third. He didn't run through a signal either, he just...kept going. Sometimes you have flashes of youth that shine through your grizzled, veteran exterior. Sometimes you remind us that you just turned 41.
- In the top of the 9th inning, Dustin Ackley fell on top of his catching hand while diving for an Alfonso Soriano popup. He immediately called the trainers over and was pulled from the game for X-rays. Thankfully, it turns out he just sprained his thumb, and it was nothing serious. The play would have been great too, this was no fault of the outfield-conversion experiment. But then something happened that has (to my knowledge and internet search ability) never happened in an interleague game in baseball history. Because Jason Bay pinch ran for Kendrys Morales in the 8th to become the DH, and because Michael Saunders couldn't hit or field after tearing his fingernail last night, Eric Wedge was stymied with only two outfielders. So he took advantage of a little used provision that states you can place your DH into a spot in the defense while forfeiting his spot as Designated Hitter, moving the pitcher into the batting order. Jason Bay took over RF and Endy Chavez moved into CF to replace Dustin Ackley. Pitcher Charlie Furbush was entered into the official scorebook in the 8th spot in the lineup, although he didn't bat (Joe Saunders would make a plate appearance in the bottom of the 11th). As far as I know, and please, help me on this, I think this may have been the only time since interleague play that an American League team played without a DH, sending a pitcher to bat in the same game that an NL team played with a DH at an American League ballpark. A perfect reversal. Sometimes baseball is exciting, even when your team loses.
- Oh yeah, and Endy Chavez came through with a 2-out RBI single to tie the game and send it into extras, but fucking Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run HR in the 11th off of Oliver Perez and as punishment, Eric Wedge didn't even make him bat to save face when the pitchers spot came up with 2 outs at the end of the game. With no position players available to pinch-hit, Wedge was forced to send a pitcher out for the Mariners' last try, and he went with Joe Saunders, who has had a year of hitting experience in Arizona. But it did nothing tonight. Whatever. Sometimes we oh screw it.
The Mariners look to take the series from the Cubs tomorrow at 1:10 against Cubs' RHP Edwin Jackson. Maybe Brad Miller will get his first hit! Maybe we'll see some Carlos Peguero to fix our now depleted outfield! Maybe Jeremy Bonderman will pitch a perfect gam-ahahahahhahahahhahahhahhahaha
Here's to an M's victory tomorrow, regardless.