The Chicago Cubs halted the Seattle Mariners winning streak at six, winning 3-2 in a 13 inning thriller in front of 41,329 fans at Safeco field. This game had a little of everything today with the exception of a key clutch hit by the Mariners who had plenty of chances to complete the sweep. Felix Hernandez went 9 full innings, holding the Cubs to 2 runs before handing the ball off to our semi-shaky bullpen. Cubs starter Ted Lilly went six innings and only gave up one run in the 4th inning in what was to prove to be the start of innings today where the Mariners had chances to score more runs but choked. After Figgins came in on the RBI double by Mike Sweeney, Lopez hit a single to right but Lee Tinsley held up Sweeney at third where he would eventually die at. Both Gutierrez and Josh Wilson who got the start at first both fanned and Rob Johnson grounded out weakly to end the threat. I had a hunch right then it was going to be one of those days.
Today’s infield featured the double-Wilson look and Jack Wilson made several great plays at short and had 3 hits on the day. Josh Wilson on the other hand looked a little out-of-place at first and had a throwing error there. More importantly the Paper Boy had more than one chance to deliver at the plate, though he did score a run in the 7th after reaching base on an odd squibber to first and eventually was driven home off the bat of a Jack Wilson double. This game was tense the whole way and the noisy Cubs fans seemed to be riding on every pitch as most of our fans cheered their boys on in a more passive NW style. The loudest reception from the Cubs fans was reserved for Milton Bradley who came in to pinch-hit in the 9th. Bradley did manage to get a walk and was moved to second on a single by Jack Wilson. But once again the clutch-hit was nowhere to be found as Michael Saunders struck out and Ichiro grounded out leaving the winning run at second.
Once again in the bottom of the 10th the Mariners had a golden opportunity to score the winning run but failed to produce. In this case both Figgins and Sweeney walked to lead-off the inning followed by a Jose Lopez strike out. With Gutierrez at the plate the Mariners pulled of a double steal that brought Lou Piniella charging out of the dugout to argue the call. This was a critical juncture in the game and the play was indeed close from my point of view. It was a beautiful sight to see old Sweet Lou out there giving the third base umpire hell. Indeed it was probably the only time both the Mariners and Cubs fans were cheering together. I took the above photo of Lou knowing it may be the last time I ever see him in action so I apologize for the poor shot but I had to capture his spirit one more time.
After Lou settled down Gutierrez received a free-pass to load the bases with only one out. But on a day where it just wasn’t meant to be-both Josh Wilson and Alfonso went down on strikes. Brandon League came into pitch the 11th and 12th and kept us in this one with a marvelous outing, including striking out the side in the 12th. I am not sure why Wakamatsu didn’t leave him out to pitch the 13th, and indeed it proved fatal as Garret Olson and Sean White allowed the Cubs to score the go-ahead run on a single by Byrd scoring Soriano from second on a poor throw by Ichiro. The Mariners did get a runner on in the bottom half of the 13th on a Jack Wilson single, however he died there as Michael Saunders completed his 0-6 day with a final strike out to end the game.
So the streak is over after this long but interesting game and now it is on the road again starting with a series against the Brewers. Today’s game was the real deal and though we did not prevail it has been a great series with the Cubs that we won 2-1. I imagine the trade talks will really heat-up now especially with Eric Bedard coming back soon. We still have a lot of baseball ahead of us and as today’s game proved it aint over till the fat lady sings. http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chicago Cubs, Jack Wilson, Lou Piniella, seattle mariners