UPDATED WITH POST-GAME QUOTES
The Mariners had a shot in this one, but their two biggest bullpen arms couldn’t get it done. Mark Lowe and David Aardsma gave up two-out, RBI hits in the eighth and ninth and the Mariners wound up losing 7-4.
Seattle led by a run in the eighth when Lowe, having yielded a leadoff double, gave up the tying single to Michael Young. Aardsma got two quick outs in a tied ninth, then surrendered three straight hits to fall behind by a run.
Randy Messenger came on, served up a two-run double and that was it.
This happens when relievers are well past their due date. Both Lowe and Aardsma have earned a nice, long winter off. But there are still games to play and — though both are well beyond career highs for innings and appearances — they have to go out there.
Nights like this happen. It’s part of the growing process.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said as much when we spoke to him moments ago. Wakamatsu pulled Lowe and Aardsma right after they gave up their runs, trying to factor in pitch-counts and preserve whatever’s left in their arms in case they are needed the next two days.
“Normally, earlier in the year, we wouldn’t do that,” he said.
Wakamatsu noted that the Rangers scored the game’s final four runs with two out. Faced with their own two-out situations at the plate in the final four innings of the game, the Mariners could not come through.
“The timing of our hitting was not good,” he said. “But theirs was.”
Wakamatsu was pleased with the work by lefty relievers Garret Olson and Jason Vargas after Ian Snell left with a 4-3 lead through six. He felt that Snell was much too tentative early on, but rebounded well those final three innings.
Snell admitted he didn’t have much going for him, especially early on.
“I didn’t have command of anything,” he said. “I couldn’t throw anything over the plate. But when I needed to get out of innings, I found a way to get out of them.”
That he did. And with a normal Lowe and Aardsma out there, he’d probably have won the game. But both relievers are gassed.
Snell thanked the Seattle fans for getting behind him here in Seattle. He feels a world of difference from what he left behind in Pittsburgh and plans to spend his final throwing workouts and off-season regimen focusing on going after hitters instead of nibbling.
He’s a work in progress, no doubt.
Mike Carp had a three-hit game and that big, two-run single.
He’s certainly given management plenty to think about.
“I’m just hoping to make a good impression,” he said. “I’ll work my butt off this winter, come in and try to win a spot on this team.”
He just might do it, too.
That’s it for me. Don’t forget to read Larry Stone’s interesting piece on the Jack Wilson situation, for tomorrow’s paper but already up online. Part of our continuing series of year-end features we’ve been running the past week and also last week beginning with Jose Lopez and his home run goal.