|July 17, 2003||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||R||H||E|
LP A. Rhodes (2-2) 2/3IP 2H 2R 2ER 0BB 1SO 1HR 4.12ERA
Carlos Beltran robbed the Seattle Mariners for the second consecutive ball game.
Last night the centerfielder did it with his glove. Today, in temperatures breaking the century mark, Beltran did it with his bat, robbing the Mariners of what could have been a momentum turning come-from-behind victory with a dramatic two-run homer in the bottom of the tenth inning. The blast came off of Arthur Rhodes, giving the Royals the 7-5 series-clinching victory in 10 innings.
Beltran's Mariner counterpart, Mike Cameron, almost brought the ball back into the park with a leaping attempt against the wall, but the ball glanced of his glove and over the wall.
The previous night Beltran stole a home run from M's catcher, Dan Wilson.
With Beltran's homer off of the struggling Rhodes (2-2), the Royals completed their domination of the Mariners during this four game series. If it were not for Ichiro's last-gasp, walk-off grand slam on Friday night, the red-hot Royals (54-42) could have easily swept the all-of-a-sudden ordinary Mariners (59-38).
Despite the almost entirely disastrous post all-star weekend series, the Mariners gained a game on Oakland and now stand five games ahead of the A's, who were swept by Minnesota.
But the question still remains - what's wrong with the Mariners? More specifically, why can't the Mariners generate any runs?
There doesn't seem to be any easy answers out there, but what we do know is that the Kansas City Royals are the real deal and not going away. They maintained their 6.5 game lead over the resurrecting Twins.
The Twins were no doubt cheering for the Mariners in the top of the ninth and the top of the tenth, when the M's squandered several tremendous opportunities to take the lead, opening the door for Beltan's heroics.
After finally waking up from their extended collective snooze, the Mariners couldn't cap a remarkable late-inning rally that began with Wilson's line-drive shot into the left-field bleachers. It was poetic justice for the Mariner veteran, who kept this one out of the rangy Beltran's reach, scoring Mabry, Ichiro's replacement on one of the international superstar's rare days off.
Mabry led off the ninth with a bomb deep to the opposite field in left to make it a one-run ball game. The Mariners scored again when Mclemore popped out to temporarily blinded, second baseman Carlos Febles, who let the ball drop onto the outfield grass. Mclemore received credit for a hit and the RBI, scoring pinch-runner, Luis Ugueto, who replaced Wilson after he walked.
After Mclemore's gift of a single, Cameron stole third, setting up a sac fly situation for Boone, who struck out swinging. Edgar Martinez then grounded out to end the threat against D.J. Carrasco, the replacement for rookie all-star closer Mike MacDougal, who blew his second straight save against the Mariners.
In the tenth, the Mariners loaded the bases for pinch-hitter, Jeff Cirillo, who has sat for most of the Royals series. Kris Wilson (5-0), who wound up getting credit for the victory, came on, for Jason Grimsley, who was thrown out along with his Tony Pena, after hitting Ichiro on his foot with an 0-2 fastball. Everyone seemed to believe the umpire had made a harsh decision, given the location and situation.
Cirillo, looking to atone for a season of blown chances, subsequently popped out weakly into foul territory. Cameron followed Cirillo's brilliance by looking at strike three as it passed right down the middle of the plate.
In total, the M's stranded 23 runners and continued a frightening trend of not coming through with runners in scoring position, especially with the game on the line. In contrast the Royals cashed in on almost every one of their quality opportunities.
Timely hitting. That is the difference between the gritty Royals, who have won 11 of 15, and the Mariners, who have been mediocre since the beginning of June.
Alex is an aspiring sports writer who is new to InsidethePark.com. He remembers the days when Ken Griffey Jr. had two working hamstrings, healthy knees and flexible ankles. Give him a piece of your mind at email@example.com.