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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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August 6, 2008 6:14 PM

M's drop finale

Posted by Geoff Baker

daygame0806 007.jpg

Bryan LaHair reached base on a leadoff single in the ninth. But Yuniesky Betancourt, pictured above, swung into a first-pitch double play grounder. Haven't seen that before. Ichiro flies out to right and the M's and Jarrod Washburn take a 7-3 loss.

Washburn goes six innings, yielding three earned runs on five hits. But Mark Lowe gives up the same hits and runs total in five fewer innings. That, and an error by Adrian Beltre and a great catch by Denard Span was the difference today. Joba Chamberlain is on the DL with tendinitis in his rotator cuff. The Yankees need pitching. Let's see if a deal can be struck.

Mariners catcher Jeff Clement said Washburn had plenty of late movement today, with the ball either sinking or cutting on hitters. As a result, with a few exceptions, they could not square up and make solid contact.

"I thought he threw the ball really well,'' Clement said. "You could tell in the first inning, striking out the side, that he had his good stuff going.''

The 0-2 pitch to Span was supposed to be a slider that started off on the outer corner and broke down and away. Instead, it began inside and broke over the middle, as you saw from our photo.

"It just kind of hung up there over the plate,'' Clement said.

That was enough to be a difference maker on the ensuing three-run triple.

"Early on, Span had a big hit,'' Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. "That pitch, I'm pretty sure Wash would like to have back. But as he always does...he kept us in there against a tough ballclub.''

Washburn has a 3.44 ERA since May 25. That's a whole lot of outings. I know ERA doesn't mean everything, but hey, that one outing against Baltimore last week doesn't exactly paint a complete picture either. he has seven quality starts in his last 10 outings. That means a little. He gave up only five hits today against a Twins team that scored 12 runs the past two games. Like I said, the big key is to figure out how hard the flyballs Washburn yields are being hit. When they're mostly mis-hit, as they were today, the damage is minimal. The groundball-flyball numbers in this case won't tell you the full story about a flyball pitcher.

New reliever Jared Wells tossed two scoreless innings. But he cost Mark Lowe an earned run when he bobbled a bunt attempt and mistakenly tried to nab the runner at third. Clement had yelled "third!'' when Wells tried to pick the ball up, but the moment he fumbled it, you have to get the sure out.

"I was wanting to go to third, but I couldn’t get a good grip,'' Wells said. "I should have maybe ate it and gone to first.''

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