The Mariners played a baseball game in ten innings in which they 1) won 2) did no deplete their bullpen 3) did not succumb to the rally monkey. Felix Hernandez, who was scheduled to start, was sidelined by the flu but ably replaced by Hisashi Iwakuma.
The first inning didn't go that well for Nick Tropeano:
- Lead off double by Norichika Aoki
- Walk to Seth Smith
- Single from Robinson Cano
- Sac fly from Nelson Cruz
- Walk to Kyle Seager
- Sac fly from Adam Lind
- Chris Iannetta called out on strikes.
Wait, all they got was two runs? Maybe the inning went fine for Nick Tropeano. I'm sure not getting more runs won't matter at all.
The real highlight of the inning wasn't when the Mariners loaded the bases twice to score two runs (well when you put it like that, Meg). It was this inning ending double play started by Robinson Cano and finished with a bit of flare from Ketel Marte and Adam Lind. In case you were wondering, this is what playing baseball without double sports hernias looks like. Man, it looks so smooth and easy.
The more you watch it, the more impressive it gets. https://t.co/Gl1SqnA7Jz https://t.co/cEEm5hkbiM— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 23, 2016
2nd and 3rd Innings
The Mariners didn't score but they did get familiar with the lefty strike zone, get picked off at first, and contemplate life with more than two runs. They saw a butterfly flying through the outfield air and wondered, "What does that little guy think about?" I guess they'll never know.
Mike Trout singled. But then Albert Pujols Pujols into a double play and thank goodness. Because the next man up was outfielder and lead vocalist in the Angels CCR cover band Kole Calhoun, who hit a solo shot off of Kuma. It was not a good pitch.
C.J. Cron, first baseman and lead guitarist of the Angels CCR cover band, hit a solo shot, his first of the year, on an 0-1 splitter. This was a much better pitch. Kuma pitched admirably, filling in for an ill Felix. He was efficient, throwing 89 pitches over eight innings. He was able to get ahead in the count with a good fastball, get a lot of ground balls that got gobbled up by solid defense. He gave up the two home runs, but wasn't really pressured. He was the first Mariners starter to go eight innings, he saved the bullpen, and allowed us to preserve Mike Montgomery in case Felix isn't able to go tomorrow. Good job, Bear King.
Ok so. Here's the thing. I have no gosh darn idea. That's not true. I know what happened. Weird baseball happened. If I had listened to this game on the radio, I would have had no idea what was going on. With Adam Lind on first, Chris Iannetta fouled off a pitch. Easy. Adam Lind was on his way to second because he has decided he's a fast person (look, it's a thing he's doing right now). Adam Lind went back to first, but just sort of hung out in the general vicinity of the bag because play hadn't resumed. Chris Iannetta was thinking about all those home runs Mike Zunino is hitting in AAA. The home plate umpire was getting new balls (stop, you're gross). The play was dead. There was no baseball happening. The ball was dead. Fernando Salas hadn't engaged the rubber (again, you're very gross) but threw a pick off anyway because why not. The umps got together, and their conversation went something like this:
Ump 1: So is he out?
Ump 2: Wait, is it the third Friday of the month?
Ump 3: No, the fourth.
Ump 4: Ok, so we're in LA but not really in LA, because we're in Anaheim, and I saw an old woman sacrifice Mickey Mouse on an altar of "Make Baseball Fun Again" hats and then use his foam costume hands as a baseball glove, so....
Ump 1: So it's a balk.
Lind was awarded second for the aforementioned large-mouse-on-the-fourth-Friday-sacrifice reasons at which point Scioscia came out and grumbled in a way that was simultaneously annoying and right, and Lind was sent back to first. Then Scott Servais came out, invoking the ancient rules of "BUT HEY NO TAKE BACKSIES." Everyone yelled for a while, then play resumed. Lind, confused about why he wasn't on second and really wishing he was, decided being fast is part of his self-actualization plan and was promptly thrown out at second as Iannetta struck out. California, man. It changes people.
In the dugout, Kyle Seager wondered if the Mickey Mouse sacrifice thing would help him get the damn rally monkey off his back.
7th and 8th Inning
Man, what is that butterfly up to?
The physical effort demonstrated by Joel Peralta was what you would expect if I were to pitch against Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Kole Calhoun. That's not fair. I'm not 100% sure I could get the ball to the plate. I think I could, but I'm not certain. Obviously, me pitching against any major leaguer would make them look like Mike Trout. But I was nervous watching Peralta, despite him being an actual pro. But Joel huffed and puffed and blew the hardest part of the Angels lineup down. There is so much performance with Peralta. He'll adjust himself, stare down the batter, take his time, and then quick pitch Mike Trout for a swinging strikeout. It was nerve wracking, and Pujols rode a longgggg fly out to center field, but Peralta escaped unscathed.
Ketel Marte, batting right handed, singled on the first pitch and was moved over to second on a sacrifice from Aoki. Which brought up the beautiful gem himself, Franklin Gutierrez, to pinch hit for Seth Smith. And what a hit it was. GUTI GUTI GUTI singled to Mike Trout and Ketel "The Flash" Marte scored. Zoom zoom zip! Cano grounded into a force (Not-12:30-AM-edit: he didn't ground out so much as Andrelton Simmons dropped a pop up and got the force at second. No, you were writing a recap at midnight on a Friday. YOU.), and that brought up Cruz, who looked around and said, "I don't like being nervous" and lined a home run just over the short fence in left.
The guys were very excited:
Kyle Seager did his dance with the BABIP devil and was once again defeated, but it mattered not. Steve Cishek turned in another very smooth, very impressive inning, notched the save, and sent the team back to the clubhouse with a win and a smile, where the sweet musical stylings of Prince awaited them.
The Mariners are now 5-2 on this road trip. They're back to .500. They're third in the AL West, a game and a half back of the Rangers and the A's just like half of everyone predicted. The Angels still (probably) have to deal with Felix tomorrow. We will hopefully win in nine innings. Let's go crazy!