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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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June 10, 2008 5:41 PM

Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays: 06/10 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Hey everyone, treekiller in the comments thread is having a Richie Sexson Appreciation Night at his place this weekend. No alcohol, please. Nor Canadian flags. For reservations, just log on to www.wetakelifetooseriously.com.

5:41 p.m.: Wow, we're already in the seventh inning stretch. Toronto added a run in the sixth to make it 3-1 as a line drive by Matt Stairs sailed over Jeremy Reed's head. An ensuing grounder to the right side by Scott Rolen bounced past the glove of a diving Jose Lopez (I'd like to see him start coming up with some of those once in a while) for a single and an RBI. Carlos Silva got out of the inning with a double-play ball, preventing a fourth run from scoring. But Seattle is running out of time to get the bats going once again.

By the way, we spoke to Brandon Morrow earlier today and he's ready to pitch again. He woke up with a sore biceps tendon in his throwing arm on the off-day last Thursday. Since then, he'd been told by M's trainer Rick Griffin to sleep on his back with his hands by his side.

"I've been sleeping on my back like a pencil,'' Morrow said.

Morrow did say he doesn't think the soreness is entirely related to his sleep habits. Instead, he feels that being used in higher leverage situations, in which he's thrown as hard as ever, might be causing some of the soreness that gets amplified by sleeping on it.

"That's probably it,'' he said. "It's probably not that I slept on my shoulder. I've been trying to come in and amp it up a little bit.''

We asked John McLaren about it. But McLaren said he'd been told it was all a result of how Morrow was sleeping and that he isn't concerned. The bottom line? Neither Morrow nor his manager are all that worried, The time to worry will be if it happens again. Or if his pencil-like sleeping leads to any back issues.


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A look above at Lee Elia, schooling the troops on how to hit. Unfortunately for the M's, no one seems to have paid much attention through the first seven innings tonight.

5:24 p.m.: Happiness for Mariners fans is the sight of Brad Wilkerson hitting a go-ahead home run in the fifth inning. Where were these back in April? Anyway, there's a Boston cab driver who will be very happy that her Wilkerson autograph (as discussed in our last video) now went up about a half-cent in value. Just to celebrate the moment, I've captured it forever in the photo below. Touch 'em all Brad...

By the way, the M's got a runner to third in the top of the sixth, but stranded him there as Jose Lopez struck out and -- after a Jeremy Reed walk -- Richie Sexson flied out to right. So, now 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth.

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5:00 p.m.: Jeremy Reed just tied the game 1-1 in the fifth with a solo shot to right center off Dustin McGowan, who had retired 12 of the last 13 -- with only an error keeping him from being perfect. Reed makes up for that baserunning miscue last night. I'm sure he feels better. I know some of you were against his being taken out of the game. I don't think it was a bad move. What Reed did was commit a mental error, one borne out of a lack of focus. He has been playing the game hard, learned his lesson and is back in there today.

John McLaren has to get tough about this sort of thing. He benched Richie Sexson for five days when the latter wasn't getting any results. Thing is, that wasn't a mental error. Neither was Wladimir Balentien dropping that line drive in the 10th last night. That was partly because of the lights. When Raul Ibanez trips over himself hustling for a ball in left field that winds up bouncing around, it's not because of a lack of mental focus. Yuniesky Betancourt's latest flub last night was also more of a physical error than a mental one. But when Betancourt wrongly covered second on a hit-and-run in Detroit last month, allowing a single to be hit right where he was supposed to be standing, that was a mental error.

Teams just can't have those. They come from a lack of focus. Bill Bavasi was talking about just that yesterday pre-game. About how this team has to work smarter and focus more the minute it walks through the clubhouse door to begin the day. If you're going to talk about it, you have to back it up. The team did that with Reed.

It could probably stand to do that with Betancourt soon if he keeps swinging at pitches over his head, or a foot outside, in key situations where runners have to be moved over. It is about playing the game right. Miguel Cairo plays the game right. If the players who are keys to this franchise's future aren't getting it drilled into them now on how they should be playing this game, this franchise will have no future.

You can grouse about how Sexson and Jose Vidro could have been shown the door a while ago. And you'd likely be right. But why waste the energy when they won't be around beyond 2008? In my book, it's the guys who will still be here who stand to help this team the most. And stand to benefit the most from a little discipline until they get it right.


4:34 p.m.: Vernon Wells wasted no time depositing a Carlos Silva fastball over the center field fence in the second inning. The 411-footer makes it a 1-0 game, Toronto in the lead. Silva fell behind 2-0 in the count, tried to come in with a strike and Wells was waiting for it. Was the second homer for Wells since coming off the DL on Saturday after missing a month with a broken wrist.

4:26 p.m.: This one started out well for the Mariners as Ichiro grounded one up the middle for a single in the game's first at-bat. Since then, Dustin McGowan of the Toronto Blue jays has retired six in a row. Carlos Silva also had a 1-2-3 inning so we're still scoreless entering the bottom of the second. The internet hookup here is terrible, so photos and other stuff are taking forever to download. Please bear with me.

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