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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 27, 2008 11:42 PM

Mariners squeeze out a win

Posted by Geoff Baker

sandiego0627 031.jpg

When I say squeezed one out, I mean it. Seattle stranded a team record 18 baserunners tonight, just two shy of the major league record. But they inched enough runs across to secure a 5-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Brandon Morrow stranded the final three runners in the ninth, lining out to right field with the bases loaded. But Adrian Beltre had nubbed a huge run across with an infield single moments earlier. Morrow, pictured above, then did what he does best -- pitching -- to get through the ninth for the four-out save.

Why was Jarrod Washburn allowed to face Adrian Gonzalez with his pitch count at 114 in the eighth inning and a runner on third? Well, the team will never admit it. But let's face it, Washburn is one guy the club will likely try to deal at the trade deadline. Letting him go eight strong innings and face top hitters in key situations is a much better way of attracting interest than trying to say that his 2-7 record (now 3-7) is more a matter of bad luck than bad pitching.

Just my theory. I like it.

Washburn says that slight mechanical modification he admitted to last week is truly paying off. It's an adjustment to another change he'd made earlier this season. That first change he said, was preventing him from getting the most he could on his pitches.

"It's shown in the results,'' he said. "My command is a lot better. I'm hitting the spots more often.''

That he is. I spoke to an advance scout from an AL East team after the game. He says the last two Washburn outings are the strongest he's seen the lefty's arm look all year. He wanted to know where this Washburn has been all season.

He's here now. If this team is looking to deal him, Washburn is peaking at just the right time. We'll see.

If not for Adrian Beltre, who drove in three runs on two balls that barely made it out of the infield (one of them didn't), the game might still be going on.

"We had a lot of opportunities,'' Beltre said. "We probably didn’t do as well as we wanted to, but we got the job done. We got the win.''

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