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April 4, 2008 at 7:15 PM

Mariners at Baltimore Orioles: 4/4 game thread

7:15 p.m.: Raul Ibanez led off with a single in the ninth and Richie Sexson followed with a two-rum homer off Greg Aquino, but it wasn’t enough for an M’s team that had only four hits all night up to that point. Seattle winds up taking a 7-4 loss and falls to 2-2 on the season. The 420-foot homer by Sexson might be what he needed to get going. It was the first time this season the Baltimore bullpen has given up any runs. Mike Morse wound up doubling into the right field corner as well, enabling George Sherrill to come in and notch the save (see, I told you) by getting popouts on Jose Vidro and Kenji Johjima. Let’s get the whole Morse/Wilkerson argument going. As I said, it was all too little, too late. I’m off to the clubhouse and will return later…

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A view from our blog perch up in the pressbox. This is one of the better ones in the game as far as views go. But you really have to be on the lookout for balls fouled straight back. Ken Rosenthal, now of Fox Sports, once had his computer destroyed by a Cal Ripken Jr. foul ball back when Rosenthal was writing for the Baltimore Sun. That day, Rosenthal had suggested that an ailing Ripken might want to consider the welfare of the team and sit out, which would have ended his record-setting streak of consecutive games played. Obviously, the computer smashing got widespread play across the country.
6:40 p.m.: It’s really going to take some work for George Sherrill to notch a save tonight, since his team leads the Mariners 7-2 heading into the eighth. Cha Seung Baek surrendered his second homer of the game — and third in three innings by Seattle pitching — to Melvin Mora, a two-run blast. Ryan Rowland-Smith took over and yielded a single and a double. Roy Corcoran eventually came in with runners at second and third and one out and did a great job of escaping — on a pop-out to shallow right and a strikeout. Trouble is, the strikeout was on a wild pitch and allowed hitter Ramon Hernandez to take first base and the runner from third to score. Really bad inning for the M’s. Might have done them in.
6:14 p.m.: Brad Wilkerson did his job that seventh inning, drawing a leadoff walk. But Jose Vidro struck out with a hit-and-run play on and Wilkerson was easily thrown out at second to complete the double play. Submarine-armed Chad Bradford came in from there and got Kenji Johjima to ground out, keeping it 3-2 for the O’s as we go to the seventh-inning stretch. Mariners have to get things going with Yuniesky Betancourt and Ichiro leading things off next inning. Otherwise, I think George Sherrill could be nailing down his first save against his former club in the ninth. Just a hunch.
5:58 p.m.: This game is starting to get away from the M’s, now trailing 4-2 heading to the seventh after Ramon Hernandez took Cha Seung Baek deep to left with one out in the sixth. Baek struck out Adam Jones and got Luis Hernandez on a 3-1 groundout to end the inning. But the Mariners need to generate some offense. They’ve got the bottom part of the order coming up, so it isn’t the best place to start. I’ll tell you what has to start. Brad Wilkerson has to start hitting. He’s due to lead off this inning.
5:53 p.m.: Seattle got a two-out walk from Richie Sexson in the sixth. But the Orioles went to reliever Dennis Sarfate, making his O’s debut, and he got Adrian Beltre to swing wildly at a ball well off the plate to end the inning. The M’s have to start making more of their at-bats with runners on base. Aside from Beltre’s homer, they haven’t done a good job of it tonight. Still 3-2 Baltimore heading to the bottom of the sixth, with Cha Seung Baek now on the mound.
5:40 p.m.: John McLaren may have left Jarrod Washburn in there one batter too long in that fifth inning. Washburn got the first two batters, including lefty Nick Markakis. But righty first baseman Kevin Millar was allowed to face him and popped a ball just over the left field fence near the foul pole to make it a 3-2 game, O’s in the lead, heading to the sixth. Washburn got lefty Aubrey Huff on a soft grounder to end the inning, but the damage was done. Washburn yielded some late long balls last year once his pitch count got up towards 90. He’s done tonight, having thrown 103. I know the bullpen is shorthanded, but Cha Seung Baek also hasn’t pitched all year. McLaren tried to gamble that Washburn could get the righty hitter out. It didn’t pay off.
5:35 p.m.: Mariners went 1-2-3 in the fifth after the O’s tied it 2-2 in the fourth. Jarrod Washburn pumped his fist after striking out Brian Roberts to end the fourth. Trouble is, the Orioles had already tied the game 2-2 and that was Washburn’s 90th pitch. Cha Seung Baek is up throwing in the bullpen. A lefty hitter, Nick Markakis, is due up second this inning and I think manager John McLaren will try to let his starter ride through at least that part of the order. Lefty hitter Aubrey Huff bats fourth this inning. Washburn’s biggest success has been against lefties tonight. The righties bit him hard in the fourth, with a one-out single to right by Ramon Hernandez and a double to left by Adam Jones.
Raul Ibanez didn’t make much of a throw from left field on a lineout by Luis Hernandez that scored his namesake from third. Adrian Beltre cut the ball off. A borderline decision by him, since he wheeled and fired to the plate. But as I said, the Ibanez throw didn’t have much mustard on it.
5:17 p.m.: Now that is what the Mariners have been missing offesnively so far this season. A little extra-base pop, which has given them a 2-1 lead. Richie Sexson got a two-run fourth-inning rally started with a double just inside the third base bag and down the left field line. Adrian Beltre stepped up next and deposited an 0-1 offering from Steve Trachsel into the left field bleachers. A fair number of M’s fans here judging by the crowd reaction. We’ll see whether that slugging outburst proves contagious. Jarrod Washburn needs to keep his pitch count down in the fourth if he hopes to make it through at least five innings tonight. He’s got a lead, but the first three batters are right handed.
5:08 p.m.: Seattle went 1-2-3 in the third inning, but so did the Orioles. Yuniesky Betancourt grounded out, Ichiro flied out to center and Jose Lopez flied out to left. But Jarrod Washburn needed only 12 pitches to get through a perfect inning of his own. He fanned Nick Markakis for the second time tonight, got Kevin Millar to foul out to right field and Aubrey Huff to fly out fairly deep to center. Washburn now at 73 pitches. He’s picked on the lefty hitters tonight. Huff is getting roundly booed when he comes to bat. He criticized the city of Baltimore during the off-season, implying it’s a dull place, and the fans aren’t too happy.
4:55 p.m.: Some interesting defense at first base helped the Baltimore Orioles open the scoring in the second inning. The O’s now lead 1-0 after Jay Payton led off the first with what was ruled a single. First baseman Richie Sexson dove to his right for the hard grounder. Sexson actually dove over the ball, which roled underneath him as he extended his glove and body a little too far. The play was ruled a hit, as we said, but that was a playable ball from what I could see. Ramon Hernandez then singled to center to put runners and first and second. Adam Jones got a nice hand from the crowd as he came up. The best Jones could manage was a grounder to the right side, which did advance the runners after Jarrod Washburn had jumped out 0-2 on him. So, a decent at-bat for Jones. Luis Hernandez then flied out to center, but it was deep enough to bring the speedy Payton home from third.
Washburn is already in pitch-count trouble, having thrown 61 through two innings. The crowd is getting on him with chants of “Wasshhh-burrrn!” We saw this a lot from him last season. Sometimes, he bounced back in innings three-through-five and made it into the sixth. It’s going to be tough to do that tonight.
4:34 p.m.: A one-out walk by Brad Wilkerson, on a 3-1 pitch, goes for naught as Jose Vidro pops out to second and Kenji Johjima flies out on a nice drive to center. The offense has had runners in both innings, but the other guys not on base have done very little with their bats. We’ll see if that changes. The good news is, we’re moving right along, even with Steve Trachsel on the mound. Maybe the M’s can get this one in before any more rain comes. That plan only works if they can score at least a run, though.
4:28 p.m.: Jarrod Washburn missed a few spots in the bottom of the first, but escaped a two-on, two-out jam by striking out Aubrey Huff with the count full. Washburn fanned both lefty hitters, Huff and Nick Markakis, that he faced in the inning. Also got the switch-hitting Brian Roberts on a soft grounder to second. But he made things interesting by (barely) hitting Melvin Mora with a pitch, then yielding a two-out single to right by Kevin Millar. So, we’re scoreless after one.
4:16 p.m.: So, what do Orioles pitcher Steve Trachsel and former Mariners manager Mike Hargrove have in common? Yes, it’s their nicknames. No, not Grover. The “Human Rain Delay” nickname. Though it only took Trachsel nine minutes to get through the top of the first, even with a one-out single blooped to left by Jose Lopez, who stole second with one out and took third on a throwing error. But Richie Sexson (alas) struck out swinging after again working the count full. Been doing that a lot this season so far. The teamperature at gametime was 61degrees, much warmer than we saw in Seattle in the season-opening series with the Rangers.
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Ever wondered what it’s like to stand at home plate at Camden Yards with a tarp on the field in the rain? Now you know.
51 Ichiro (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
2 Kenji Johjima C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
56 Jarrod Washburn LHP
Orioles (1-1)
1 Brian Roberts (S) 2B
6 Melvin Mora 3B
21 Nick Markakis (L) RF
15 Kevin Millar 1B
17 Aubrey Huff (L) DH
16 Jay Payton LF
55 Ramon Hernandez C
10 Adam Jones CF
2 Luis Hernandez (S) SS
41 Steve Trachsel RHP



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