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May 16, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Mariners vs. Padres, May 16, game thread

M’S DROP ANOTHER ONE — A tough loss as the Mariners couldn’t turn that win in Texas two days ago into a streak. Good news is Bedard and Felix the next two nights. Bad news is a loss to a team that was the worst in the NL (Colorado now holds that distinction).
ONE LAST CHANCE — Jose Vidro pinch hits to lead off the ninth, and gets a single, with his back apparently well enough to hit.
ATTENDANCE IS 35,586 — Some likely lured by the J.J. Putz bobblehead, others by the weather, and others simply by the fact that this is what they have come to expect to do come mid-May. But they may leave this night with little to remember but those dolls.
CLEMENT DOWN TO .170 — Jeff Clement has now struck out three times tonight and his average was down to .170 before that K in the eighth.
THE OLD 9-5-3-6-2 — That was the official scoring decision on the out that ended San Diego’s top of the eighth, and that could turn out to be a big run denied if the Mariners can get something of their own going.
ICHIRO SNAPS 0-16 STREAK — With a single to left to start the seventh.
YOUNG OUT — Chris Young is now out for the Padres and Cla Meridith, who really ought to have a Y in his name, in.
BATISTA STRUGGLES — He finished allowing six runs and nine hits in 5.1 innings. He has now allowed 16 runs in 20 innings in May, which is historically one of his better months. The Mariner press notes include a rather obscure stat that Batista has the third-largest decrease in ERA in May among active pitchers, from 5.32 in April to 4.04 in May. Probably not this year, however.
WEIRD PLAY — San Diego gets a 2-1-4 putout on that play in the last inning where catcher Josh Bard lost and then dropped a high pop up from Sexson. It’s 5-4 entering the sixth and Ryan Rowland-Smith is warming up, likely to take over soon for Batista.
BATISTA BARELY HANGING ON — Batista has thrown 89 pitches through five innings, allowed eight hits, five for extra bases, walked two and hit one. But he’s stayed in the game due to a few timely outs, such as the nice over-the-railing catch by Beltre that ended last inning. If the M’s can get a couple of runs here he could get a win out of a performance that’s been pretty ugly overall.
STEALING TIME — Ichiro’s steal there in the fourth didn’t amount to much as the rally fizzled, leaving the score at 5-4. But it did give Ichiro 47 stolen bases against NL teams, the most in the history of Interleague play.
HANGING IN — The bats are heating up with the temperature here as it’s 5-4 at the end of three innings. It’s taken 1:05 to play the first three innings — it took just 2:23 to play the entire game here last Friday when the White Sox won 4-2.
RIGHT BACK IN IT — Shades of the old “two outs, so what” days there as the Mariners get three runs after two were out, including a homer by Johjima whose hot streak continues. He is now 10 for his last 22. But the inning ended in disappointing fashion as Beltre struck out with the bases loaded, leaving it 4-3 San Diego.
SO MUCH FOR THE MOMENTUM OF THE TEXAS WIN — Okay, so there are eight innings to go. But the early returns here tonight aren’t encouraging that there will be any carry-over of the win in Texas on Wednesday, which McLaren said before the game was one of the most important of the season. It’s 3-0 Padres and the Mariners went three up, three down. Ichiro is now 0 for his last 16.
OUCH — Tough start to this one as Miguel Batista gave up three runs on three hard hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He entered the game with a 6.14 ERA in May (10 runs in 14.2 innings) and will need to do some work now to keep that from not going up even more tonight. The crowd grew restless early, booing after the third batter of the game.
PRE-GAME — Bob Condotta here filling in for Geoff.
First, the lineup tonight for the Mariners
Ichiro, CF
Jose Lopez, 2B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Richie Sexson, 1B
Jeff Clement, DH
Kenji Johjima, C
Wladimir Balentein, RF
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
As you can see, Sexson is back after his five-game suspension, and manager John McLaren said before the game he hopes the time off will help Sexson get on a roll.
Also, Jose Vidro is again out of the lineup, still dealing with back issues. When McLaren spoke to us before batting practice he said Vidro was seeing the doctor. He said he expected that Vidro will be able to pinch-hit tonight if needed. Vidro has missed seven of the last nine games with back spasms.
That means Clement and Johjima are together in the linenup, something McLaren said he thinks could happen regularly against left-handers. The M’s tonight face righty Chris Young.
I was out here last Friday and Johjima was on the bench, mired in a slump. But he’s played the five games since then, going 9-21, .429, to raise his average from .184 to .227. McLaren said he thinks Johjima was trying too hard and thinks he’s beginning to turn it around now.
In fact, he said he thinks the whole team may have found something with the 12-inning win at Texas that on Wednesday, saying that could be the game were the “worm turned.”
“Now this is our type of weather,” he said. “And we had a huge game the other day. … Now we’re looking to get back to winning two out of three, two out of three, two out of three, and start gaining some momentum, and hopefully some of the other teams in our division start struggling a little big and we start gaining on them and get even and we go from there.”



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