They Came to Play
The deck seemed stacked against Seattle's hometown heroes Tuesday as they took the field against the number one team in the Majors, the Boston Red Sox. Even facing off against a rookie, Alan Webster, not many were giving the M's a snowball's chance in a Texas midsummer night of overcoming Boston's own. But by the end of the first inning the scoreboard made perfectly clear that the outcome of this ballgame was still to be determined, but one thing was clear - the Seattle Mariners came to play ball.
The Sox new rookie pitcher, born in the winter of Raul Ibanez junior year, watched as Kendrys Morales homered and brought Ibanez in with him to start things off with a two run deficit. A top of the second inning homer from David Ortiz led to the Boston fans in attendance rallying up a Let’s go Red Sox chant but was quickly answered in the bottom of the same inning with a three run double from Seattle Short Stop, Brad Miller, bringing the score to 5-1.
In the top of the third, the Red Sox reminded us why they are the Best team in baseball with a pair of two-run homers to tie it up and a sacrifice fly leading to the a score which gave Boston the lead for the first time in this ballgame. But after Kendrys Morales again tied the score with a homerun in the bottom of the third, Sox manager John Farrell came to the mound to send young Mr. Webster to the showers. Undaunted by the bull-pen fresh Acevez, batting first against him, Michael Saunders saw his pitch and put the barrel of the bat to the ball for a triple to deep center bringing Kyle Seager into score.
Top of the fourth the Mariners were up 7 to 6 but Seattle Manager Eric Wedge decided to pull Iwakuma and send in Blake Beavan to throw. It’s been a pattern for Wedge this year not to dance with the girl that brung him but to cut in all across the dance floor. A good pop to right center from Pedoia brought in Nava to tie it up at seven. In the bottom of the fourth Craig Breslow took over on the mound becoming the third Boston pitcher in four innings of baseball. Botom of the same, with two man out and Miller on first, Morales returned to the plate to a roar from the Seattle crowd and hit single that sent Miller around to third. Next up at the plate Kyle Seager faced down Breslow looking for his second score of the night but it was not to be as after he connected with the ball it found its way into a Boston glove to end the inning.
The Bottom of the fifth started to blur with two Sox up and two Sox down in short order until Jackie Bradley hit one deep into right field that couldn’t be caught on its way over the line, though it fell into the field it had clearly tagged in above the homerun line. And just like that the Red Sox were up eight to seven over the Seattle Mariners which is the tale of the inning as it was scoreless turn at bat for the Ms. Another inning brought another pitcher for the team from the Great Northwest, Danny Farquhar took the mound like a man on a mission and struck out Victorino swinging. Things got interesting to wake up the Seattle crowd when Victorino walked and Ortiz doubled to left bringing Napoli to the plate with the corners painted. With a full a count and, and two men on, Farquhar struck out Napoli and visibly sighed and took a moment to wipe the sweat from his brow as Saltalamachia up to swing. And swing he did and...yes sir indeed he swung for the fences but connected with only air to bring up the Mariners for the Bottom of inning six. After two batters John Farrell decided that when in Rome and swapped out his own pitchers in a Wedgian stratagem trading Bailey for Breslow. With two outs and a man on, hometown hero, Raul Ibanez, hit a hopper into a fielder’s waiting glove and was thrown out at home to end the inning.
Eric Wedge would not be out-pitched by any Manager in Major League Baseball so he dug deep into his bull pen to pull Furbush out to confuse the Media and hopefully the Boston hitters. If you are keeping score the count is now Mariners four and Red Sox three, uh pitchers that is. The seventh inning stretch came without the visiting team adding to their one run advantage. Stunningly, Andrew Bailey returned to the mound to throw against Kendrys Morales to open the bottom of the inning. Meanwhile Eric Wedge may have been on the phone with Tacoma asking for the Rainier pitching corps to get on a bus quick.
Victorino opened the eighth with a one run homer over the left field wall to widen the Boston lead to nine-seven. With one out and two men on, in a shocking turn of events, E.W. called out Capps from the Bull-pen. In a related story a balding Radio guy in the Press Box looked over his tablet P.C. and yelled down at the field You’re killin me SMALLS!! A little later with two men on Iglesias hit a line in to left center to send Ortiz home and Saltalamachia to third. Holt Singled to right and brought in Saltamachia. A conference on the mound was called by Eric, ”If you can’t beat ‘em, let everybody throw the ball once”. Wedge who called in Luetge to relieve Capps who struck out Bradley to bring up the M’s for the bottom of the eighth with the score now eleven to seven.
Tazawa came in for Boston on the mound as the Ms sought to climb out of a four-run hole. With men on first and third, Brad Miller came to the plate. The count full, one out and two on, Miller waited for the pitch as Tazawa eyed the Bull Pen before throwing. Swing and a short hopper to the first baseman would send Saunders home on the sacrifice from Miller bringing Nick Franklin up to swing. A swing and a miss for strike three from the rookie would leave the ballgame eleven to eight, Red Sox heading into the ninth inning. A mass exodus in the stands was the Seattle crowd s way of signaling that many of the faithful had already written this game off.
A nice double-play for the Ms brought the top of the Ninth to a close and Seattle needed at least three runs before three outs to keep their hopes alive of beating the Number One team in Baseball on this night. Euhara came in to close out the game for Boston. Ibanez and Morales both grounded out to the third and Kyle Seager came to the plate. With one ball and one strike a pop up straight up in the air that landed in the catcher’s mit brought the game to an end. The Mariners didn’t beat the number one team in Baseball, but they didn’t lay down for them either. On this night in Seattle, the boys in blue and white showed up and put up a fight. They didn’t come to lose, though lose they did. They came to play.
July 9, 2013/G. E. Cummings (The Radio Guy)