The Rangers took advantage of more shoddy Mariner defense in the eighth inning to add two more unearned runs. The M's committed four errors on the night.
On this night, the M's couldn't rally in the ninth as Eddie Guardado came out to pick up the save for the Rangers. The series wraps up this afternoon in Arlington.
The Times' Larry Stone notes that it wouldn't be impossible for the Mariners to rally this season, but that it's highly unlikely. He also challenges the notion that this is a "good team playing terrible baseball" (in the words of John McLaren).
Ryan Divish of the News-Tribune has the lowdown on the spat between Ryan Rowland-Smith and Ramon Vazquez on Monday night. Yes, Vazquez appears to have committed the unforgiveable act of staring at the pitcher.
Yet another story about the apparent communication rift between Kenji Johjima and the pitchers. Odd that this has cropped up after Johjima has spent two full years on the team and just signed a three-year extension. Are the M's throwing Kenji under the bus a little bit here? Nobody from the coaching staff commented on yesterday's meeting, but the grumblings about not being "on the same page" have been getting louder every day (maybe it's because Kenji's book is written in Japanese?).
The P-I's Art Thiel makes some good points about Ken Griffey (none that haven't been made before, though), and points to a couple of ex-Mariner prospects who were given away to acquire veterans as examples of a short-sighted franchise over the last few years. Not that the absence of Ramon Vazquez and Asdrubel Cabrera is causing M's fans to lose sleep at night, but the point is that it rarely makes sense to mortgage the future for the present unless that present involves competing for a World Series title. The M's are going to be lucky to climb out of the cellar this year, and there's no reason to trade prospects for Griffey now (especially since Junior may be on the open market in the offseason).
Around the Minors
Tacoma (21-17, 9.0 GB in PCL North) got some late-inning heroics from familiar faces to take down the Omaha Royals 4-1 and complete a four-game sweep. Shawn Garrett, who hit a three-run, game-winning home run with two out in the ninth inning on Sunday off of Omaha closer Neal Musser, did exactly the same thing on Tuesday night. This time, though, the Rainiers and Royals were tied at 1-1 when Garrett hit his blast. Garrett is batting .302 with eight RBI in 12 games since being called up from AA West Tenn. Victor Diaz hit his third home run in the last two days to account for the other Tacoma run. Robert Rohrbaugh started for the Rainiers and held the Royals to one run over 5 2/3 innings. After a night off tonight, the Rainiers start a homestand on Thursday night against Tucson. Mike Curto of the News-Tribune has Garrett's thoughts about his latest big homer.
The road struggles continued for West Tenn (23-16, 5.0 GB in SOU North) last night as they dropped a fourth consecutive game to Birmingham, this time 4-2. The Jaxx have scored just two runs in each game of the series. This time, the Barons got off to an early 4-0 lead off of Jaxx starter Justin Thomas and held on for the win. Prentice Redman drove in both West Tenn runs with a two-run double in the seventh inning. Catcher Luis Oliveros was 3-for-4 on the night with a run scored. Travis Chick did a nice job of keeping the Jaxx in the game, throwing three perfect innings of relief, striking out two. He lowered his ERA to 2.45 on the season.
High Desert (17-22, 1.0 GB in CAL South) lost for the seventh time in nine games, dropping an 8-2 decision to Bakersfield on Tuesday night. The Mavs could muster only two hits on the night --- both home runs by center fielder Gregory Halman. Halman, a 20-year-old native of the Netherlands, leads the Mavs with eight home runs. Keith Renaud continued to struggle for High Desert, dropping to 0-6 on the season. Renaud allowed five earned runs and seven walks in five innings. While he has only allowed 32 hits in 39 1/3 innings on the season, he has walked 34. The Victorville Daily Press has the game story.
A new face came through in a big way for Wisconsin (15-19, 10.0 GB in MID Western) as the Rattlers beat Burlington 6-4. Playing his first professional game, right fielder Denny Almonte launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie. Almonte, a native of Miami, was the Mariners' second-round pick in the 2007 draft. Gavin Dickey continued his offensive tear by collecting two hits, two stolen bases, and a run scored. Dickey is hitting .390 in 59 at-bats with the Rattlers. Maximo Mendez was 3-for-5 with two doubles as he attempts to break out of a season-long slump. Donald Hume had another solid outing, striking out seven while giving up just two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Phillippe Aumont, last year's first-round draft pick, allowed his first two earned runs of the season but picked up the win. Aumont has been pitching in relief every five to six days for three innings at a time, preparing him for a future as a starter in the organization. The Appleton Post-Crescent has a short recap of last night's game.