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Mariners Win, Let's Have A Picnic

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Mariners continue their excellent record on Memorial Day

San Diego Padres v Seattle Mariners
No Holiday From Hugs
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Mariners entered this game with the best record in baseball when playing on Memorial Day, at 24-12. Things looked a little dicey here early on, with the Mariners hitters struggling to score runs against escaped Wilding Andrew Cashner, but Nate Karns held down the fort long enough for someone in the dugout to drop a flowerpot onto each batter's head and remind them how to score runs, and the record remains untarnished: 25-12! That's especially impressive when you consider how many terrible iterations of the Mariners that number represents. Anyway, we won, let's have a picnic.

First Inning:

I love writing about Nathan Karns. He is so cerebral and focused in his approach, and while his stuff isn't world-burning, he pitches as a man with a plan (a canal, Panama). Karns gave up eight hits today but only two runs, with one walk and six strikeouts, and earned his fifth win. He never threw more than twenty pitches in an inning, which might not sound impressive, except it's so darn consistent. Karns started the game by throwing three 93 mph fastballs to John Jay just off-center and struck him out on four pitches. After getting Will Myers into a 1-2 count, Myers sent a weak chop in Cano's direction that Robi couldn't quite handle barehanded, and then advanced to second when Iannetta airmailed a pickoff attempt into right field. Karns came right back and struck out Yangervis Solarte on a nasty series of pitches to end the inning:

The fourth pitch there is an 82 mph knuckle curve that took a Olympic-sized dive to fool Solarte into swinging. You should enjoy that pitch with my famous watermelon-rum salad:

  • Slice up a watermelon into cubes or use a melonballer if you fancy. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of sugar, about a teaspoon of chile powder, an eighth-teaspoon cayenne, a few tablespoons of rum, juice of half a lime, and some fresh mint cut into ribbons.
  • Alternately, just drink the rum. I'm not trying to tell you how to live.

In the Mariners' half of the inning, Seth Smith initiated his Seth Smith Revenge Tour 2016 against his old team by taking a pitch on the outside corner and turning it into a nifty double by making like a hot dog vendor and hustling his buns. But alas, the Mariners were unable to bring him home after Nelson Cruz hit a weak comebacker to Cashner after staring at two center-cut fastballs, and things were starting to feel unpleasantly familiar. Maybe just the rum, then.

Second Inning:

Melvin Upton, Jr. singled past a diving Shawn O'Malley and proceeded to steal second base. One thing about Karns's delivery is he is slow to the plate, but I'm worried Iannetta is starting to gain a reputation as someone you can steal on; the Padres had two stolen bases in this inning. A Brett Wallace groundout moved Upton to third and then Bethancourt hit an RBI single before Karns was able to escape the inning. For their part, the Mariners put together an extremely ugly inning that featured Kyle Seager being called out on strikes after two hideous bunt attempts (WHY), a Lind strikeout, and a Dae Ho groundout. What's that? No rum left? Time for one of my friend Courtney's Knock-You-Naked Margaritas:

  • In a blender, combine: one bottle Corona or similarly tasteless beer, one can frozen limeade, one can Sprite (open it ahead of time so it goes as flat as possible), juice of one lime, a slug of triple sec, and as much tequila as you can fit into the blender without it spilling over. It's not fancy but it'll get the job done.

Third and Fourth Innings:

Nothing much happened here. Have another drink. (You can make it with just Sprite and limeade and lime juice if you want. You probably should. These things catch up to you fast.) Oh, one thing that did happen was Nate Karns struck out Daniel Norris on a nasty 12-6 curveball:

Yowza! Look at that little happy hop. You go on with yourself, Nate. Help yourself to anything you want. In fact, let me bring out this bottle special, just for you.

Fifth Inning:

This was the Inning of Kyle Seager, Part One. Seager made two dazzling defensive plays, charging a ball to make a barehand toss to put out speedy Alexei Ramirez, and then snagging a line drive from John Jay to help Karns record his first 1-2-3 inning. He started off the Mariners' part of the fifth inning by getting Cashner's first walk of the day. Then Adam Lind singled by hitting a ball off the absolute last inch of the bat which somehow snergled its way into center field (please don't use up all your BABIP luck in the Vedder Cup, Adam):

Dae Ho then walloped a ball that should have been a double play, but Dae Ho leaped like a graceful ballerina to avoid stepping on the outstretched leg of Will Myers and snapping it in two and was ruled safe at first. Unfortunately, Chris Iannetta's freefall towards the Mendoza line continues, as he decided to do what Lee could not and grounded into a double play to end the inning.

  • Disappointment like this requires carbs and cheese, so why not try making your own ricotta? It's ridiculously easy and just requires milk, heavy cream, a little vinegar and some cheesecloth. This makes the stuff from a tub look like packing material. Spread a little on some slices of good crusty bread and soon you won't even remember what RISP stands for.

Sixth Inning:

This was Karns's wobbliest inning, although he didn't pitch particularly poorly. Six innings has been about the upper reach of Karns's effectiveness this season, but at only 68 pitches, Servais decided to stick with the 6'5" hurler. Things did not go well: Matt Kemp started off by hitting a ground-rule double, then Solarte hit a squibber back to Karns that should have been an easy out, but Karns dropped it and then muffed the throw to first for two on with no out. However, Dae Ho Lee is eager to show off to his fans just how athletic a big man can be, and when Melvin Upton sent a grounder his way, Lee snagged it to make a nifty throw to second, then hustled back to first to finish the double play. Unfortunately, Brett Wallace, who has the athletic build of the sidekick in a 1940s comic strip, sent a fly into left field that Seth Smith lost in the sun, letting it fall for the ugliest double you'll see all season. 2-0 Padres before Bethancourt flew out to end the inning, and Karns was at 82 pitches, well past his danger threshold of 76.

In the bottom of the sixth, Aoki reached on catcher interference and Seth Smith felt very badly about screwing up his revenge tour and roped a double, scoring Aoki all the way from first. Fun fact: the two doubles Smith hit today matched his season total of doubles. Here's hoping this represents a turning point for the re-emergence of Extra-Bases Dad. Nelson Cruz also redeemed himself for missing the filet mignon Cashner threw him earlier and sent a single up the middle, and Seth Smith turned on the Baserunning Jets he got from the Sharper Image as an early Father's Day gift and scored to tie the game. Then Kyle Seager came up, and he's really sorry about that series against the Twins and hopes you will accept this as an apology.

  • An inning like this deserves a palate cleanser. Try my favorite cold squash salad: with a peeler or spiralizer or mandoline, thinly slice a variety of yellow and green squash. Take a jar of sundried tomatoes packed in herbed oil and chop up a handful of tomatoes, then add that and enough oil from the jar to coat the squash. Squeeze a lemon in (you might add some of that lemon zest too) and season generously with flake salt and coarsely ground pepper. Chill like your team is up 4-2.

Seventh Inning:

It surprised me to see Karns again in this inning, but he quickly dispelled that concern by disposing of Derek Norris, again, on a 95 mph fastball. Karns was clearly pumped in this game, hopping off the mound after eliciting a strikeout to end an inning, or clenching his fist in disappointment after issuing a walk. He then got Alexei Ramirez to pop out, then went after John Jay again, with the same series of pitches that had been effective against him in the first inning. However, this time Jay would not be fooled, doubling to right field and ending Karns's day, who received a very nice standing ovation from the crowd at Safeco as he walked off the field. In came CURPHUS, aka Steven David Johnson, who is intent on proving to you that he's not just a stock player in a baseball video game and did so by throwing Alexei Ramirez five strikes in a row:

Five straight fastballs, all ranging between 88 and 92 mph. Karns gave Stevie a nice hand from the dugout.

  • Time for some protein! I like chicken thighs because they are cheap and hold up really well on the grill. Make up a little marinade of some olive or peanut oil, soy and fish sauce, lime juice, jarred ginger and garlic, and some sambal oelek or sriracha or sweet chili sauce, throw the thighs in there (I do it in a ziploc) and keep it in the fridge for an hour or until you're ready to grill, five minutes per side over medium--not too hot, not too cool, just like a Steve Johnson fastball.

Eighth Inning:

Joaquin Benoit came on--remember him?--and dismissed the Padres with one blink of his lovely sea-green eyes. Then the Mariners, all full of protein, decided to UNLEASH SOME FURY on poor Brandon Maurer (remember him?). After striking out his trade partner Seth Smith, Maurer walked Canó, then threw Cruz a pitch that was low in the zone but still enough in the zone that Cruz punished it into center field. The Padres wanted no part of Kyle Seager and put him on to face Lind, which would ordinarily be a good idea except Adam Lind is at the part of the movie where his memory starts comes back in a rush and OH YEAH I AM AN MLB HITTER!





(it'd be so great if MLB made embeddable videos readily available, wouldn't it?)

Peralta came on and closed out the game and he didn't look great but whatever, Mariners win, enough cooking, let's go get ice cream.