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July 13, 2007 at 9:38 PM

Mariners lose 6-3; audio clips

That grand slam in the third inning by Gary Sheffield stood up all night as the Mariners went down to a 6-3 defeat. The Detroit Tigers were simply too good on the mound and at the plate tonight. Sheffield’s blast gave Detroit a 4-1 lead and the way Jeremy Bonderman pitched, moving to 10-1 on the season, that was going to be enough.
“I made a mistake to Sheffield,” Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn said. “He’s one of the greatest hitters ever, I think. In my opinion. You make a mistake to a guy like that, he’s going to hurt you.”
Washburn had some trouble earlier in the inning, hitting Brandon Inge with a pitch to start things off. But the real blow was a walk to Ryan Raburn that started filling up the bases for Sheffield. The Marcus Thames single that followed just made it through the infield. But there was no doubt about the Sheffield blast, a towering drive to left.
After that inning, Washburn battled to keep things close. It was reminiscent of the way Felix Hernandez held his team in it last night before the offense and umpires came through. Washburn said he didn’t feel any differently than he normally does to start a game, despite notching four of his seven strikeout victims in the first two innings.
Hear all of what Washburn had to say on this audio clip.
“I’d prefer if they put the first pitch in-play and pop out or ground out,” Washburn said. “If I get strikeouts…I’m not out there trying to strike guys out. I think all my strikeouts were on fastballs, except to Thames, I struck him out on a change-up. But I’m throwing the ball over the plate and trying to get them to put the ball in-play.”
This loss was a double-whammy in the standings, with the Angels and Indians both winning. Seattle trails by three games in the AL West, two in the wild-card.
Seattle managed a pair of solo homers, by Jose Guillen and Adrian Beltre off Bonderman. Jose Vidro had that RBI double as well. But the M’s had just three more hits off Bonderman over his seven innings. With the type of power this Tigers lineup has, entering the night leading the AL in slugging percentage, doubles and total bases — and sitting third in homers — three runs usually aren’t going to get the job done.
The Tigers bullpen didn’t inspire all that much confidence tonight. Tigers manager Jim Leyland looked to give Bobby Seay a curt missive to throw some strikes after falling behind 2-0 to Vidro in the eighth with Ichiro aboard. Seay did just that, Vidro nearly hit into another of his double plays, this time resulting in a 6-4 filelder’s choice, and the M’s went quietly from there in that inning.
Seattle then put two on in the ninth before pinch-hitter Ben Broussard swung and missed at a high fastball from closer Todd (no not “Bobby” as I originally wrote on-the-fly) Jones with the count full.
The slumping Richie Sexson generated some boos when he capped a hitless night by grounding out in the ninth. Sexson is now 0-for-his-last-16 and is hurting the middle of the order in a big way. He did nearly connect for a home run on a ball driven to the warning track in right in the sixth. But it’s been few and far between for those types of hits.
“He’s got a sinker and a great slider,” Sexson said of Bonderman. “He located it, just off (the plate). He’s good, one of the really good ones. You know we’ve got our work cut out for us there.”
Not much else to say about this game. The Tigers are tough and Seattle was not going to sweep them. Not with these types of starters taking the mound. The best I can say about it is that Seattle didn’t give them anything. I liked the way Washburn battled during his six innings. It’s too bad the Yuni Betancourt error gave the Tigers that key add-on run. But Seattle played it close, even after the Sheffield slam. Just didn’t have the firepower to come back again. Not this time.
This series is a huge test for the Mariners, facing a playoff-seasoned opponent showing every sign it could head back to the World Series and perhaps win it this season. There has been a razor thin margin for error in this series.
“One of the best RBI guys in the league the last 10 years hit one out,” Mariners manager John McLaren said. “That’s about basically what the game was.”
So, the Tigers lose on Thursday because they missed a tag and the umpires missed a call. Seattle loses here because one pitch by Washburn and a poor throw by Betancourt cost them five runs. No room for error. Good to remember moving forward. Hear all of McLaren’s take on the game.
“Good teams capitalize on mistakes,” McLaren added. “We did last night and they did tonight. Two very good ballclubs, two very good ballgames.”



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