A Pleasant Surprise

The Daily Roundup discusses yesterday's wild and unexpected win in Texas, the ongoing communication issue, yet another banged-up starter, and all the happenings in the minor leagues.

After all that has gone wrong this year with the Mariners, one could not help but sense impending doom when the Texas Rangers sent Marlon Byrd up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning yesterday and the M's clinging to a 3-2 lead. Arthur Rhodes even did Byrd the favor of running the count to 3-0. But then, after a called strike, the 3-1 pitch saw Byrd lace one to the left side of the infield for...wait...an inning-ending double play? Surely, then, when the Rangers tied the game on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning they would go on to win the game, right? When Ryan Rowland-Smith walked the leadoff batter in the ninth inning, every Mariner fan sunk a little lower in their couch, knowing what would happen next.

Except, it didn't happen. Miguel Cairo's outstanding anticipation on Chris Shelton's sacrifice attempt led to the rarely seen 3-6-4 double play, and for once it seemed like the M's were refusing to lose. J.J. Putz shook off a string of tough outings and threw two scoreless innings with no margin for error. Then the M's manufactured a run in the 12th, with Yuniesky Betancourt bunting Wladimir Balentien into scoring position. This led to...brace yourself...a two-out RBI! By Miguel Cairo! And who's that coming out of the bullpen for the save? Jarrod Washburn?

It's a result I wouldn't have believed if I didn't see it with my own two eyes.

Mariners. Padres. Feel the intensity. Having lived in Chicago and New York, both cities where the interleague rivalry is just slightly more hostile (that may be a bit of an understatement), it's a bit comic to see the M's website referring to the Pads as a "rival."

Miguel Batista's foot hurts, Jarrod Washburn's calf hurts, Erik Bedard's hip hurts, and now Carlos Silva's back hurts, according to the News-Tribune's Ryan Divish (scroll down for the story).

Language-Barrier Gate enters a third day, as the Times' Geoff Baker expands upon the recent communication issues to address the vast cultural and linguistic differences in the M's clubhouse. Shockingly, Ichiro likes to hang out by himself.

Around the Minors

Tacoma (21-17, 9.0 GB in PCL North) was off last night. The Rainiers start an eight-game homestand tonight at Cheney Stadium. Jeremy Reed is eighth in the PCL in batting with a .350 average. Ryan Feierabend ranks second in the league in ERA at 1.67.

West Tenn (24-16, 5.0 GB in SOU North) finally got a win in Birmingham yesterday afternoon after dropping the first four games of a five-game set. Prentice Redman had a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning that helped the Jaxx to a 3-1 victory. Redman is on a 10-game hitting streak, batting .390 (16-for-41) over that span to raise his season average to .270. Ryan Ketchner had his best outing of the season and earned the win. He allowed no earned runs in 7 2/3 innings and improved his record to 3-0. The Jaxx are off tonight and begin a five-game series with Mobile tomorrow night in Jackson.

High Desert (17-23, 2.0 GB in CAL South) lost its seventh consecutive road game on Wednesday night, 7-2 to Bakersfield. Gregory Halman once again proved the brightest spot offensively as he mashed his ninth home run of the season, and third in two days. He also had an outfield assist. Catcher Jose Yepez was 3-for-3, but otherwise the Mavs offense was quiet. Starter Anthony Varvaro dropped to 0-4 on the season, giving up four runs and seven hits in five innings of work. The Mavs wrap up the series in Bakersfield tonight before heading to Rancho Cucamonga for a weekend series with the Quakes.

Wisconsin (16-19, 9.0 GB in MID Western) got yet another great pitching effort from Michael Pineda and beat Burlington 3-1 last night in Grand Chute. Pineda did scatter seven hits in five innings, but gave up just one run and struck out six. Pineda has now allowed only two earned runs this season and his ERA stands at 0.63. Keith Meyer threw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, Jose Escalona picked up the win, and Justin Souza picked up his first save for the Rattlers in a total team effort. Offensively, first baseman Joseph Dunigan led the charge, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Alex Meneses and Edilio Colina each had two hits. Calvin Beamon's lead-off triple in the eighth inning led to the go-ahead run. The Appleton Post-Crescent has the full story.

The Venezuelan Summer League is now underway and the VSL Mariners have won two of their first three games. Cesar Del Rio has a home run and seven RBI in the first three games to lead the offense. I'll look to add the VSL to the daily roundup in the coming days and weeks.

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