The Mariners have a day off Thursday as they head to Minneapolis for three games, then another day of rest Monday before a two-game series at Texas. With the 2-0 loss Wednesday to Tampa Bay, they had played 15 games in 14 days without a break.

“It’s a 162-game schedule; it’s a grind,” said Mariner manager Lloyd McClendon.

“This run has been a grind for us, without a day off.”

That said, it was something of an upset that the M’s bullpen was as fresh and effective as it showed against the Rays in the series finale. It turned in 51
3 innings of one-hit relief, headed by Dominic Leone, who struck out five of the seven hitters he retired after a run-scoring wild pitch.

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Even at that, McClendon conceded, it was something of a mixed blessing.

Referring to the extended work by the four Mariner relievers, he said, “That’s not a recipe for success.”

Duck, Buck

M’s catcher John Buck took a nasty shot off the bare knuckle of his unprotected hand on a foul ball by Ryan Hanigan in the seventh inning, but was able to stay in the game.

“It’s chubby,” said Buck, noting some swelling. “It’s moving, so that’s a plus.”

Later, something else enabled Buck to stick around. He was called out on a checked-swing third-strike in the eighth, and before he could stage too loud a protest, McClendon got tossed.

“That’s the epitome of a player’s manager, because I was on my way,” said Buck. “I probably should pay his fine.”

On the other side, the versatile Ray, Ben Zobrist, dislocated his thumb on an attempted steal and is expected to miss time.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or