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Mariners Leave Minnesota With A 2-2 Series Split

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The Seattle Mariners depart Minnesota today having salvaged a 2-2 split with the Twins. But it was another example of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

The first game was a prime example of the small ball teamwork ideals that manager Don Wakamatsu has been preaching all along. You know it is making an impression when Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a ground ball to the right side to move the base runner, Adrian Beltre, to third. It worked too because Jose Lopez was able to get Beltre home with a sacrifice fly.

Some things haven’t changed. Felix Hernandez was overpowering again and Griffey followed his sacrifice with a home run in his next at bat. All told, it added up to a 6-1 victory for the Mariners and spirits were high.

The high life continued in the second game, right up to Brandon Morrow getting the first two outs in the ninth. Then, shades of Heathcliff Slocumb and Bobby Ayala, the wheels came off. Morrow lost his control and Minnesota made him pay by turning a 5-3 M’s lead into a 6-5 Twins victory as Morrow walked the bases full before giving way to Miguel Batista. Batista then allowed a single up the middle to start the celebrations for the Twins.

The bad pitching hangover continued for Carlos Silva as he struggled early and often in the third game. The offense kept them in the game but Silva kept giving it right back to the Twins. Every time the Mariners would score, the Twins would score. Finally it was too much for Seattle and Minnesota pulled out another 6-5 win.

I know I had a feeling of dread when I saw Jarrod Washburn taking the mound this afternoon. I should have checked his history in Minnesota; he is a lights out pitcher in the Metrodome, going 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA lifetime there.

He was in form today, going eight innings without giving up a run thanks to some sparkling defense behind him. Franklin Gutierrez is this generation’s version of Ken Griffey, Jr., a highlight reel of defensive gems in center field. He showed his glove early, chasing down a long fly ball in the left center gap with a diving catch in the first inning. Mariner fans will be showing him the same love they had for Junior and Mike Cameron’s glove out there in center. Thanks to RBI singles by Rob Johnson and Adrian Beltre, the Mariners won 2-0. Brandon Marrow overcame his troubles from the second game to pick up the save.

The Mariners head to Oakland for three games before finally coming home to face the AL West Champion Los Angeles Angels in a three game series.

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About Russ Evenhuis

I'm a writer with a mid-life crisis. I'm into sports of all kind, a Seattle fan to my bones. A retired rugby player, now I punish myself with triathlons when I'm not hanging out with the family, drinking Guinness and playing PlayStation.