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March 25, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Mariners at Texas Rangers: game thread

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Mariners (10-14-2):

51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez (L) LF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
6 Brad Wilkerson (L) RF
3 Jose Vidro (S) DH
15 Jamie Burke C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
43 Miguel Batista RHP
Additional Pitchers:
20 J.J. Putz RHP
33 Chris Reitsma RHP
59 Eric O’Flaherty LHP
Texas Rangers (14-10-2):
5 Ian Kinsler 2B
7 David Murphy (L) LF
10 Michael Young SS
9 Hank Blalock (L) 3B
21 Milton Bradley (S) RF
27 Frank Catalanotto (L) DH
22 Marlon Byrd CF
2 Adam Melhuse (S) C
23 Ben Broussard (L) 1B
14 Kazuo Fukumori RHP
Additional Pitchers:
43 Kameron Loe RHP
50 Frank Francisco RHP
54 Franklyn German RHP
58 Wes Littleton RHP
59 Josh Rupe RHP

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A look above at the beautiful sunset here in Surprise, Ariz. on a night when it was 82 degrees at first pitch. Some news of note for M’s fans: Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar has been shut down again. Won’t be back with the big club until at least June.
9:15 p.m.: Eric O’Flaherty (see him on the mound in the photo below) gave up a run on a pair of singles sandwiched around a wild pitch in the seventh, making it 5-1 for the Rangers. Hank Blalock is now 4-for-4, driving in a run with a single to center.
8:56 p.m.: Arthur Rhodes got out of the sixth inning, to the usual loud ovation he’s received here — home or road — from Mariners fans. Rhodes struck out Frank Catalanotto (a lefty who doesn’t hit lefties at all), walked righty Marlon Byrd, got a popout on switch-hitter Adam Melheuse, then struck out lefty Ben Broussard.
8:47 p.m.: Miguel Batista is done after five innings, four earned runs allowed on six hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. Now the interesting part comes, with Arthur Rhodes in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Still 4-1 for Texas.
8:32 p.m.: Texas tacked on a run in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Miguel Batista got a pair of groundouts to start the inning, then issued back-to-back walks. Seen him do that out of nowhere before, haven’t we? Ian Kinsler then doubled the run home.
Ichiro got a one-out single in the fifth, but Jose Lopez lined out and Raul Ibanez was caught looking at strike three. On to the bottom of the fifth.
8:13 p.m.: Adrian Beltre crushed — I mean crushed — a ball over the fence in left center in the fourth inning to get Seattle on the board. Now a 3-1 game. Brad Wilkerson singled after that, stole second, and then Jose Vidro drew a walk to put two on with two out. But Jamie Burke fanned to end the inning.
A hard double rapped into the left field corner by Yuniesky Betancourt in the third inning went for naught as successive groundouts stranded him. Miguel Batista has retired seven of his last eight batters.
7:42 p.m.: Still a 3-0 game as we enter the third inning. Mariners got a one-out walk from Adrian Beltre in the top of the second, but ccould not advance him from there. Miguel Batista threw a perfect second frame, getting a strikeout and two groundouts.
7:26 p.m.: A rough go of things for Miguel Batista in the bottom of the first. Gave up a one-out walk, then a two-run homer to right center by Hank Blalock (thanks Snowbound, for pointing out the lineup change in the comments thread) on an 0-1 pitch with two out. Milton Bradley then tripled to right center. He’s got game. (Sorry, had to do it at least once this spring). Frank Catalanotto then drove him home with a bounding single up the middle. Now 3-0 for Texas after one.
7:17 p.m.: Seattle went down in order in the top of the first. Ichiro flied out to right, Jose Lopz struck out and Raul Ibanez grounded out. Mariners manager John McLaren said pregame that he’s leaning towards using Lopez as his No. 2 hitter when the season opens.
“We’re thinking about it strongly, I think that’s safe to say,” McLaren said. “He’s hit behind the runner. He’s swinging at more strikes. He’s going to get more strikes with Ichiro going first. I’m not going to say it’s 100 percent but we’re leaning that way.”
A look below at Ryan Rowland-Smith, delivering a pitch in today’s Class AAA outing against the Texas Rangers’ affiliate. Rowland-Smith allowed a run on three hits over two innings.
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