If you didn't think Jake Peavy was battling something physical when he gave up three first-inning runs ... or when he failed to hit 90 in the second inning ... then this moment during the top of the third inning should have probably sealed the deal.
It turns out Peavy was pointing to a rib injury, but he was still allowed to start the inning. He gave up three hits while recording one out before Robin Ventura pulled the plug with Herm Schneider's assistance, and all three runs came around to score.
And it turns out the Mariners won by that margin. Go figure.
Then again, maybe if Brian Omogrosso starts the third, the bullpen doesn't hold up well enough. Butterfly effect and all that. He gave up a "double" to Nick Franklin that was originally a homer but should've been a single to knock in Peavy's last runner, but he pitched 2⅓ scoreless innings for himself.
Nate Jones followed with 2⅓ dominant, scoreless innings -- he struck out five and threw 20 of 25 pitches for strikes. And then Ventura might've made two pitching changes too many.
With a day game tomorrow, I thought Jones might've been his choice to finish the eighth. Instead, he went with Hector Santiago, who struck out the first batter before walking Michael Saunders. Then Ventura went to Matt Lindstrom, which wasn't a bad choice in terms of effectiveness, but a very bad choice in holding Saunders close to the bag. Saunders stole second on Lindstrom, stole third on Lindstrom with an even bigger jump, and scored on a sac fly.
That run was a killer if you believe in momentum, because it answered a two-run seventh by the Sox which pulled them within striking distance -- and resulted in their first four-run game since two Sundays ago.
Alas, the Sox came away from tonight with another decent day against Felix Hernandez, yet nothing to show for it but their eighth straight loss.
They briefly grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when Alejandro De Aza singled, moved to third on Gordon Beckham's single and scored on Conor Gillaspie's chopper. Of course, then Peavy gave up three runs, which means the Sox haven't held a lead at the end of an inning in 73 innings.
Adam Dunn was able to end another ignominious streak in the second. His solo shot to dead center was the Sox's first homer since he went deep in the first inning against Miami on May 26. That narrowed the gap to 3-2, but Hernandez clamped down afterward. He retired 16 of the next 17, and he erased the only baserunner (a walk) with a double play.
The Sox finally snapped out of it in the eighth. Alexei Ramirez started the inning with a flared single to right, and scored on Tyler Flowers' smoked double to right-center two batters later. De Aza drove him in with a single to left-center to make it a 6-4 game, but Beckham grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Gillaspie started the ninth inning in equally encouraging fashion when he drew a leadoff walk against struggling Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen. The inning -- and game -- ended with a Paul Konerko double play, and only an Alex Rios popout in between.
*Going back to the Franklin double in the third -- he hit a high drive to right that hit off the yellow padding and bounced back into the field of play. He started his home run trot before D.J. Reyburn ruled it a homer, and Rios got the ball back into second before Franklin reached that base. After the review, it was correctly called no homer, but Franklin was given second for some reason. It ultimately didn't matter, although Ventura wasn't happy.
*Ventura also wasn't happy with the way an unsuccessful appeal was handled on a first-inning tag-up by Endy Chavez. For that matter, he also wanted Bucknor to call batter interference when Kelly Shoppach's follow-through hit Flowers as he was throwing to second on that important Saunders stolen base. It all fell on deaf ears.
*Speaking of that Chavez tag-up, Danks had a rough first inning. First, he broke the wrong way on Chavez's single to center -- it would've been catchable, but Danks didn't read that it hit off the end of his bat. Then Chavez caught Danks napping when he caught Jason Bay's flyball flat-footed to make it to second, and he came around to score on a single by Kendrys Morales, the fourth batter of the inning.
*Danks did redeem himself somewhat with a nice read and dive on a near-gapper in the second.
*Beckham showed off his range at second with a tremendous diving stab to his right. He had plenty of time to pop up and throw out the slow-footed Morales to end the fourth inning, saving a run.