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April 10, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Blake Beavan and Mariners come up just a play or two short in rare 1-0 game at Rangers Ballpark

Blake Beavan grew up about a 15-minute drive from here in Irving, Tex. and had his chance to witness many, many Texas Rangers games live. In fact, he told me he’d probaby seen “thousands” of them, though we all know that’s impossible unless he is using a Dominican birth certificate and is really 52 or something.
Still, it’s easy to see how Beavan was caught up in the excitement of the day, so, hyperbole aside, we’ll agree he’s probably seen a whole bunch of games. Many more than you or I would have as kids and adults. But he could not recall seeing a 1-0 affair, which is probably easy to imagine since there have now been only 10 of them in the history of this slugger’s park, which opened in 1992.
“Holding them to a run is just…I mean, holding them to three runs is just a bonus,” Beavan said. “That lineup, one-through-nine, they can do damage. There’s no break.”
Hasn’t been for a long, long time.
Beavan gave a lot of credit to his defense for helping him keep the game close. Truthfully, he deserves more of the credit because he bailed his defense out of one jam created by a throwing error and saw theo nly run of the game score because of a defensive play that wasn’t made quickly enough on a rundown.
“Games like that are fun,” Beavan said. “Because you know that one pitch can make the difference.”
Technically, one pitch in this one made the difference. Beavan uncorked a wild pitch in the second inning that sent Michael Young from second to third with two out. Young then scored on an infield single off the glove of a diving Munenori Kawasaki.
So, yeah, that one wild pitch was the difference in the game since there’s no way Young scores if he’s on second base and not third.
Except that Young should not have been on second to begin with.

That’s where the slow-developing play behind him on the rundown came in. Adrian Beltre was nabbed between second and third after Beavan reached out and speared a Young shot that appeared headed up the middle.
Kyle Seager took the toss from Beavan and the rundown began. And it continued and continued some more. Beltre did a great job of darting back and forth and by the time the M’s put the tag on him, Young was standing on second.
That shouldn’t happen.
Seager told me that play gets practiced a lot by the infielders. Thing is, Seager hasn’t had a whole bunch of opportunities to work on it in game situations.
“You always want to get to him sooner and make sure the guy on first doesn’t get to second,” Seager said. “So, yeah, that would have been ideal.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge agreed.
“Kyle’s still fairly new over there,” Wedge said of third baseman Seager. “He just has to run him back (to second) a little bit further. He gave up the ball a little too quickly. Then, when you get the ball coming back there to third base, that’s when the runner’s going to have a chance to make it to second. And that’s what happened.”
Anyhow, the Mariners lost the game because they couldn’t score. Here’s a tip that will never fail: you can’t win if you don’t score any runs.
The M’s had only four hits off Neftali Feliz over seven innings and that isn’t going to do the trick. They had zero hits off the Rangers bullpen combo of Mike Adams and Joe Nathan.
So, we’ve seen the Rangers win a slugfest. We’ve seen them win a pitcher’s duel. That’s why they’re the team that’s going to be contending all year.
For the Mariners, they have to be satisfied with the way Beavan pitched tonight. He looked confident and strong and said he felt that way. There was a big difference between how he handled some situations tonight versus the way he did it last year. If this continues, the team will have a solid back-end starter on their hands.
Beavan fulfilled a dream tonight. This is his version of a home ballpark. His friends all had season tickets, so he really did get out to games a lot more than the average person. Just not thousands. But a lot. So, it was special for him. He was locating his sinker and his four-seam fastball — as we mentioned early on in the game thread on his strikeout of Nelson Cruz — so he was challenging hitters.
That’s why we had such a quick game tonight as opposed to the opener last night. Both pitchers were aggressive and challenging hitters. No nibbling going on. And Beavan had the family members, friends, old high school buddies and plenty of others out there cheering him on.
He did his best to block them out and zone-in on what he needed to do.
“All day, my stomach was queasy,” he said. “I could tell it wasn’t any other game for me because, for me growing up here, watching these games, it’s something I’ve dreamed of doing ever since I was a little kid. Stepping out on that mound. It was a dream come true for me.”



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