Sunday, July 20, 2014

Game of the Day (7/19/14)

Mariners 3, Angels 2 (12). Seattle began the game with All-Star starter Felix Hernandez on the mound; LA countered with bemoaned All-Star snub Garrett Richards. So that's at least a mildly interesting pitching matchup.

Both starters were flawless in the first, and Richards duplicated the effort in the second. Howie Kendrick and David Freese walked with one out in the bottom of the inning, but Efren Navarro, the previous day's hero, lined into a double play to end the threat. The spotless pitching resumed after that, with Mike Trout's double in the bottom of the fourth making him the only other baserunner to reach through five.

Dustin Ackley got the first Mariner hit of the game, leading off the top of the sixth with a double; one out later, Jesus Sucre singled him home to open the scoring. Hernandez kept the bases clear in the bottom of the sixth, while Richards worked around a Logan Morrison walk in the top of the seventh. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton both drew walks in the bottom of the seventh, and Kendrick hit an infield single; shorstop Brad Miller's throwing error on the play allowed Pujols to come in with the tying run. Freese then grounded to third, with Hamilton getting thrown out trying to score the go-ahead run, and Hernandez worked through the next two hitters to keep the tie intact.

Richards set the Mariners down in order in the eighth, and Yoervis Medina relieved Hernandez in the bottom of the inning. His appearance began with a plunking of John McDonald, but Medina recovered to retire the next two batters. After a wild pitch and a Pujols IBB, Joe Beimel relieved and got Josh Hamilton to fly out. The newly-acquired Huston Street managed around a Kyle Seager single in the top of the ninth, and Brandon Maurer allowed a leadoff double to Kendrick, then cut through the next three Angels to send the game to extras.

Ackley singled off of Joe Smith in the top of the tenth and was left on; McDonald drew a walk from Fernando Rodney in the bottom and was erased on a double play. Kevin Jepsen was flawless in the eleventh, while Dominic Leone gave up a single to Hamilton, then saw him caught stealing.

Joe Thatcher relieved to start the twelfth and promptly allowed consecutive doubles to Seager and Morrison, putting Seattle in front; he was hustled from the mound in favor of Mike Morin, who allowed a bunt hit to Endy Chavez, struck out Ackley (with Chavez stealing second on strike 3), and intentionally walked Miller (who's hitting .203/.272/.324) to load the bases. Justin Smoak was summoned to hit for Sucre, and singled in the inning's second run. Morin then retired the next two hitters to end the inning. Freese led off the bottom of the twelfth with a homer, which prompted Charlie Furbush to relieve Leone; Furbush set down all three Angels he faced to end the game.

This game featured the same two teams and same final score as yesterday's best, and both also went to extra innings. They both also featured hefty strikeout totals (24 this time). And yet, they still managed to be quite different - there were fewer runners on base for most of this game than the last, and the starters were brilliant instead of merely good. And the final extra inning, with its barely-scored second run in the top half and homer in the bottom, was substantially more eventful. Really, they were about as different as it's possible for two highly-similar games to be.

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