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March 9, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Mariners yield bunch of HR, fall 8-5 to the Diamondbacks

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The Mariners gave up some gopher balls today — five in all — and it cost them in an 8-5 loss to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. Jason Vargas was nearly through his four-inning outing when he put some guys on and then saw Ryan Roberts belt a three-run homer to put Arizona ahead to stay. Vargas had given up a solo homer earlier in the contest but did throw 82 pitches in his march to be ready to make the second start of the regular season in Japan.
Later on George Sherill came on and served up a solo homer to leadoff batter Chris Young in the sixth. Sherrill otherwise looked OK, retiring the next three batters in a row.
“I liked what I saw today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He did a good job with his fatball, had something on his fastball. Threw some good breaking balls both to right-handers and left-handers and was down.”
But the same could not be said for Hong-Chih Kuo, whose very first pitch was swatted over the left field wall by Rusty Ryal.


Kuo got an out after that, then yielded a single and walked two batters before notching a called strikeout to end his outing. Josh Kinney came on to finish the inning and allowed an RBI single — charged to Kuo. One of Kuo’s pitches sailed up high and way off-target, forcing the catcher to stretch to keep it from going to the backstop.
“He’s still struggling with his command,” Wedge said. “He was down at times, better, today and that’s the guy we need to see. But just trying to tighten up his delivery a bit to where he’s a little more consistent with his release point and can be a little more consistent and just down at home plate.”
Needless to say, he’s got some work ahead of him on the command side. He’s had his issues before, as we well know, though this isn’t as bad as previously.
Alex Liddi had a big day offensively, getting a double, two singles and a stolen base. Liddi also grounded into a double play late in the game on one of the final rallies the Marners put together.

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