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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 12, 2008 5:48 PM

Mariners at Kansas City Royals: 07/12 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Christmas just came early for the Mariners, who scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. It's apparently driving the fans here to drink. All of the runs were off ex-Mariners starter Gil Meche. Raul Ibanez hit the team's first home run by anyone other than Richie Sexson since Jeff Clement went deep last Saturday. That was a two-run shot to get Seattle back within a run. Jose Vidro and Adrian Beltre then added singles with one out. Jeremy Reed then lined one into the left field corner to bring both runners home. Reed went to third on the throw back in, but then foolishly tried to score when the ball got away from the catcher.

He was easily thrown out at the plate and the inning died soon after. With only one out, you can't be sprinting home in a one-run game like Reed just did. I know he wanted to catch the Royals off-guard, but there's the element of surprise and then the element of delusion. You hold your ground when you're at third with less than two out. Even if it's the M's hitting.

Jarrod Washburn begins the bottom of the sixth at only 88 pitches. He's allowed just the one earned run. A pretty good performance considering how it began. He stands to win this game.

Hey, if you're bored, be sure to watch our latest video, down below.

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A look at Miguel Batista, winning over the hearts and minds of the enemy, one by one.

5:15 p.m.: Jarrod Washburn gave up the 2000th hit of Mark Grudzielanek's career to start the third, but he battled back to get a flyout to right on Alex Gordon and a double-play grounder on John Buck.

The offense looks woeful tonight. Yuniesky Betancourt needs to get his head in the game -- yet again. He was doubled off first base after going to far off the bag on a routine flyout to right by Ichiro. This stuff happens with him several times per week. He loses focus. Just like Jose Lopez did last year. That's the problem on a team with no self-policing. With no accountability. Guys don't play the game right and they are in the lineup day after day.

Then again, when they look at the clean-up hitter with the sub-.600 OPS, they must figure it's a free-for-all. This team set the wrong tone at the very top, going on several years now, and is still paying the price for it. A losing culture can take years to overcome. Witness how easily this team is going down to defeat tonight against Gil Meche. But there are things you can do. At the very least, you can bench a guy who keeps making mental mistakes. It's not Jose Vidro's fault he can't hit and the manager keeps batting him cleanup. But it is the shortstop's fault that he plays every other game as if he's daydreaming about something else. If some of you think that's harsh, then give me a call when this team gets back to .500 in a few years. Right now, everyone is fair game. This team stinks. It does have a certain degree of talent and that talent has vastly underperformed. Any of you pick these guys to lose 110 games? If you did, step to the front of the class because if the M's keep going like this -- losing whether they get brilliant pitching, or they don't -- that's exactly what's going to happen.

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Who let the dogs out? The M's did, apparently. Got everyone all excited here and now this doggie is doing a little dance atop their dugout.

4:54 p.m.: Two innings done and Jarrod Washburn trails 3-0, his pitch count already at 56. Washburn gave up back-to-back singles to Esteban German and David DeJesus with one out. He then walked Mike Aviles on five pitches to laod the bases. Mark Teahen then collected an RBI on a fielder's choice groundout. Jose Guillen flied out to end the threat. But it's an uphill climb for Washburn and the Mariners tonight.

Tug Hulett went down swinging with a runner on to end the top of the second.

4:36 p.m.: One inning complete here and the Mariners trail 2-0 with starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn in some serious pitch count trouble already. Both runs were unearned, but tell that to Washburn's tired arm.

Ichiro led off the top of the first inning with a bloop single to left, but was stranded there. David DeJesus then got the bottom of the frame started by bouncing a ball to first baseman Jose Vidro's left. Vidro made a poor throw to a covering Washburn, allowing DeJesus to reach on an error. DeJesus actually rounded first and had to go diving back into the bag as Washburn took a second throw. Television replays appeared to show DeJesus was out. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman argued the play but to no avail.

Mike Aviles then singled to right to put two on. Mark Teahen hit a potential double play ball, but Adrian Beltre waited just a split second too long to get the throw off to second baseman Jose Lopez. The M's got the force out at second, but the relay on to first was not in time. Teahen got up the line quickly.

That proved costly because Washburn got Jose Guillen to pop out to Lopez for the second out. But Mark Grudzielanek wound up singling to left field to bring home the first run. Alex Gordon then singled to left as well. Washburn threw 39 pitches in the inning. He did not look sharp. None of the hits he yielded looked all that hard-hit. But he was missing his spots and falling behind hitters. But the M's did give away outs. Can't do that. This team doesn't score enough to play catch-up all game.

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