Mike Hargrove picked the right night to leave the ballpark early, even if he had very good reason to do so. Because this one was a stomach-turner...
Mike Hargrove might have picked the right night to leave the ballpark early, even if he had good reason to do so. Because this one was a nerve-wracker that didn’t go his team’s way.
The Mariners manager wasn’t around for the end of Friday night’s 9-8 loss to the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field. Hargrove left after the fourth inning to catch a flight to his youngest daughter Shelly’s high-school graduation in Ohio.
Maybe the exit was a good thing. What followed was two more hours of suspect pitching and defense on both sides in one of the wildest games of the season.
Hargrove stayed long enough to witness Ichiro’s history-making single to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The star outfielder extended his career-best hitting streak to 25 games, setting a Mariners record. Joey Cora hit in 24 straight games for the Mariners in 1997.
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“Rather than having the record tied, being alone in the No. 1 spot is something that makes me happy,” Ichiro said through an interpreter. “I can say that it never gets easier.”
The single was quintessential Ichiro, a ground ball into the hole between third base and shortstop that was too deep to field cleanly and make a throw — though Texas shortstop Michael Young got a glove on it.
Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn had a less-than-effective night after quality outings in three of his past four starts. The Rangers hit Washburn hard from the start, chasing him after 3-2/3 innings.
Texas at Seattle, 7:05 p.m., FSN/KOMO (1000 AM)
Washburn left with the Mariners (26-25) trailing 5-4 and Seattle’s bullpen surrendered four more runs. But by the time Hargrove left, the Mariners had seven runs on the board and the team was in the hands of bench coach John McLaren, who had plenty to do in a back-and-forth contest.
“Washburn didn’t have his real good stuff,” McLaren said. “We didn’t pitch real well and we didn’t turn some double plays.”
Washburn allowed nine hits, four earned runs and walked four — and pitching coach Rafael Chaves wore out a path to the mound as Seattle used five relievers.
Texas (20-35) went ahead 4-1 in the third thanks to a Victor Diaz RBI sacrifice fly and RBI singles from Marlon Byrd and Gerald Laird.
The inning was costly for the Rangers, though, as No. 3 hitter Mark Teixeira had to leave the game with a mild concussion. Teixeira was struck under the left eye with a throw to home plate as he scored.
In the fourth inning, Jose Guillen punched a base hit into left field to drive in Jose Lopez and Ichiro, giving the Mariners a 7-5 lead. Guillen got the hit one inning after being plunked in the right elbow by a pitch.
Exit the skipper. And cue more fireworks.
Before the night was over, the Rangers tied the score at 7, grabbed the lead back twice and came up with the defensive play of the night.
Richie Sexson’s solo home run in the seventh tied it at 8, and the Mariners appeared to have more on a deep fly ball off Adrian Beltre’s bat. But the Rangers’ Kenny Lofton scaled the left-center field wall and snared the ball away from fans on the party deck, doubling off Kenji Johjima at first base to end the inning.
The two teams combined for 28 hits, 16 for Texas, and the Rangers had the last laugh with Ian Kinsler’s leadoff double in the eighth, another bunt base hit and Lofton’s sacrifice fly. Eric Gagne came on for the save and Sean Green absorbed the loss in relief. In all, Seattle walked nine batters.
“I’m so happy we came out on the good end of it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Guillen left after six innings with pain in his elbow. Beltre was the second Mariners player to be lifted when he suffered a sprained left thumb diving for Kinsler’s double. Both Beltre and Guillen are day to day. Willie Bloomquist finished out the game at third base.
As for Hargrove, he’ll miss today’s and Sunday’s games. He plans to talk to McLaren this morning and will be monitoring the games from suburban Cleveland via computer.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org