Total Shutdown

For the second straight night, the M's ride a strong pitching performance to victory. And down on the farm, a wild ninth inning tests a Tacoma reliever.

Who knew that a visit from the defending champs is what the Mariners needed to get back on track? Boston continued an anemic offensive road trip by getting shut out for the second time in five days. Erik Bedard shook off two ugly starts and was masterful in seven innings. Almost as impressive was Brandon Morrow, who was rumored to possibly be moving to the starting rotation (more on that below). Morrow came through in a big spot for the second straight night. He still walks too many batters, but now has 18 strikeouts in 13 innings. After trying a variety of arms in the set-up role, it looks like Morrow may be the guy for now.

John Boyle of the Kitsap Sun says that Morrow is not going to be a starter this season.

Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey held a knuckleballer's-only club meeting in a treehouse in Dickey's mom's backyard. OK, it was actually at Safeco.

Bret Boone is retiring. 2001 seems so long ago now.

Let's go Around the Minors

Andrew Baldwin had his best outing of the season for Tacoma, but Tracy Thorpe nearly gave away a four-run lead in the ninth inning. Fortunately for the Rainiers, Thorpe settled down and held on to a 4-3 victory over Fresno. Baldwin set season highs in innings (seven) and strikeouts (eight), while giving up no runs and no walks. Only 19 of Baldwin's 85 pitches were out of the strike zone. Tacoma took an early 2-0 lead on Victor Diaz' two-run first-inning homer, then added what turned out to be two important insurance runs in the top of the ninth on Matt Tuiasosopo's double. Thorpe entered the game with the 4-0 lead, but quickly found trouble by giving up a single, a walk, and a three-run blast to Nate Schierholtz. Up only 4-3 and still with nobody out, Thorpe settled down and retired the next three batters in order to preserve the win.

West Tenn went down 7-3 to Mississippi on Wednesday night. Travis Chick only lasted 2 2/3 innings for the Jaxx, giving up five hits, four earned runs, and three walks. Craig James pitched well in relief, striking out six batters in 2 1/3 innings. Luis Valbuena and Mike Wilson hit solo homers for West Tenn. Wilson's was his team-leading 10th of the season. The Jaxx continue a five-game series with the Braves tonight.

The High Desert offense was kept largely in check all night in a 3-1 loss to Stockton. The Mavs were held scoreless for eight innings but got the tying runs on base with one out in the ninth. Gregory Halman's RBI single brought the Mavs within 3-1. A wild pitch moved runners to second and third, but Travis Scott and Erick Monzon were not able to move the runners any further along. Halman had two hits and his 20th stolen base of the year. Left-fielder James McOwen had two outfield assists in the game.

Wisconsin committed four errors and dropped the series opener with Kane County 3-1. Nathan Adcock pitched well enough to win, giving up just three hits and one earned run in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked three. Adcock has struck out more than batter an inning this season (58 in 56 1/3 IP). The Rattlers outhit the Cougars 9-3 but left 11 men on base for the game. Maximo Mendez, Calvin Beamon, and Denny Almonte all had two hits.

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