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May 16, 2009 at 6:19 PM

Mariners-Red Sox game thread

10 p.m. — Jonathan Papelbon shuts down the M’s in the ninth after a two-out hit by Endy Chavez, and Boston wins, 5-3.
9:40 p.m. — Russell Branyan’s double to left with two outs and Seattle down 5-3 has given the M’s life. But they’re facing the spector of Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, Mike Lowell makes a diving stop on Wladimir Balentien’s shot toward the hole, and we go to the ninth.
9 p.m. — Seven hits through six innings by both teams combined in this one, and four are homers, three by Boston. It’s 5-3 going to the seventh. Wladimir Balentien appeared possibly to hurt himself in the bottom of the sixth, swinging at a Josh Beckett off-speed pitch, but he stayed in the game and has come out for the seventh.
8:20 p.m. — M’s missed a great chance to tie it at 4, with Branyan at third and nobody out, down 4-3. Somewhat surprisingly, the Sox played the infield in until two outs and denied Seattle the tie. But they’re making Josh Beckett work; he’s thrown 79 pitches through four innings. One of his tormentors, oddly, is Yuni Betancourt, who strung out an 0-2 count into his third walk in two games in the fourth.
7:45 p.m. — In his pre-game talk, M’s manager Don Wakamatsu called Yuniesky Betancourt one of the most talented hitters on the team. That was in the course of discussing Betancourt’s much-discussed inability to take pitchers deep into counts. Well, Betancourt just showed what Wakamatsu was talking about, drilling a Josh Beckett pitch over the leftfield fence for a two-run jolt that cut the Mariner deficit to 4-2.
One point Wakamatsu made was that Betancourt had scored a scant seven runs entering the game. Make it eight now.
7:30 p.m. — The M’s are in tough without Erik Bedard, out with a hamstring problem. Garrett Olson just gave up his second two-run homer of the game, this one to Jason Varitek. It’s 4-0, Boston, midway through the second.
7:15 p.m. — 72 degrees at game time . . . doesn’t get much better than this on a May evening out here. But Jason Bay spoils the top of the first for the M’s fans by hitting one about 30 feet farther than he hit the warning-track fly ball Friday night against David Aardsma. This one goes for a two-run homer against Garrett Olson and a 2-0 Boston lead.
Sox fans are loud out here, seemingly more vocal than they were Friday night.
Matt Tuiasosopo, the Woodinville product who began the season with the Mariners before being sent to Tacoma, will have elbow surgery Tuesday to relieve some discomfort in the joint and will be out 3-6 weeks, M’s general manager Jack Zduriencik said Saturday.
“It’s almost like ‘salt,’ ” said Zduriencik. “Kind of like a spur. Every time he’ll extend, it’ll fray a little bit. It’s not anything serious, not anything structural.”
Tuiasosopo will have the surgery performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California. After what Zduriencik called a “great spring,” Tuiasosopo was sent to Tacoma April 16 but has logged only 27 at-bats with three hits while fighting the injury.
Depending on his rehabilitation and the fate of Adrian Beltre at trade-deadline time later this season, Tuiasosopo, primarily a third baseman, could figure in a key way for the Mariners.
Zduriencik reported that Chad Cordero, the closer who turned in 47 saves with the Washington Nationals in 2005, pitched again Saturday in the extended-spring program, but “the velocity isn’t there yet. It’s a process.” Cordero had talked at one time about a possible return late in May or early June, but that timetable now looks unrealistic.
Meanwhile, Ryan Rowland-Smith, recovering from triceps tendinitis, threw two innings of extended-spring relief Saturday and is due for a bullpen session Tuesday before the M’s send him on a rehab assignment. But reliever Shawn Kelley (oblique muscle), says M’s manager Don Wakamatsu, is probably three weeks away from a pitching program.
Mariners fans may have been in disbelief Friday night when they saw Yuniesky Betancourt walk twice, doubling his season total. Betancourt went almost a month before drawing his first walk of the season.
Wakamatsu had a recent talk with Betancourt about his on-base percentage – still only .276 – and went with Ronnie Cedeno in the final two games of the week’s Texas series, saying he inserted Betancourt in the Friday-night opener against Boston only because the matchup was favorable.
“The discussion we had was basically that a .269 on-base percentage will not get us into the playoffs,” Wakamatsu said. “Not singling him out . . . he’s one of the most talented hitters on our club. I think he got the message: Either he plays the way he should or Ronnie will be in there.”



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