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

May 5, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Three innings of great offense

It looked like the Mariners were really going to break out tonight — nine hits and seven runs through three innings. And then they went silent, getting just one hit over the final five innings. In fact, Josh Rupe and Eddie Guardado retired the last 14 Seattle hitters in a row.
But seven runs are seven runs for a team that has been in a brutal slump. The game was especially sweet for Wladimir Balentien, who at times has looked overmatched but crushed a Kevin Millwood fastball for a three-run homer to left-center in the third inning. That’s two homers and six ribbies for Balentien in six starts — more pop than they got from Brad Wilkerson in a month.
Jarrod Washburn looked as good as I’ve ever seen him for six innings, blanking Texas on one hit. He said he tweaked his right calf warming up but was able to pitch through it. At least, until his last pitch in the sixth, when he said he felt it pop. That doesn’t sound so good. The word “pop” is always ominous. Washburn gave up an infield single to Gerald Laird leading off the seventh on a slow roller, then a double to Michael Young and a two-run single to Milton Bradley. The trainer came out, and Washburn was done. Manager John McLaren said afterward he expects Washburn to make his next start, but Washburn said he wouldn’t know for sure until he sees how he feels tomorrow.
J.J. Putz worked the ninth and didn’t exactly look like vintage Putz, which remains a concern. But after giving up two hits that put runners on second and third, Putz did work out of it, striking out Brandon Boggs and getting Frank Catalanotto to pop out. It was 3-2 on Catalanotto. If he had walked, Josh Hamilton would have come up as a pinch-hitter as the potential tying run, which would have been scary. Remember, it was Hamilton who homered off Putz way back on April 1, in the second game of the year, after Putz had hurt his rib. That cost the Mariners a victory. He went on the DL the next day. Hamilton has emerged as one of the league’s top hitters, and leads the AL with 33 RBI.
No day is completely worry free in baseball, but this was a pretty good day for the Mariners.

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