Mariners clip Birds 2-1, fly home after rough road trip

  The Seattle Mariners finished up a rough road trip by containing the St. Louis Cardinals to one run and going on to win the final game of the series 2-1. Jason Vargas was outstanding tonight going 7 2/3 innings and only giving up 5 hits and allowing no walks against a potent Cardinals offense, he now moves to 5-2 on the year. Jaime Garcia pitched a nice game but will pick-up his third loss of the year despite only giving up 5 hits and walking one tonight. Jason Vargas has been a shining star in an otherwise dismal year for the Mariners as he continues to get the job done on a regular basis.

   This was a fun game to watch, featuring a David and Goliath type match-up in front of 40,020 Cardinals fans mostly dressed in red and anticipating another slaughter by their sluggers against the hapless Mariners. Baseball is a major part of the culture in this part of the country and the fences are adorned with the faces of past heroes like Stan Musial, Bob Gipson and 87  year-old Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst who was interviewed before the game. I remember Schoendienst from when I was a kid rooting for the SF Giants and he managed the Cardinals winning the World Series in 1967. Red still hits fungos every day and sounded sharp as a tack in his interview. 

   Sometimes in a season like this it is nice to reflect and enjoy the rich history of this game rather than fret over the win-loss column. It also makes it easier to watch a game like tonight’s and just enjoy the quality plays. One of the most exciting plays of the night was watching Milton Bradley climb the fence in the 4th inning to rob Albert Pujols of a homer. Bradley jumped up and swatted a ball that had barely cleared the fence back in to play as if he was playing badminton,  holding Pujols to a double. Pujols would eventually score that inning for the Cards only run on the night, but Bradley’s play was spectacular and fun to watch.

  Offensively the Mariners picked up a run in the 4th when Josh Wilson hustled to break-up a double play allowing Milton Bradley to score on a grounder by Langerhans who got the start at first. The only other run for the Mariners came in 5th inning when Chone Figgins delivered a clutch 2-out double to score Michael Saunders from second and break the ugly 0-16 with RISP streak of the Mariners. But tonight really was all about Jason Vargas who knows how to execute the most basic of  pitching fundamentals ie: getting the first pitch in for a strike, which at one point in the game he had done in 14 out of 18 batters he faced. 

    Jose Lopez came out of the game in the sixth with an injury to his knee which is not good for the club as we seem to have half a dozen guys on the DL now.  Speaking of which, where are these guys? Josh Bard went down a month ago and seems to have disappeared off the map. Bedard seems to be in perpetual limbo, and Jack Wilson apparently left a game in the 6th inning because he was tired, also Mike Sweeney has been out on the longest 15 day DL I can remember. It all seems quite surreal as the AAA guys slowly have taken spots in the line-up over the last month or so leaving us with an ever-changing cast of characters with a new surprise line-up everyday.

   Well at last our battered sailors are making way for their home port after this 3-7 road trip,now  floating in the wake of their AL West rivals the Rangers and Angels who are starting to turn it on. Hope to make it down to the Safe to see the Reds this weekend or for sure when the Cubs and Lou Pinella come rolling in.

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