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March 25, 2007 at 2:16 PM

Mariners 4, A’s 3, top of 6th

This game is going back and forth, with the Mariners regaining the lead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Raul Ibanez, giving him three RBI this game. The blast to right center also gave Ibanez a team-high 14 RBI this spring. The inning began on a scary note for the Mariners when Adrian Beltre was drilled on the back of his helmet by A’s starter Jason Windsor. It was an off-speed pitch, and Beltre shook it off and took his base. But he was replaced at third base the following inning by Gookie Dawkins.
Seattle had taken a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, but only because A’s left fielder Shannon Stewart dropped a fly ball by Jose Lopez that got lost in the sun. Lopez was awarded a double, advanced to third on a passed ball, then scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Mike Morse.
But the lead didn’t last beyond the bottom of the inning. Jake Woods had been sharp the first three frames for Seattle, allowing just one hit and a walk. Woods was replaced by Sean White in the fourth and a pair of Seattle throwing errors would enable the A’s to score three unearned runs.
Stewart began the inning with a double to left field off White, who then fanned Mike Piazza. An ensuing walk to Eric Chavez was followed by a tailor-made double play grounder from Nick Swisher. But second baseman Lopez, who has looked shaky in the field the past two days, threw high to shortstop Rey Ordonez covering the bag.
Everyone was safe. Dan Johnson then grounded out to first to drive in a run. Mark Ellis then grounded a ball to Beltre and the thrid baseman threw wide to first, pulling Ben Broussard off the bag. That error allowed the tying run to score and Travis Buck put Oakland ahead with a single to left.
White had another error made behind him in the bottom of the fifth, this time a glove miscue by Dawkins, but got out further trouble in the inning.
Arthur Rhodes got back on a mound for the first time since March 16 and wound up tossing a scoreless seventh, allowing just an infield single to Marco Scutaro. The Scutaro hit came after Rhodes had gotten Travis Buck to fly out to left. Rhodes got out of the inning on a foul pop up to first by Kurt Suzuki and then a strikeout by Antonio Perez — caught looking at the decisive pitch.
Rhodes told us moments ago in the clubhouse that he needs to work a little on his inside fastballs. But he otherwise feels ready for the season despite the long layoff. “I’ve been around long enough to know how I feel, what I need to do to get ready for the season,” said Rhodes, who has allowed just two hits and no runs over six innings this spring.
Jon Huber just pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for Seattle, so it’s on to the ninth, with the M’s up 4-3 and looking for their fifth consecutive win.



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