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April 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Mariners blow huge lead, lose 9-8 to Indians

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Sure didn’t think things were going to end this way after the Mariners took that seven-run lead in the fourth inning.
But Kevin Millwood and Erasmo Ramirez gave seven runs right back to Cleveland in th fifth inning and we’ve got a tough-to-swallow 9-8 loss as a result.
The Mariners loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, but John Jaso could not repeat his late-game heroics, flying out to right.
Tom Wilhelmsen yielded the go-ahead double to Jason Donald in the seventh after replacing Charlie Furbush with two on and two out. On the positive side, the Mariners put together some really good at-bats against Justin Masterson to knock him from the game in the fourth inning.
But that fifth? What a disaster.
“From the first inning on, nothing was going good,” Millwood said, adding that the long layoff while his team scored all of those runs had little to do with his implosion. “I wasn’t locating my fastball, my breaking ball wasn’t very good. I didn’t know where it was going. So, it was a battle pretty much a battle every inning just to get an out.”
Millwood had managed to contain the damage in innings two-through-four after a 26-pitch first in which he allowed a run.
“You try to figure out what’s not right and try to fix it,” Millwood said. “I didn’t give up any runs in the second, third or fourth, but at the same time it didn’t seem like it was easy to me. I wasn’t throwing pitches where I wanted to. It was more me getting lucky than getting outs. And it caught up to me in the fifth.”


Still, the Mariners had a huge lead by then and manager Eric Wedge tried to let the 37-year-old work his way through it.
“He’s one of the best I’ve seen in regards to controlling damage,” Wedge said. “But today, he just wasn’t able to get through it.
“He was just up there, missing some spots that last inning and just wasn’t able to get it done.”
The Mariners finally got Erasmo Ramirez up in the bullpen, but it wasn’t quick enough as the barrage of hits continued. Ramirez was nearly ready when Carlos Santana ripped a Millwood pitch over the right field wall to turn an 8-4 game into an 8-7 affair and all of a sudden, the M’s were in big trouble.
Ramirez gave up the tying run that inning. Charlie Furbush then pitched through the sixth before two batters reached to start the seventh. Furbush then fanned the next two hitters before Wedge went to right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen to face the right-handed hitting Jason Donald.
Donald dumped a pretty good pitch from Wilhelmsen into right field for a double and that was the game right there. The Mariners last blew a seven-run lead on May 31, 2009 in Anaheim when the Angels came back from 8-1 down in the sixth and won 9-8 with three in the ninth off an erratic David Aardsma.
The Mariners should not have had a chance to load the bases in the ninth inning of this game. Jesus Montero hit a grounder that took a terrible hop on shortstop Donald when it initially looked like a game-ending 6-4-3 double-play ball.
But with runners at the corners and one out, Michael Saunders popped one up in the infield against closer Chris Perez for a crucial second out. Perez later walked Brendan Ryan — one of his four free passes in the game — to load them up for Jaso.
But after working the count to 2-0, Jaso swung and did not get all of the pitch.
“I felt like we put up some decent at-bats, but we had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of at the end there,” Wedge said. “We were positioned to at least tie the game, if not get more than that.”
Wedge enjoyed seeing the four Ryan walks and the four hits by Smoak.
“It’s some hit and miss right now,” Wedge said. “Like I told you before, everybody’s sort of on their own program right now to push forward and get better. We’re pushing in that direction.”

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Jesus Montero

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