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June 12, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Refusing to lose

No other way to put it after this 5-3 thriller in 13 innings. It’s very late, nearly 1 a.m. here and Larry Stone and I have to leave Wrigley Field. They’re kicking us out. But what a night. Another amazing bullpen job done tonight. By the way, those of you all over manager Mike Hargrove for pulling Jarrod Washburn, you should know that he had no choice.
It turns out that Washburn had told the coaching staff that he was done after the sixth inning. His pitch count was at 94 after throwing 29 in that first inning that saw him squeezed by the home plate umpire.
“That first inning took quite a bit out of me,” Washburn said. “Fortunately, I was able to figure it out after that first inning and get back on-track. But I was pretty tired.”
Hargrove said that Washburn told him “his tank was empty.”
“And Jarrod’s usually really honest,” Hargrove added. “If he has anything left, he’ll let you know.”
Another bullpen parade. Six relievers used. It’s Miguel Batista tomorrow, then Jake Woods in relief and that’s about it. Eric O’Flaherty likely would have gone another inning or two had the game kept going tonight, but Willie Bloomquist’s hit assured J.J. Putz of making an appearance.
Putz was visibly flu-ridden and weak-looking afterwards. He should have been back at the team hotel or in a doctor’s office. But the team had little choice other than to send him out there and he understood.
“There’ve been a lot of times where guys have been asked to throw more than they’re used to,” Putz said. “They’ve had to just suck it up and give everything they had.”
By the way, that thumb injury to Adrian Beltre? Yes, it was his thumb again. Didn’t happen on the ground ball. Occured much earlier on in the game, on a swing. Turns out he now can’t swing a bat. Is a DL stint looming? He says no, but we’ll see how bad — or improved — the thumb is by tomorrow.
Here’s a fun factoid for all of you. It turns out that Jose Vidro ran through a stop sign put up at third base by Carlos Garcia on Bloomquist’s hit in that 13th inning. With the game tied, Vidro wasn’t taking a chance of being stranded at third with two out.
“Carlos stopped me at third base, but I was committed already before,” Vidro admitted. “Once I saw the ball hit, I was committed to scoring. I ran over the sign and thank God everything turned out.”
Vidro had started to slow up at third when he saw Garcia’s hands go up. But he’d sneaked a peek back and saw that right fielder Jacque Jones still had the ball.
“I was like, ‘I’ve got to try to go, there’s two outs here’,” Vidro said.
Terrible decision but great result when Cubs catcher Michael Barrett dropped the ball while applying the tag.
“I thought the ball was in my glove,” Barrett said afterwards. “I saw Vidro hit third. Jacque was about the make the throw, and I just tried to block the plate just a hair too soon. I was going to make him run me over before I let him touch that plate. At the last second, I just took my eye off it, I guess.”
The Mariners keep getting breaks like that. They keep creating their own as well, in this case, by Vidro forcing the Cubs to make a defensive play. This game emptied Seattle’s tank considerably. We’ll have to see how that plays out longer term. No starter has gone seven innings since May 27 and the bullpen is cooked for at least the next 24 hours. Probably the next two games, with an afternoon contest on Thursday. Remember winning the battle at the expense of winning the war. Well, this road trip has started off 5-0. Let’s see how it ends five games from now. For this moment, at least, it’s five wins in a row and more baseball excitement than Seattle has seen in years. The team, worn out as it is after four hours, nine minutes tonight, will take it and live to fight another day. With anything they’ve got, apparently. Hard not to like what we’ve seen out of them.



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