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March 21, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Oakland Athletics at Mariners: 03/21 game thread

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Make it 7-2 for the Mariners after scoring twice more in the fifth. Ken Griffey Jr. doubled, then scored after singles by Mike Sweeney and Jeff Clement. Matt Tuiasosopo singled as well, as did Chris Shelton, but only one run scored since Clement was called out for interference on the basepaths. Mike Morse then singled as well — six straight hits by the M’s — to bring another run home.
Seattle’s bullpen candidates have been more effective today, retiring 10 in a row. Miguel Batista notched four ground ball outs, Roy Corcoran got the side in order in the fifth and Shawn Kelley did the same in the sixth. We’re now on to the seventh.
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Earlier today, lefty reliever Tyler Johnson (photo above) threw a simulated game of about 25 pitches. He’d work in breaking balls when the count was 0-2, or 1-2, or starting off against a lefthanded batter.

There were some release point issues he was working through, but this was a significant development getting him out there against live hitters. More so than anything else taking place in camp today. The M’s have only two guys — Johnson and Cesar Jimenez — who really fit the situational lefty bill and Jimenez has had troubles getting southpaws out. So, they need Johnson to get his surgically-repaired shoulder ready to go.
I spoke to him one-on-one the moment he came off the field and re-entered the clubhouse.
Hear his impressions of the session right here.
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Naturally, given the importance of today’s session, all of the team’s top brass was on-hand to witness it. This includes GM Jack Zduriencik, seen below in a green shirt, as well as assistants Tony Blengino, Lee Pelekoudas and director of player development Pedro Griffol.
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2:45 p.m. It’s now 4-2 for the M’s as we head to the bottom of the fifth. Ken Griffey Jr. had a third blooper drop in front of him in the second inning for a Jack Hannahan double. Hannahan then scored on a Cliff Pennington single to make it 2-1 for the A’s.
But Seattle tied it in the bottom of the inning, with Matt Tuiasosopo reaching on an infield single and taking second on a throwing error. He then scored on a Mike Morse double off the glove of center fielder Rajai Davis.
The M’s scored twice in the third to take the lead on consecutive walks to Franklin Gutierrez and Griffey, then a Mike Sweeney single. Griffey later scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Tuiasosopo. And Griffey just hit a one-out double to right field in the bottom of the fifth. M’s still up by two.
1:21 p.m.: Ken Griffey Jr. is back in left field this afternoon. Should be interesting. Garrett Olson on the mound for the M’s, trying to lock up either a fifth starter or long relief job. Has not looked impressive this spring.
Olson struck out the first two hitters, then saw Ryan Sweeney bloop one down the left field line. Not only did Griffey failt to catch up to the ball, he also took his time getting it back in. Sweeney wound up on third with a triple. The next hitter, Jack Cust, also blooped one to left. Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt raced back for it and actually came closer to the ball than Griffey, who again watched as it fell just inside fair territory for a single. The run scored. A fan yelled “E7!” and an elderly female fan screamed “Come on Griffey, earn your money!”
Griffey did catch a line drive to left center, ranging slightly to his left, to end the inning. Franklin Gutierrez tied it up with one out in the bottom of the frame, clobbering a 3-1 pitch for a homer to left. So, we’re tied 1-1 heading to the second.

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