Hello friends! I do not know if you watched the game tonight. It would be okay if you didn’t. Tonight most of Lookout staff is taking the night off, including inimitable GIF master José Rivera, so I am going to attempt to represent this game for you using the Treasures of the Internet. On to the recap!
I don’t know if they had a BBQ smoker going right in front of the camera, or if it was a lingering haze of pain from last night, but things looked really smoky on the field. Speaking of lingering hazes of pain, despite a Seth Smith Walk (which is done in Rockports, obviously), Canó and Cruz were unable to advance him, with Canó popping up on the second pitch and Cruz striking out on four pitches. That had me like:
Coming into this game, Iwakuma had pitched 28 innings against the Royals, chalking up 33 Ks and just 3 BBs in that time. He quickly disposed of Alex Gordon on three pitches, then did the same for 80s teen movie villain Whitt Merrifield, and he had Kendrys Morales with two strikes before throwing a ball and causing Goldsmith to sigh heavily over the loss of the immaculate inning. Morales would go on to fight Kuma with a ten-pitch at-bat before eventually lining out to Marte. This seems like an auspicious start—but then, so did last night and we all know how that turned out.
Seager struck out with a super-ugly wave at a curveball. Adam Lind struck out with his patented “karate chopping some Styrofoam while standing on an invisible Ferris Wheel” swing. Ketel grounded out on three pitches.
Iwakuma pitched the Royals effectively, taking advantage of their aggressiveness to induce tons of easy grounders and pop flies that probably had Paxton SKYPOINTing from the dugout. Robertson made a nice play zooming in to catch a fly ball off the bat of Hosmer, and then another on a Perez fly ball. Kuma then came back to strike out Paulo Orlando, who is somehow only the third-most ridiculously named Royal, getting a spot of help from some nifty framing by Jesus Sucre. Kuma and Sucre reunited! That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
So the Mariners were being no-hit by Yordano Ventura, which is annoying to me because Ventura is a brat. So who is the most obvious candidate to break up a no-hitter? That’s right, it’s Jesus Sucre. Unfortunately, Sucre’s infield hit was then wiped away by a Daniel Robertson GGIDP (the extra G is for GRIT), and then Leonys swung at a first pitch to fly out, and I remembered how fragile happiness is, how fleeting.
Kuma got into a bit of a jam in the third inning, despite striking out the first two batters he faced. Jarrod Dyson sent an 84 mph curveball into center field to break up Kuma’s own bid at the no-hitter, because turnabout is fair play or some such nonsense, and then Alex Gordon snapped an 0-for-infinity by taking the first pitch he saw and depositing it into center field. But then Whit Merrifield, still worn out from pantsing all those nerds at summer camp, also swung at the first pitch and sent it straight into Robinson Canó’s orbit, who snagged it to end the inning. Whew.
Here’s a summary of the Mariners’ half of the fourth inning.
This is an Old Navy t-shirt. It is somehow both too short and too big. It is boxy and unflattering, sags in the arms and develops tears after one washing. It has no style, no grace, and is a t-shirt only in the most basic sense of the term, and it is this inning.
For the Royals’ turn, once again Kuma had them down to one out left in the inning. But then HP umpire Manny Gonzalez’s strike zone went through a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey kind of thing and suddenly Salvador Perez was standing on first base, looking just as surprised as Iwakuma. Kuma then decided to offer his slow curve to Paulo Orlando, despite the fact that opponents are hitting over .400 against it, who smacked it into center field. Runners on first and second for Cheslor Cuthbert, who hit the ball into left field. Perez ran for home and Seager made the smart choice to throw into second to nail Cuthbert, who was digging for a double. Run scored, but further damage averted.
Kyle Seager decided that first-pitch swinging could work for him, too, and smoked a double into the right field corner. Then Lind hit the ball as hard as he could, all the way out to the warning track, but hey it wasn’t a strikeout. Then Ketel hit a nice sac fly into right field to score Seager and just like that the Mariners had tied it up! Then Sucre almost had hit number two before the universe said whoa now and banged a hit off Ventura, which made for a nice change of pace, but Ventura was able to scramble off the mound and throw out the slow-moving Sucre. Still, that inning had me feeling quite fancy.
Meanwhile, Kuma was again efficient in a 1-2-3 inning.
Okay, after five innings of competent but fairly sleepy ball, things want crizzazzlebeans (©Nathan Bishop) here. In fact, I crawled up the mountain to the temple of exalted gif-master José just to capture this. So, after DRob grounded out on the first pitch and Martín failed to bunt his way on, Seth Smith used his DADPOWER to lace a single into center. Then Canó reached down to snatch a pitch out of Charon’s ferry and smoked it into the right field corner for a double. Manny Acta held Seth at third because even DADPOWER has its limits. Cruz then scorched a ball that missed being a home run by the width of a rack of ribs, and things were not looking good. But then:
That’s a wild pitch scoring two runners! The baseball gods had decided Cruz would get his RBIs, apparently. I still am somewhat confused about what happened here, but it would prove to be all the Mariners needed tonight.
The Royals would go quietly in their half of the inning, with Kendrys hitting into another one of those double plays that are so delightful.
The Mariners again are retired 1-2-3
Kuma retires Sal Perez on a first-pitch swinging popup, but then Orlando snuck a double past Seager and Cuthbert sacrified him over to third. After Kuma walked Escobar, Servais lifted him for Edwin Díaz. Here’s the thing with Díaz: he takes a few pitches to settle in. All of a sudden, the Royals were acting very un-Royalsy and taking a bunch of pitches. Finally, Jarrod Dyson grounded into Canó’s baseball-eating orbit, and the Mariners escaped the inning.
See these fries? They come from a cafeteria. They look good, but you know they are going to be nothing but a plate of disappointment. Somehow they will never be salty enough no matter how much salt you pour on. They will disintegrate like paper immediately in your mouth. They are not fries so much as they are a french-fry shaped pile of meh. This is the Mariners’ eighth inning.
(Confidential to the man shouting “Bil-ly Butler” at Canó: Change jobs, move out of your grandparents’ old house, quit spending so much time on Battle Bots message boards. Do something so you are not so tied to the past.)
Vidal Nuño (!) and Joaquin Benoit (!!!) came on to work a combined scoreless eighth inning, thanks in part to Kendrys Morales doing this:
Kendrys Morales just struck out on these pitches. pic.twitter.com/cMVnKgv3UH— Most Valuable Kate (@1nceagain2zelda) July 9, 2016
Here’s the Mariners’ ninth. You’re probably sick of this by now but it’s a bit and I’m nothing if not committed:
Okay, on to the real nail-biter part. Steve Cishek. Here’s how that went down:
- Batter One: Eric Hosmer. Swings at the first pitch and grounds it to Robinson “death to ground balls” Canó. Silly Hosmer. One down.
- Batter Two: Salvador Perez. Cishek never looked comfortable throwing to Perez. Perez looked plenty comfortable hitting a dinger off him. 3-2, Mariners.
- Batter Three: Paulo Orlando. This is like Cishek’s personal, hellish Groundhog Day. But this time he nails Orlando and although Sucre drops the third strike, he makes a solid throw to first. Two down.
Batter Four: Cheslor Cuthbert. Cishek strikes him out on four pitches. Losing streak snapped. Redemption had. Way to go, all around.