The Kansas City Royals squeaked by the Seattle Mariners 3-2, in a game that may have been lost by a Mariners Fan who interfered on a play in the 8th inning, denying the Mariners a possible tie game at the time. This game featured a little of everything including great starting pitching by both clubs. The Royals sent Zach Greinke last years Cy-Young winner to the mound tonight riding a streak of 29 scoreless innings pitched against the Mariners, and he pitched a gem. Greinke mixed his fastball with his great curve all-night, keeping the Mariners guessing and only allowed 1 run on 2 hits through 7 innings of work.
Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched another solid game though he was charged with all three of the Royals runs. Rowland-Smith was in command of his pitches early on and pitched well enough to win, but instead will go to 1-8 on the year. The Mariners staked their starter with a run in the third on a perfectly executed squeeze-play by Jack Wilson who laid down a bunt to score Michael Saunders. The Mariners have tried the squeeze a few times without success before tonight including the botched effort by Eric Byrnes way back in April which led to the release of Byrnes. The Royals were kept scoreless until Wilson Betemit hit one out in the top of the fifth, Betemit would go on to have a big night driving in all three of the Royals runs. Rowland-Smith has a tendency to lose his composure with runners on base and tonight was no different. The big Aussie gave-up a double with one down in the sixth, then loaded the bases with a walk to Brian Butler followed by a pitch that grazed the foot of Jose Guillen, setting the stage for Betemit to drive-in another run.
Sean White came in to the game with a runner on first in the top of the 8th and went on to do what Sean White will do, which is give-up runs in the late innings. Sean White has an ERA of over 7 and just when you try to forget about him he seems to show up like a reoccurring nightmare. For the second night in a row the camera showed Brian Sweeney warming up and I thought for sure he would get the call, but once again Wakamatsu went with one of his favorites.
The bottom of the 8th was interesting to say the least as the Jack Wilson got on with a one out single that should have been an out. Ichiro came up and moved Wilson to second on a single to right setting the stage for Wilson to swipe third for his first stolen base of the year. Chone Figgins who has been clutch all season with runners on third and less than two-outs, drove in Wilson with a fly to left, making it a 3-2 game. Russell Branyan then drilled a ball right over the bag at first and as Ichiro was closing in on third and possibly coming in to score a fan reached down and grabbed the ball stopping play! This game may be the first loss of the year that can be blamed on a lame fan. Wakamatsu went out to try to argue that Ichiro would have scored were it not for fan-interference, but the umpires didn’t go for it. The replay actually showed Ichiro was not at third when the fan touched the ball; it also appeared to me that Ichiro was not running full-speed on the crack of the bat which is just as disturbing. Either way Jose Lopez choked again hitting a weak grounder to third with runners on 2nd and 3rd with the game in the balance. For the second night in a row the Mariners did get something going in the 9th as Casey Kotchman singled through the same hole on the left side of the infield that he hit one through last night in the 10th. Unfortunately Michael Saunders followed and went down on strikes as did Ryan Langerhans to end the game.
On a positive note for the second night in a row Dave Sims was not on TV calling the game. I am not sure if he is on vacation or perhaps FSN has received enough complaints that Sims was sent down to AAA or wherever. Dave Sims is hard to listen to especially with his East Coast bias and his rambling irrelevant monologues. Maybe Dave Sims should just get a blog like me where he can ramble on without irritating so many people…..http://jeffsmariners.com