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March 1, 2007 at 11:40 AM

Game is underway…

A late scratch to report for everyone…Ben Broussard was pulled from the lineup because of a tight right quadriceps muscle. Mike Wilson was inserted in right field in his place.
Things didn’t get off to a rousing start offensively for the M’s, who stranded a pair of runners in the first inning after singles by Jeremy Reed and Raul Ibanez off Padres starter Jake Peavy. Richie Sexson bounced into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to end the threat. (Feel free to insert your requisite Sexson complaints down in the comments area).
Seattle starter Horacio Ramirez got into some trouble in the bottom of the first, walking Termel Sledge (another candidate for our all-names team from the thread of a couple of days ago) and giving up an ensuing single to former M’s center fielder Mike Cameron. But Ramirez ended the inning with one pitch, a 4-6-3 double-play groundout by Todd Walker.
******THIRD INNING UPDATE**********
The first run of 2007 has been scored by the Mariners against someone other than the Mariners (a little intrasquad humor there for you all). Yuniesky Betancourt led off the top of the third with a double to right center off Padres pitcher Cla Meredith, then scored on a base-hit lined to center by Willie Bloomquist. Seattle’s first stolen base attempt of the spring wasn’t so successful as Bloomquist was thrown out at second.
Ramirez got through the second inning 1-2-3, sawing the bat of Kevin Kouzmanoff in half on a groundout, fanning Rob Bowen and getting Paul McAnulty to ground out. The day ended there for Ramirez, with two scoreless innings worked, and J.J. Putz breezed through the third inning, setting the side down in order.
So, it’s 1-0 for Seattle with play now in the fourth inning. Raul Ibanez is 2-for-2 with two singles for the M’s.
*************SEATTLE DOWN 4-2 AFTER FOUR*************
The Mariners had a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth but then the roof caved in on the two main set-up men in Seattle’s bullpen. Newly-acquired relief pitcher Chris Reitsma allowed four earned runs on two hits and three — yes, three — walks, one of them with the bases loaded. Reitsma logged only two outs before lefty George Sherrill came in to finish the inning off.
Seattle had added a second run in the top of the fourth after a Mike Morse single with two out brought pinch-runner Adam Jones home. The inning opened with singles by Ibanez and Sexson, who hit a slow roller up the third base line that hit the bag. Morse ran the M’s out of the inning by being a little too aggressive — something manager Mike Hargrove wants to stay away from — on an infield single that was bobbled by shortstop Manny Alexander. Morse tried to score all the way from second on the play, but was easily thrown out. Not by the 20 feet Hargrove warned about avoiding, but by a good dozen…
Reitsma made his trouble-plagued spring debut for the M’s in the bottom of the inning that could have gone even worse than it actually did on the scoreboard. Sledge led off by nearly ripping a ball down the right field line, but it was snagged by M’s first baseman Bryan LaHair, who had just taken over from Sexson. That play was needed, since Cameron walked after that and then Walker and Kouzmanoff added singles to bring a San Diego run home. Rob Bowen then drilled a long fly ball to left that was caught in the sun by Reed — who had moved over from CF to start the inning. Reitsma then walked the bases loaded and forced in the tying run by walking Brian Myrow on a full-count offering.
Sherrill came on from there, fell behind 3-1 in the count to Alexander, then served up a two-run single to right. Both runs were charged to Reitsma.
Put another one up for the M’s, with Morse and Wilson notching back-to-back doubles in the top of the seventh. We’re now in the bottom of the eighth, with the same score. Most of the reservists and minor leaguers are now on the field. Just got back from the Mariners clubhouse, where Ramirez was feeling pretty good about his outing.
Don’t think the newcomers want to make an impression with Seattle fans and teammates? Ramirez admitted he was jittery before the game. Much too jittery for his liking when he took the mound, having not pitched since last August for the Atlanta Braves. But he got out of the first inning, then found himself getting more in-sync with catcher Kenji Johjima. Ramirez says he’s his own guy on the mound and tends to use his “gut” more when it comes to deciding what pitch to throw in a certain situation.
“Sometimes, I’ll throw some pitches five or six times in a row,” he said.
That didn’t happen in this game. Ramirez spent some of it working on his curveballs. “It’s more of a slurve, a slider. Whatever you want to call it. It breaks.”
Reitsma soon made it over from the showers to his locker. He said he was pleased just to get out of the game healthy and isn’t seriously looking for results — good or bad — at this point in the spring. He also hinted that, while still searching for command on some pitches, he felt a few of the balls he had called by plate umpire Ramon Armendariz could have gone the other way. On one particular sequence, with Myrow at the plate and the bags juiced, he went from a 1-2 count to walking in a run when Armendariz called three consecutive balls. Myrow didn’t swing at any of the offerings.
Heading to the ninth. Last chance for the M’s, down by one.
***********FINAL SCORE: PADRES 4, MARINERS 3*******
Mariners got the tying run to second base and Wladimir Balentien hit a long drive to the warning track in left, but Rey Ordonez grounded out to end this 2 hour, 29-minute affair. Only the first day of spring, no need to get depressed yet. This doesn’t even count in the exhibition schedule.



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