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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

May 22, 2007 at 8:19 PM

Sexson delivers

As we mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of Richie Sexson’s two-run single in that fifth inning. The Mariners went on to win 5-2 over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and have set themselves up to possibly sweep this series with two less-than-spectacular starters heading to the mound for the D-Rays the next two days.
None of the Mariners we spoke to tonight disagreed with that assessment. The Angels won their sixth in a row and could have started to leave the M’s in their dust with another Seattle loss tonight. The Mariners had been just 2-10 when trailing after the first inning and, well, you know the rest.
“We needed a lift,” Sexson said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit the last week or so with runners in scoring position. So, we needed to get on the board right there. It was a big hit.”
Sexson had been feeling the pressure, going 0-for-15 recently with runners in scoring position.
“I think any time you don’t have success, you’re trying to do too much,” he said. “That’s just kind of the way it goes. We’re well aware. Every day, whether it’s me or somebody else who’s answering a question about it. It’s hard not to have it in your mind. It’s just kind of there.”
Manager Mike Hargrove was a relieved looking guy after this one ended.
“I think it changes everything,” Hargrove said of Sexson’s single. “It takes the monkey off of everyone’s back. That’s all we’ve heard the last two or three days, especially our inability in this seven-day stretch to hit with anybody in scoring position.”
And Hargrove expects Sexson to keep on hitting in the clutch.
“That’s his job,” Hargrove said. “This time last year, Richie was pretty much in the same boat as he is now. A boat just about three-quarters full of water.”
Jarrod Washburn, Yuniesky Betancourt and others said the team remains firmly behind its struggling clean-up hitter, who lifted his average to .175. They’ll have to be. Without Sexson at the top of his offensive game, the Mariners will be unable to compete in the long term. And that long term could get very short in the weeks ahead. This was a huge win.

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