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

March 19, 2009 at 10:33 PM

Mariners outlast Padres

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Mike Wilson, pictured above, hit his third home run in two nights to help the M’s get started towards a comeback win tonight against the San Diego Padres. He also added an RBI double and scored a run.
So, the Mariners salvaged a split of their day’s games, with a split-squad winning 10-8 over the Padres. Earlier on, another split-squad was beaten, 9-2, by the Chicago Cubs.
Tonight’s game featured more Seattle regulars, with Adrian Beltre distinguishing himself with the glove right off the bat by snaring a scorching liner from Scott Hairston in the first inning. Ryan Rowland-Smith had an off-night, giving up five first-inning runs before he even knew what hit him. Beltre’s glove snare spared him even further damage no doubt. And while Rowland-Smith more or less settled in from there, throwing four innings and giving up only one more run.
But six runs on 10 hits over four innings won’t cut it. He had a bad night.
“I think the good thing is we got him up to 73 pitches, that’s about it,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said afterwards. “I thought he left a lot of balls up in the zone. But again, we were just trying to build him up. So, we’re happy about that.”
Hear all of what Wakamatsu said right here.
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Other highlights?
Well, besides the M’s coming back from 5-0 down in the first, they got some good outings from Cesar Jimenez and Shawn Kelley (pictured below), the latter of whom closed out the ninth.
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We also got to see Russell Branyan show a little basepath speed. He stole his first base of the spring. Then, for good measure, he stole third base as well and wound up scoring on a throwing error.
“To me, I think if we can teach these guys to do some things and not be afraid, then we’re headed in the right direction,” Wakamatsu said.
The manager added that he’d never green-light Branyan unless the pitcher was 1.5 seconds or 1.6 seconds to the plate, as was the case tonight. But he did say: “Russell can run a little bit.”
he can also hit, going 3-for-4 with a double and driving his average up to .357.
As for Ken Griffey Jr., Wakamatsu said he handled himself fine in the field and “showed some arm strength.”
Wakamatsu praised Griffey for the work he’s done in batting practice trying to get used to the different angles the balls take off the bat heading to left as opposed to right field or center. The manager was asked what he wanted to see from Griffey.
“How he’s covering,” he said. “How deep is he going to play? How much of the gap is he going to give up? Again, those will come with his strength and moving around good.”
Wakamatsu said Griffey’s knees have taken some time to prepare for this day. Remember, he’s been here almost four weeks now. Wakamatsu also feels Griffey’s timing and swing — he’s 2-for-17 (.118) at the plate — will come around some more as he gains confidence in his surgically-repaired knees.
“The one thing is, as he trusts his legs a little more, I think you’ll see him get into balls some more.”
He added: “It’s not a pain thing. But it’s just still, it’s more of does he trust it? Especially at his age, it’s how much are you going to push it right away? And he’s starting to right now, so we’ll see.”
The M’s will play Griffey as a DH tomorrow, then in the field again on Saturday.
By the way, down below, you can see that our little buddy hasn’t moved. Slept right through the final seven innings.
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