If you turned off today's game after the fifth inning, you'd be excused for thinking this was a really good game. James Shields and Taijuan Walker were in the middle of an impressive pitchers' duel. Both teams had been held scoreless to that point, with the Mariners having three hits to the Padres' one. But only one pitching staff could go the distance in the second half, and they weren't from San Diego.
Shields gave up a solo home run to Robinson Cano to start the sixth. He retired the next three batters in order, and everyone held their heads high, because that's definitely not insurmountable. But then "Big Game James" loaded the bases with two out in the seventh. Pat Murphy had seen enough, and Frank Garces came in from the bullpen. Cano struck again, singling up the middle to score another. But Will Venable gunned down Dustin Ackley, who tried to score from second on the play. Two run deficit after seven? Not so bad, especially since Walker left the game with an injury.
But unlike the Padres bullpen, the Mariners relievers were untouchable. So the gap only increased in the eighth when Seattle small-balled a run off Kevin Quackenbush. Nelson Cruz led off the inning with a single, and then went to third on Kyle Seager's double to right. A sacrifice fly from Austin Jackson plated Cruz easily. And because they're our natural, hated rivals, the Mariners rubbed salt in the wound in the ninth. Quack started the inning by walking Mike Zunino. Former Friar and Tim Stauppleganger Seth Smith reached on a throwing error by Alexi Amarista, and both runners moved into scoring position. Logan Morrison sent Zunino home with a sac fly, and Cano doubled to plate Smith. A two-run shot by Cruz off Marcos Mateo put the seventh and final nail in the coffin.
The Padres go 2-3 in the last homestand of the first half. Tonight they head to St. Louis, where Tyson Ross will start at 4:15 PM tomorrow.
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