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July 23, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Mariners saved some of their best for this game, but just did not get it done in the end

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Had the Mariners played with this much intensity the past 2 1/2 weeks, they probably would not be on a 14-game losing streak.
No way they lose that many if the pitching scrapped and clawed the way Blake Beavan did tonight. If the defense made the big plays it did to keep Beavan alive through what was very nearly seven shutout innings.
The M’s would not be tied with the 1992 squad for the longest losing streak in franchise history had they filled bases up as regularly as they did in this game.
And the M’s certainly would not be on a streak that has derailed a once-memorable season had they been able to score with any frequency this season once they get runners into position. That trend continued in this affair, with Seattle stranding 11 runners on base.
They had the bases loaded with nobody out in the eighth and failed to score.
They had runners at second and third and one out in the sixth and couldn’t get it done.
There were bad breaks too. That Kevin Youkilis play on the Brendan Ryan slow hopper in the seventh was unbelievable. Some 99 times out of 100, Ryan will be safe, the run will score and it would be a 2-0 lead for the M’s.
Not this time.
Ryan then saw what looked like a game-tying homer in the ninth hook just foul in left field.
Yes, the M’s had bad luck. But they also did not make enough of their own luck, as valliantly as they fought today’s battle.
“We just left too many runners in scoring position,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Bases loaded and nobody out and getting nothing out of it. Second and third and one out and getting nothing out of it. That’s the ballgame right there. When I talk about toughness and fighting through Abs, those are the situations I’m talking about. You’ve got to get something out of there. You’ve got to stick your nose in there and get something out of it.”
Wedge stuck with Beavan in the seventh with runners at second and third, two out and lefty hitter Jacoby Ellsbury up. The Mariners had southpaw Aaron Laffey in the bullpen, but left Beavan in to give up the go-ahead single.
Afterwards, Wedge said he had no qualms leaving Beavan in there. He was saving Laffey for a string of upcoming lefties that were still a few spots away and doesn’t feel the southpaw is really a “situational guy” in any event.
Beavan had retired the first two batters in the inning with relative ease before yielding a two-out single to Jason Varitek and a ground-rule double to Marco Scutaro. But neither ball was hit all that hard.
In the end, Beavan gave up the two-run single. He told us he was trying to throw a four-seam fastball away but that it caught too much plate.
It was a tough way to lose. No team in the majors has lost this many since the Kansas City Royals dropped 19 straight back in 2005. That Royals team also wasn’t at .500 and 2 1/2 games out of the division lead when the streak began.


The scene in the visitors’ clubhouse reminded me a little of a post-game football locker room. It was hot out there and the players seemed physically and emotionally spent. Basebal players like to say they’re “up” for every game, which is nonsense. Especially on hit days this time of year. But tonight, they were “up”. That was as intense as I’ve seen the Mariners play all season. They wanted this one bad.
“We don’t want to be on a 14-game losing streak,” Mike Carp said. “We want to win just as bad as the next team. We’re fighting hard. We’re coming up just a little short every time.”
Carp had opened the scoring with a homer in the seventh off Josh Beckett. But he also popped out in a basebs-loaded, none out situation to begin a massive M’s fold in the eighth. When asked if he’d pressed too hard in that at-bat, Carp said he’d maintained the same approach but “just got under” the change-up that Daniel Bard had sent him up in the zone and that he’d been expecting.
He didn’t say it, but it looked like Carp jumped on the ball too soon.
Wedge said he also thought Carp got on the ball a little too fast.
“Yeah, I did,” Wedge said. “I just talked to him briefly about that and I think he tried to do a little bit too much. I think we’ve got a lot of that going on. When you’re in a stretch like this…you’ve got a locker room of guys who care. There’s a lot of pride out there and everything’s a little bit damaged right now.
“You’ve got to separate from today, clear your mind and work to win a ballgame tomorrow. You can’t carry that baggage around with you.”
Dustin Ackley, who had three hits tonight, but struck out to end the game, said he feels the team has played with a high intensity of late, even as the streak has climbed.
“I think we’ve been ready pretty much every day,” he said. “But tonight we put a lot better at-bats together. We strung together some hits in a few innings, but we were just that one hit away it seemed, every time we got runners on, from getting a few across.
“That’s what you have to do to win games.”

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan

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