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

June 13, 2007 at 6:16 PM

Mariners get some respect

Strike up the band everyone, Miguel Batista just made it through the seventh inning. First Mariners pitcher since May 27 to cross that threshold — barely. Batista allowed two more baserunners that inning — making it 14 for the night on nine hits and five walks allowed. But he gave up only the one earned run, though he still trails 3-2 in the eighth. Takes some heat off the bullpen. Now, the bats need to come through against Sean Marshall.
Interesting sixth inning for Miguel Batista, who appeared destined for another six-frame outing when he issued an 11-pitch walk to the pitcher. That was his fifth walk of the game. But Batista then got a one-pitch double-play grounder from Alfonso Soriano and a first-pitch groundout from Felix Pie — who is getting very little done in this game despite reaching base three times — to escape the inning on 95 pitches. That means Batista can still go seven if he cuts down on the baserunners allowed. So far, he’s put 12 runners on. Not to mention another that reached on another Yuniesky Betancourt throwing error that allowed two unearned Cubs runs to score.
Ichiro helped get one back in the sixth by tripling and then scoring on a groundout. So, it’s a 3-2 game, Cubs in the lead, as we enter the seventh. Mariners are fortunate to still be in this game. If not for the error, they could actually be leading.
Well, look at what we’ve got here. A little respect being shown the Mariners by some of the bigger hitters media-wise across the nation. Told you it would come. Slowly, but the Mariners are getting noticed. Fifth in the power-rankings? When’s the last time that happened?
Tonight’s game is still knotted at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Miguel Batista has had one of his typical nights so far. He’s thrown 58 pitches through four innings while allowing seven baserunners. But only one of those has come around to score. He’s got to stop putting guys on, though, or he’ll go six-plus and that will be that. This Cubs offense is really nothing special — especially minus Aramis Ramirez. This is a team Batista should be going seven or eight innings against. The Mariners have caught two huge breaks defensively in this game, both involving Cubs baserunner Felix Pie.
The first one came in the first inning when Pie broke for second on a steal and Kenji Johjima’s throw would have gone into center field. Only thing is, it hit Pie — right in the groin. Inning ended soon after with no runs scored. The next break came in the third inning when Pie went from first to third on a single to left. Raul Ibanez tried a throw to third but slipped and the ball lurched about 30 feet wide of the target. Unfortunately for Pie, he’d already started a headfirst dive into the bag. By the time he could get up, the M’s had retrieved the ball.
Pie did wind up scoring on an ensuing groundout, so the break wasn’t all that big for Seattle. But Chicago’s inability to sustain any rallies is one of the reasons Seattle is still in it. Batista has also made some huge pitches when he had to, getting a strikeout on Mark DeRosa to end the third with a runner in scoring position, then fanning Alfonso Soriano to end the fourth with runners at the corners.
Mariners have done next to nothing offensively, other than Richie Sexson finally launching one deep. Could be another big night for the bullpen.



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