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July 9, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Eric Wedge furious at umpire’s call, saying it “changed the entire ballgame”

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This wasn’t a great night for the Mariners, who fell 6 1/2 games out of the division lead and pretty much ended their chances in the AL West — given that decisions have to be made about trades in coming weeks.
It was bad enough to give up three more home runs, two by Torii Hunter off Michael Pineda. Even worse to match the Angels with a dozen hits but get outscored 9-3 because the M’s stranded 10 more runners.
But it didn’t help that Pineda — who began the night striking out five straight batters — thought he had a double-play with nobody left on in a scoreless third inning, only to find himself with runners at first and second with none out.
That’s because third base umpire Sam Holbrook, on appeal, ruled that Hank Conger did indeed check his swing at a full-count pitch. Mark Trumbo was on first and had broken for second, but was thrown out by Miguel Olivo.
But when Holbrook made his call, the result was a Conger walk, meaning Trumbo automatically could advance to second. No strikeout. No double play.
A very angry Mariners dugout. Wedge chirped a bit too much from that dugout and was tossed by Holbrook. That left Wedge incensed and he hadn’t cooled down much after the game.
Hear what Wedge had to say by clicking right here.
“It changes the course of the entire ballgame,” Wedge said of the call. “Two outs and nobody on, to first-and-second and nobody out. They score four runs. It’s ridiculous. It was obvious to everybody in the ballpark, obviously, except for him that he did go (around). It was just a bad call. A bad call that changed the entire ballgame.”
And, he added, not the greatest ejection.
“It’s getting to the point with these umpires that you can’t even look at them without them throwing you out,” Wedge said. “God forbid you question something or, you make any type of gesture to where you’re unhappy with it, those guys are so damned sensitive, it’s just unbelievable.”
Wedge added: “It’s a damned shame. Unless he just wasn’t paying attention, there’s no reason he should miss that.”

Pineda didn’t do himself any favors. He admitted that he rushed his throw on an ensuing Mike Trout bunt because of the rookie’s speed.
The throw went in the path of the runner and Dustin Ackley — covering first — couldn’t corral it.
Hunter’s homer followed one out later.
Pineda admitted he was a bit miffed and thought he should have had the double play.
“Next time, with the umpire, whenever something happens, I’m going to focus on the game,” Pineda said. “Because it’s my game.”
Implying that he didn’t focus as well as he could.
“He’s still a young kid,” Wedge said, calling the outing a learning experience.
Which is exactly what the rest of this season now amounts to. This stretch of losses has pretty much left 2011 in the dust for the M’s. It’s going to be mostly about playing for 2012 now, barring a miraculous turn of events.
Not that this year’s squad is completely out of the woods.
This two-or-three runs per game stuff is going to cause losses to pile up in a hurry without the standout pitching that’s carried the team so far. Some of these pitchers are showing signs of stepping back just a touch. Without the hitters to support them and a killer late-July schedule, memories of how this team contended right up to mid-July could go out the window if the offense doesn’t figure this out.
“I think both teams had the same number of hits, but it was the difference between three runs and nine runs,” he said. “We got some two-out knocks tonight. We were better offensively. It’s a step.”
He’ll have to hope.
Because it’s doubtful any offensive rescue is coming from outside the organization now. Not with this team seven back in the loss column and just three weeks until the trade deadline.
The Mariners will have to start to practice what they’ve preached and carry over the stuff they’re doing behind the scenes. They’re on-pace for about 84 losses right now. It’s not that far to 90+ — which is where many people expected them to be.
If they want to avoid that, now’s the time to work at it.



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