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August 9, 2011 at 8:49 PM

UPDATED: Rangers come back off Seattle bullpen to hand M’s a 7-6 loss

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The good news in this 7-6 walkoff loss by the M’s tonight in Texas? At least the Angels are steaming mad at them right now.
We’ve seen these types of games in this ballpark before. Michael Pineda handed off a three-run lead to his bullpen after six.
But Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer off Josh Lueke in the seventh. Jeff Gray yielded a two-out double to Yorvit Torrealba to tie it up in the eighth after the M’s failed to pick off Nelson Cruz.
Gray had Cruz nabbed at first, but he sprinted to second and beat the throw — which a covering Jack Wilson dropped anyway.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge chalked it up to a case of “perfect timing” by Cruz, who left the bag a split second after Gray had commited to his windup, meaning the pitcher could not step off the rubber and throw the runner out at second.

Then, in the ninth, Gray was still in there and walked Kinsler. Aaron Laffey came on and Endy Chavez laid a perfect bunt up the first base line.
Josh Hamilton singled to center and the M’s have now lost four of five games in which they’ve competed in all but one.
Too many walks in this game and a whole bunch came around to score.
“Three out of the last four runs that scored were on walks,” Wedge said. “That was the difference late in the ballgame.”
Lueke walked a guy ahead of the home run. Gray did the same before the Torrealba double that tied it up.
Michael Pineda’s final four innings were the lone bright spot. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced after getting knocked around the first two innings. Pineda admitted he felt a bit too strong early on because of the long layoff.
He loved the hot weather, though.
“I like hot weather,” Pineda said. “Because my arm gets loose pretty fast.”
And once he made a little adjustment, standing taller at the request of catcher Miguel Olivo, he began hitting his target better with his fastball. He also stopped trying to overthrow it and took a little off.
Much better job by him the third time around against Texas than we saw from Alexi Ogando in his third start versus Seattle. Ogando lasted only 2 2/3 innings and was pounded for six runs.
“A lot of it is location and when you get to see a guy a second time around as a starter, you have a little better idea when you’re facing him,” said Jack Wilson, who walked, singled and scored twice off Ogando, then added a double against the Rangers bullpen. “We were able to get on him early, which gave us a good start.”
Don’t know how Wilson’s doing it. He’s singlehandedly rebuilding the potential for trade value. We’ll see whether anybody bites these final three weeks before the August dealing season — where players must pass through waivers first — is up.
So, anyway, there you go. Your positives on another losing night.



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