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Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. No matter how many times you say it, yesterday is not getting any better

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Steve Cishek reacts after the Chicago Cubs tied the game 6-6 in the ninth inning. (Matt Marton / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Steve Cishek reacts after the Chicago Cubs tied the game 6-6 in the ninth inning. (Matt Marton / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There have been worse Sundays for Northwest sports fans. I’m sure of it. I am hard-pressed, however, to think of one. Yesterday was that bad. Read on.

••••••••••

• If you rely on your sports fix to get you through the day, then football season around here can’t come fast enough. And let’s hope the Seahawks continue their winning ways. Or the preseason prognosticators are correct about the region’s college football teams. Because this summer has been one for the books. Dante’s Inferno, maybe. It’s been hell. As was yesterday.

• Sunday’s first circle was a golf cup. For the first time in history, as far as anyone could tell, a major was played with the rules my buddies and I use at Hangman. Lift, clean and place. Baltustrol was so under water the PGA felt it had to hold its championship playing muni-golf. OK then. After all, the tournament had to be finished Sunday. TV – in this case, CBS – demands it. So the golfers started early, finished the third round and headed out for the final one. With one caveat. The best players, the guys who had risen to the top through great play on a tough weekend, weren’t playing head-to-head. Remember the epic final round of this year’s British Open? Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson facing off over 18 holes as the leaders? Didn’t happen yesterday and not because someone came out of the pack. Nope. The devils who ran the tournament knew if they waited for everyone to finish the third round, paired the players together as they should be, then a Sunday finish was out of the question. So they threw away one of the best aspects of major golf, the pressure of winning when the guy you are competing with is next to you on the green. You don’t think it was easier for Jimmy Walker to win his first major when he could stand in the fairway, see what Jason Day was doing – all the while cleaning his ball? Sure it was. The 18th was a great example. Day hit a shot for the ages, drained a long putt for an eagle and pulled within one stroke of Walker. That would have been pretty damn dramatic, if it hadn’t happened 10 minutes before Walker reached the green. Congratulations to Walker, though. Heck of win. Maybe someday soon he'll win a real major.

• While the golf was going on, the Sounders took the CenturyLink turf for their first match without longtime coach Sigi Schmid. It’s been such a hellish summer, Seattle fired the only coach its had since coming into the MLS as an expansion team. A new coach (OK, an “interim” coach), new players and a new result? Uh, no. Despite dominating most of the day, and leading 1-0 for an hour, Seattle yielded a late goal to the L.A. Galaxy and settled for a draw. Another disappointing result in a season of them. Over the past couple summers the Sounders have filled the victory-hole left empty by the Mariners. Not this season.

• Which left us relying on the M’s to save our Sunday. After Saturday night’s dramatic win, the Mariners took to ESPN with a chance to wash away all the crud in Hades’ stables. Three two-run home runs gave them a 6-0 lead over the Cubs. Sure, it was Wrigley, but the M’s weren’t going to blow this, were they? As my mom used to say, expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed. We weren’t. Even after the M’s entered the ninth with a 6-3 lead, nothing seemed written in stone. Unless it is a tombstone. Here lies Steve Cishek, a guy who can throw a 0-2 pitch 24 feet outside with the tying run on third in the bottom of the ninth. You know it wasn’t just his fault, right? Not when the outfielder the M’s just brought up – Guillermo Heredia – threw to the wrong base earlier in the inning, despite Leonys Martin screaming in his ear to throw to second. That bonehead play not only caused manager Scott Servais to toss his clipboard (and probably his cookies) but seemed to discombobulate Cishek. But it was also just prelude to the 12th, when the Cubs won 7-6 on a two-strike, two-out squeeze bunt from Jon Lester, a pitcher pinch-hitting. A Tacoma kid the M’s couldn’t entice back home – if they ever even tried. Perfect. Hellishly perfect.

•••

• WSU: For the first time in a while, no one believes Oregon will be in the spotlight nationally.

• Indians: Spokane finally handed Everett a second-half loss, winning 6-4 to salvage the final game of the weekend series. Josh Horton has the story and a notebook that appeared here on the blog. ... Tri-City was swept by Vancouver though Eugene got past Boise.

• Mariners: You want to know if the M’s are waving the white flag – rightfully – on this season? Then answer this question: Do contending teams trade left-handed pitchers who have been relatively successful on the major league level for a prospect at the deadline? You have your answer.

• Seahawks: Thank goodness for the Hawks. They have happy wide receiver Doug Baldwin ready for a breakout year. They have happy defensive back Jeremy Lane ready for a healthy year. And they are looking for a fullback.

• Sounders: The Schmid firing may have been necessary, but that doesn’t mean it made everyone happy. ... Portland lost its second consecutive match. ... San Jose scored late to draw with Houston.

•••

• The only saving grace on my Sunday, other than the great steak I grilled for dinner? It was a text from Dennis Patchin. It was the modern equivalent of the Bat-Signal. Dennis needs me today for the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. radio show on 700 ESPN. I answered the summons. If you want, you can listen here. Maybe I’ll start talking about Sunday and you will be able to hear the despair in my voice. Wouldn’t that be special? Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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