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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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July 10, 2008 5:32 PM

Morrow blows one, M's lose

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Brandon Morrow coughed up a pair of solo home runs in the ninth inning, by Jack Cust and then pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki, the latter with two out, to send this game into extra innings. Emil Brown then took Cesar Jimenez deep to left with one out in the 11th inning to give the Oakland A's a 3-2 win.

The earlier blasts off Morrow tied the game 2-2. Morrow had a 2-0 lead when he took the mound. He was pulled one batter after the Suzuki homer, pictured above, when he walked Donnie Murphy. That prompted manager Jim Riggleman to bring in Mark Lowe, who fanned Jack Hannahan to end the threat.

Tough way to lose this series. The M's got three great outings from starters, all ending in defeat.

"I was missing a lot of spots today,'' said Morrow, who hadn't been scored on in 17 2/3 innings before Cust belted a 3-1 pitch into the right field stands. "That was the main thing. I think I fell behind every single hitter.''

Despite the "bad feeling'' from the loss, Morrow hopes to shake it off quickly and "come back with the same mentality I've had.''

R.A. Dickey was obviously feeling better about his own four-hit shutout performance over seven innings. Know what caused his problems in the first, when he had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam? The bullpen mound was facing in the opposite direction of the regular game mound. So, in gauging how his knuckleball was reacting to air currents, he had it all backwards when warming up. It took an inning for him to get used to throwing in the other direction.

Dickey is sure making a case for himself to be kept in the rotation.

"I think I've certainly worked hard to be trustworthy in that role,'' Dickey said. "I think I can get better and throw a lot of innings. I think that's a good definition of a quality No. 4 and No. 5 starter.''

Mariners manager Jim Riggleman wasn't about to quibble with that.

"He's so durable, he'll probably be around at the end of the Kansas City series to pitch, too,'' said Riggleman, whose squad plays a weekend series against the Royals. "He's really persevered. He's trying to grasp it and hold on to it. No matter what profession, if everyone worked like he did, good things would happen.''

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July 10, 2008 3:22 PM

Mariners at Oakland A's: 07/10 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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A shot of lovely West Oakland as we bring you today's game between the Richie Sexson-less Mariners and the hometown Athletics. Remember, Ichiro is not playing because of a tight hamstring.

The streak is over. Willie Bloomquist hit a one-out, ground ruled double to the left field corner in the top of the ninth inning for his first extra-base hit in 125 plate appearances this season. Bloomquist then stole third base and was driven home on a double to left by Jose Lopez.

So, it's now a 2-0 game. R.A. Dickey walked the leadoff batter in the eighth, but Sean Green pitched out of the jam. Brandon Morrow now on in the ninth.

Continue reading this post ...

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July 10, 2008 12:08 PM

Sexson's "body language" final straw

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Just got back up from the field on an eventful day for the Mariners. By the way, Ichiro has just been scratched with tightness in his hamstring. Had played in 126 consecutive games since his last off-day. The hits just keep on coming, don't they? Anyhow, it turns out that Richie Sexson was told he'd be released last night at the team hotel in nearby San Francisco. What prompted the team to do this? Interim GM Lee Pelekoudas said the decision had been formulating in his mind the past several days. He said the fact Sexson hit a three-run homer here in Monday's opener and then followed up with a double on Tuesday did not hamper the call one way or the other.

But when I spoke to manager Jim Riggleman moments ago, he told me that the "body language" Sexson displayed yesterday when kept out of the lineup was what ultimately led him not to oppose the release.

"If I felt that he could handle the next couple of weeks with less playing time, I would not have agreed with the move,'' Riggleman told me. "But yesterday, his body language was such that he looked like he wasn't going to handle it at all.''

We've been telling you all year that this Mariners clubhouse has not been the most joyous place. Things have started to look up a bit in recent weeks, after the firings of Bill Bavasi and John McLaren and some winning by the ballclub. The last thing Riggleman wanted was Sexson to become a focal point for disenchantment that would upset the delicate balance the club is trying to achieve for the time being.

Sexson was a popular guy in the clubhouse, with teammates always around him.

"He needs to play, or go someplace else he can play,'' Riggleman said.

Continue reading this post ...

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July 10, 2008 10:46 AM

Sexson released; Bedard to DL

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Richie Sexson was released by the Mariners this morning, likely causing most of you to lose out on the office pool. Interesting timing. But seriously, not sure what the team waited for. Sexson is pictured above, in the background, doing stretching on Tuesday before what would be his final start for the team.

Erik Bedard just went on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 4.

The team has called up Tug Hulett and pitcher Jared Wells. Hulett, an infielder, was acquired in the Ben Broussard trade last winter while relief pitcher Wells was the return in the Cha Seung Baek trade with San Diego. More in a bit.

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