Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ichiro Suzuki and the Mariners make their first-ever appearance at Nationals Park.
The only Mariner of significance from that previous visit still with the club is the great Ichiro Suzuki, who even at age 37 remains one of the most-exciting players in baseball to watch. Enjoy these next three nights, because the star right fielder is indeed one-of-a-kind. There's at least one other familiar face in Seattle's lineup tonight: Adam Kennedy, who never panned out here last season but tonight is batting third for the Mariners (who obviously have some offensive issues).
Livan Hernandez takes the mound for the Nationals, once again batting eighth. Ian Desmond returns to the lineup after missing Sunday's game with a sore thigh muscle.
Updates to come...
MARINERS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Chance of storms, 82 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS7:08 p.m. -- And away we go with a strike from Livan Hernandez from Ichiro Suzuki. Remember those big crowds from the weekend? Yeah, not tonight. I'll be surprised if they announce more than 20,000 for this one.
RF Jayson Werth
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Laynce Nix
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
P Livan Hernandez
SS Ian Desmond
RF Ichiro Suzuki
SS Brendan Ryan
3B Adam Kennedy
1B Justin Smoak
2B Dustin Ackley
LF Carlos Peguero
CF Franklin Gutierrez
C Chris Gimenez
P Doug Fister
7:20 p.m. -- Well, that didn't go quite as well as the Nats hoped. Four of the first five batters to face Hernandez produced singles, with RBI coming from Adam Kennedy (he now has 22 for the season, only nine fewer than he had all last year in D.C.) and Dustin Ackley. Fortunately, an incredibly heads-up play from Ryan Zimmerman and Livo produced an inning-ending, 5-1 double play. With runners on the corners, Carlos Peguero hit a pop-foul behind third base. Zim made the routine catch, then immediately fired back to Livo, who stormed over to cover third. Justin Smoak, for some reason, took a step off the bag and couldn't get back in time. Bizarre ending to the inning, which ends with the Mariners up 2-0.
7:30 p.m. -- Better stuff from Hernandez in the top of the second. Despite a leadoff single to Franklin Gutierrez, he escaped without further damage, getting Ichiro to ground out to end the inning. By the way, how often do you see the highest-paid player on each team (Werth, Ichiro) both leading off? Weird.
7:37 p.m. -- Not much going on at the plate for the Nats through two innings. Werth led off the first with a single but was erased on a double play from Zimmerman. And then Doug Fister retired the side in the second, striking out Danny Espinosa to end it. Still 2-0 M's after two.
7:48 p.m. -- Another run for Seattle in the third after Brendan Ryan smokes a leadoff double and scores later on a fielder's choice (with a nice play by Morse at first base to at least get one out on the play). Livo just does not look sharp at all tonight. He's working very deliberately, and the Mariners are squaring everything up. It's now 3-0 in the middle of the third.
8:05 p.m. -- Livo can't even get the opposing, American League pitcher out. Doug Fister picks up his first career hit and RBI with a single to right, scoring Franklin Gutierrez and making it 4-0 in the fourth. Then again, Livo isn't alone in this department. That's four hits surrendered to AL pitchers in the last four games. That's not good.
8:10 p.m. -- So not only did Werth shave his beard, he also just walked up to the plate to a new song. No Guns 'n' Roses. I don't know what the song was he walked up to, or who performs it, but it was definitely different. The end result, of course, was the same: A rolled-over groundball to short.
8:17 p.m. -- Still not much going on offensively for the Nats. Zim had a swinging bunt for a single, but that was it for the bottom of the fourth. They've produced two singles off Fister and no runs. Still 4-0.
8:23 p.m. -- Wow, Livo's done two batters into the top of the fifth. Ten hits allowed, five runs (so far). He wasn't exactly helped by Werth, who tried to bare-hand Brendan Ryan's base hit, dropped the ball and allowed Ryan to take an extra base (and eventually score on Kennedy's second RBI single of the night). That's now five errors for Werth this season, the same number Espinosa has committed at second base despite a lot more chances. Ryan Mattheus out of the bullpen to replace Livan in what is now a 5-0 game and getting uglier by the minute.
8:44 p.m. -- Nice job by Mattheus, retiring all six batters he's faced and not letting a ball out of the infield. Now, if the Nats could just get anything going at the plate...
8:56 p.m. -- On the bright side, they finally scored. Bernadina singled home Desmond with one out in the sixth. But moments later, Zimmerman grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, his second inning-ending double play of the game. Zim wasn't happy about it; he slammed his helmet to the turf. It's now 5-1 after six.
9:02 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 21,502. Better than I thought it would be when the game began.
9:10 p.m. -- There's a big-time storm fast-approaching from the west. You can see some lightning off in the distance. Can they finish this game before it hits?
9:16 p.m. -- Elsewhere in the majors ... Wily Mo Pena (yes, Wily Mo Pena) was called up by the Diamondbacks today after crushing the ball at Class AAA. And he proceeded to crush the ball now that he's back in the majors. Just homered in the top of the fifth at Kansas City.
9:32 p.m. -- That's one run and three hits in eight innings now against Doug Fister. Or is it Don Drysdale? I can't tell the difference.
9:37 p.m. -- Laynce Nix, by the way, left tonight's game with a sore left Achilles' tendon. He's listed as day-to-day.
9:42 p.m. -- Fister has never pitched more than eight innings in 52 career starts, and he's not going to get a chance here. Closer Brandon League is on to pitch the ninth for the Mariners, who still lead 5-1.
9:59 p.m. -- Well, this just got interesting at last. The Nats have rallied to make it 5-2, and with two on and two out, Espinosa is stepping to the plate representing the tying run. And League has just been pulled from the game after taking a comebacker from Morse in the leg. It'll be David Pauley to try to record the final out, and he's got as much time as he needs to get warm. Could be a while.
10:03 p.m. -- Espinosa singles on the first pitch he sees, scoring Hairston. Its' 5-3, and now Wilson Ramos is at the plate representing the winning run. What a tuern of events.
10:04 p.m. -- Holy cow. Wilson Ramos: 3-run homer. Nats win, 6-5. Holy cow.