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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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February 29, 2008 12:05 PM

Opening Day (of the spring) game thread

Posted by Jose Romero

Yes, I know, it's still winter, especially back home! Wish you could all be here. It's 79 degrees at first pitch in Scottsdale.

Before we start the game thread, just want to thank those who sent in comments for the nice (and honest) welcome.

Bottom 1

There's the throw down to second base, and Erik Bedard is set to go. First pitch was a ball inside.
Bedard threw 9 strikes and 3 balls n the inning. It took him 9 pitches to retire leadoff hitter Rajai Davis on a ground out, but he needed only two pitches each on the next three hitters, one of whom (former Mariner Randy Winn) got a bloop single. No runs, one hit allowed.

Top 2
Tim Lincecum, the young phenom from UW who is the Giants' No. 1 starter, already looks like a kid out there. Now he's got a mop of hair coming out of his hat that makes him look even younger. The guy is dealing, though. He had Richie Sexson way off balance and got him to ground back toward the mound, though Sexson reached on a bad throw from Lincecum.

Bottom 2

Bedard ran into some serious trouble. He walked Aaron Rowand (the fifth place hitter) after a full count. Then former Mariner Rich Aurilia hit what should have been a double off the left field wall. Somehow, Rowand didn't go to third base even though Raul Ibanez couldn't find the ball for a moment.

Daniel Ortmeier drew a walk to load the bases. Then Bedard rallied to strike out Guillermo Rodriguez with a sharp offspeed pitch that was swung on and missed. The next hitter, ninth man Travis Denker, hit two deep foul balls and then smoked an 0-2 fastball up the middle for a base hit. That scored one run.

Davis hit a sacrifice fly on the first pitch. Kevin Frandsen lined the first pitch from Bedard to right field for a single to drive in another run, making it 3-0. Finally, Bedard got Winn to ground out to end the inning.

Bedard is out after 2 innings pitched. He allowed 4 hits, 3 runs (all earned), walked 2 and struck out 1. He threw 44 total pitches, 31 for strikes. The control was for the most part good, but he did get a couple of pitches up that cost him.

Bottom 4
The M's got a runner to second base when Ibanez singled and stole second, but he was left stranded.
Cha Seung Baek has relieved Bedard and given up only an infield hit in two innings as he starts his run for a roster spot in the bullpen.

Top 7

I was down in the Mariners clubhouse listening to and asking a couple of questions of Bedard, who was either none to thrilled to talk to the media (well, OK, that's a given) or just frustrated with his performance.
Bedard was quite short with reporters, but this didn't surprise me because I had heard and seen that isn't one to say much. At one point he even stopped and said, "This is too many questions."

Well, at least he talked after his outing.

So I missed a couple of innings but the Mariners are now down only 3-2 thanks to two walks and four stolen bases and a sacrifice fly in the sixth. The starters have been removed, Baek and Ryan Rowland-Smith have pitched, and now entering the game in the bottom of the seventh, LHP Jake Woods.

Top 8
It's bases loaded with one out, and Mike Morse delivers a base hit to center field. Two runs score, the M's take a 4-3 lead even though Morse gets a second RBI despite a misplay by the center fielder and he gets thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double.


Bottom 9

Sean Green comes on and closes out the Giants in the ninth, and the Mariners open the spring with a 5-3 win. After the game, manager John McLaren said he thought Bedard looked fine overall, and that the team is looking for him to get right by March 31 (Opening Day) and not throw shutouts every time.

"He knows exactly what he's doing out there," McLaren said. "He's not in shape yet and he's working his way into shape. I think this is a bigger deal than it should be because he's new...What I saw was fine. He's right on target.

"He shouldn't be judged on his first spring training game, for God's sake."

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