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March 6, 2007 at 2:47 PM

Mariners win!!! (Clobber the Rangers 10-3)

What, you thought this team would never win again? Hey, it’s only spring. And if we needed a reminder of that, we got it over the final few innings of a well-played game that degenerated into a sloppy, mistake-plagued affair highlighted by errors, dropped balls, rundowns and pickoffs. That would also be the time when all of the reservists, subs and scrubs came in. Seattle put up a six-spot in the ninth to break open what had been a closely-played affair most of the way.
“From about the eighth or ninth inning, it was a real typical spring training game,” manager Mike Hargrove said down on the field moments ago.
But Hargrove added it was nice to get the win out of the way: “so you guys will stop asking me about it.”
The other good thing, he added, was: “just not being able to say we went 0-for-32.”
I grabbed Adam Jones in the clubhouse as he was packing hurriedly for the bus ride back to Peoria. He told me that he and coach Mike Goff, who lives in this area, spent several sessions over the winter working on going back to the wall to catch fly balls. This work was done in the bright sunlight and Jones said it really improved his fielding, to the point where he could make catches like today’s.
The Mariners were clearly the better team when the regulars were in there, so the 1-5 squad will take it. It looked like the Rangers would tie it up in the eighth as they got runners to first and third with nobody out after Michael Garciaparra failed to snare a throw from third baseman Mike Morse on what should have been a 5-4-3 double-play. Morse somehow got charged with the error.
In the end, it mattered not, since, on an ensuing strikeout, the runner at first base, Victor Diaz, got nabbed in a rundown and was finally tagged out after a long series of back-and-forth tosses. The runner at third held and the M’s escaped the jam. Seattle blew it open in the ninth, thanks to a throwing error at third on a fielder’s choice, a bases-loaded walk and a bases-clearing double by Tony Torcato.
This is a prime example of why spring training stats can’t be taken seriously at this point in March. Forget hitting with runners in scoring position. With real major leaguers on the mound, or catching the ball, there wouldn’t be all of these runners out there in the first place.
OK, OK, I’m getting overwhelmed with emails about cyber-fave Justin Lehr and how he pitched today. What is it with this guy and the web? Is he this year’s Chris Snelling? Anyhow, here’s how I saw it.
Things didn’t start off too well for him in the eighth, with Drew Meyer bunting for a single to Lehr’s left. But Lehr should have gotten out of the inning on an ensuing 5-4-3 double play grounder by Victor Diaz that got messed up when Michael Garciaparra dropped Mike Morse’s throw to second. Somehow, as we mentioned, Morse got the error, even though Garciaparra whiffed on the ball with his glove. So, runners at the corners.
Lehr then came through with a huge strikeout on Jared Sandberg and Diaz got caught napping off first base and was thrown out in a very lengthy rundown. A little too lengthy. Hargrove had to go out and calm everybody down because the young guys were acting jittery. Lehr then got Kevin Richardson to hit a soft lineout to first base. All in all, a good performance by Lehr under some pressure not really of his own making in a one-run game.
The ninth, I barely care about because it was a seven-run game after Seattle’s six-spot in the top of the frame. Lehr got three ground ball outs in that ninth, also yielding a two-out infield single towards third base. So, he wasn’t hit hard by anyone. A good performance. He wasn’t facing Michael Young, Hank Blalock or Mark Teixeira, but that’s not his fault.
That’s it for now. No more Lehr emails to my private inbox, please. I know you all love him and he doesn’t cost much. Maybe, if I try real hard tonight, I’ll dig up some Lehr trivia for you all tomorrow.



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