SEATTLE – This walk-off business is getting to be old hat for Ryan Langerhans.
For the second time this month, Langerhans came into a game in the latter innings and wound up hitting a game-ending homer.
This time, it came off Oakland’s Craig Breslow with one out and a man aboard in the 10th and lifted Seattle to a 4-2 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field.
With one out, Franklin Gutierrez singled up the middle. Langerhans, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth, crushed a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall. As he had been when he hit a two-run homer to beat Tampa Bay on Aug. 7, he was pummeled by his joyous teammates as he crossed home plate.
Match up the team that’s scored the fewest runs in the American League (Seattle) with the team that’s tied for the A.L.’s lowest batting average (Oakland), and you don’t expect a slugfest.
Especially when the Mariners played for the second game in a row without their top hitter, Ichiro, still resting a tight left calf.
Sure enough, pitching dominated on Tuesday.
Many in the crowd of 17,661 thought the Mariners had won the game in the ninth when Russell Branyan, who had already homered once in the game, sent a towering blast to right off Breslow. But Oakland right fielder Ryan Sweeney caught it up against the wall.
Oakland rookie Brett Anderson, who came in with a 7-9 record and 4.51 earned-run-average, limited the Mariners to one run over seven innings, striking out eight.
The Mariners tied the game in the eighth on a two-out error by A’s third baseman Adam Kennedy. Franklin Gutierrez had walked with one out, but pinch-hitter Ken Griffey Jr., who had homered his two previous games, struck out against A’s reliever Michael Wuertz.
On the third strike to Griffey, Gutierrez stole second. That turned out to be a significant play when Jose Lopez hit a slow grounder toward shortstop. With Cliff Pennington poised to make the play, Kennedy crossed in front of him. The ball glanced off his glove and into shallow left-center as Gutierrez raced around to score the tying run.
Lopez stole second, but Mike Sweeney struck out to end the inning.
The A’s had pushed across a run in the seventh off Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith to break a 1-1 tie. Mark Ellis led off with a double and moved to third on Ryan Sweeney’s single to right. Cliff Pennington flied to right, not deep enough to bring home Ellis, but Adam Kennedy dropped a single to right to bring in the go-ahead run. Shawn Kelley relieved Rowland-Smith and worked out of the jam.
Cautious with Ichiro
The M’s are being cautious with Ichiro, which means that it’s unlikely he’ll play today, manager Don Wakamatsu said. Wakamatsu had said he thought today was a likely day for Ichiro’s return.
Ichiro missed his second straight game with a tight left calf. He took some swings in the cage and worked out, but he still hasn’t done any serious running.
Ichiro is closing in on some significant milestones, in addition to chasing Joe Mauer in pursuit of his third batting title. He has 184 hits, 16 away from his ninth consecutive 200-hit season. No player in history has done that.
Ichiro shares the record of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons with Willie Keeler (1894-1901). Ichiro is also 11 hits shy of 2,000 for his MLB career. He is hitting .359, 15 points behind Mauer’s .374.
“I think we all want to accomplish the same thing, or have him accomplish that goal,” Wakamatsu said.
Adrian Beltre worked out again and is improving from his severely contused right testicle, but Wakamatsu seemed skeptical he would be ready to return Friday when eligible to come off the DL. … Chris Jakubauskas threw a bullpen session and should be ready to pitch for Tacoma either Thursday or Friday.
M’s 4, Athletics 2 (10)
|Griffey Jr. ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||.224|
E—Kennedy (10). LOB—Oakland 8, Seattle 6. 2B—K.Suzuki (29), M.Ellis (18), M.Sweeney (12). HR—Branyan (31), off Bre.Anderson; Langerhans (3), off Breslow. RBIs—Kennedy (47), Hairston (22), Langerhans 2 (9), Branyan (76). SB—F.Gutierrez (10), Jo.Lopez (3). CS—M.Saunders (1). RLISP—Oakland 5 (Garciaparra, R.Sweeney, K.Suzuki 3); Seattle 3 (Hall, M.Sweeney 2). RMU—Kennedy, R.Davis. GIDP—Jo.Lopez. DP—Oakland 1 (Pennington, M.Ellis, Garciaparra).
|Wuertz BS, 2-5||1||0||1||0||1||3||3.23|
|Breslow L, 5-7||1 1/3||2||2||2||1||2||4.14|
|M.Lowe W, 2-6||1||0||0||0||0||0||3.18|
IR-S—Kelley 2-0. T—2:57. A—17,661 (47,878).
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