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March 2, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Mariners game thread March 2 — vs. White Sox

MARINERS WIN, MARINERS WIN — It’s another victory for the unstoppable hometown nine as the Mariners held on to beat the White Sox 5-3.
The White Sox threatened in the bottom of the ninth when two reached with two outs — including a walk by former Husky Brent Lillibridge.
But Randy Messenger, who could become a factor in the closer’s job, came on to strike out Brandon Allen on four pitches, the final one caught looking.
The Mariners are now 4-0-1 and have won four in a row.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu again seemed pretty happy about it all.
He said he thought Jarrod Washburn, who pitched two scoreless innings, “was real good” and that Ryan Rowland-Smith was better than his outing in the charity game other than the one pitch for a three-run HR to Jim Thome. “I thought he was a little excited there, but it was still an improvement over his last outing,” Wakamatsu said.
He said he went to Messenger at the end because “I want to see guys late in the ball game. He did a good job of shutting the door.”
The team will take tomorrow off, the first of the spring, and Wakamatsu said it “is definitely needed.” That’s particularly the case for some of the outfielders, who are seeing some more time than might normally be expected with Ichiro off to the WBC and Ken Griffey Jr. yet to play, among other things.
Wakamatsu also made note of Adrian Beltre’s slide into second when he reached on a two-base error. Beltre was DHing as he recovers from wrist surgery.
“You hold your breath sometimes on those, but when you play careful things seem to sneak up on you,” he said.
“There’s no stopping him. He plays the game so aggressive. You hear him in the dugout and his presence, he’s good for these young kids to be around.”
Also, the Mariners got their first look today at shortstop prospect Carlos Truinfel. He was 0 for 1 but showed a good arm on one throw.
“I thought he was pretty impressive,” Wakamatsu said. “He showed some arm, some presence.” But noting a swing at a high pitch, Wakamatsu joked, “We’ve got to work on his aggressiveness at the plate.”
TUI GETS ANOTHER HIT — Matt Tuiasosopo singled sharply up the middle in the eighth inning for the Mariners, making him 6 for 11 for the spring. It’s a nice start for the one-time future UW football star and keeps him in the conversation to make the opening-day roster, though the real test figures to come in a few weeks when pitchers start throwing more breaking balls.
Also, bullpen candidate Denny Stark had a decent one inning, allowing only an infield hit.
MARINERS STILL UP 5-3 HEADING INTO THE TOP OF THE SEVENTH — No scoring since the last update, and it’s almost all just prospects in the game now for the M’s.
One thing to remember is that Seattle will play 39 spring training games this year, the most in club history by five — the previous high was 34 in 2007.
The reason is the WBC, which is lengthening spring training for everyone — the season will start April 6 this year opposed to March 31 last year. In fact, this will be the latest opening day since the strike year of 1995, and the latest in a non-strike season since 1991 (April 9).
GAME UPDATE — Sorry for the inattention to the M’s blog, but I had some other duties for a little while.
Seattle leads 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth at the gleaming new park in Glendale that the White Sox are sharing with the Dodgers. Lots of nice berm space to lay out on here.
Seattle got a two-run triple from Rob Johnson and a two-run single by Reegie Corona in the third en route to a 5-0 lead.
The White Sox rallied with a three-run HR by Jim Thome in the bottom of the fourth off Ryan Rowland-Smith, who didn’t look real good, giving up four hits and three runs in two innings.
Jarrod Washburn started for Seattle and gave up only a hit in two innings.
He said later he has been working on a little mechanical change of his hip movement, with the aim of “getting out farther to stay on top of the ball,” which he said he thinks will bring some more life to the end of his pitches.
“The sinker keeps sinking and the cutter cuts a little more,” he said.
Washburn said he thinks it’s been working, as evidenced by today’s outing.
HEAVY-HITTING FOES — Kind of like Texas yesterday, the White Sox are throwing out a pretty stout lineup to start the game.
Here it is
Brian Anderson, CF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Carlos Quentin, LF
Jermaine Dye, RF
Jim Thome, DH
Paul Konerko, 1B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Josh Fields, 3B
Chris Getz, 2B
Clayton Richard, P

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