Busy day ends with loss for Mariners
Seattle drops fourth straight on day GM is relieved of his duties
SEATTLE -- They switched general managers. They put center fielder Ichiro Suzuki back in right field. Following the game, they recalled catcher Jeff Clement to try to get some help on offense. If the Mariner Moose could swing the bat, it's a safe bet he'd be in the lineup straightaway.The Mariners are changing things up in plenty of areas, but on Monday night they could still not squeeze out that "W" that's been missing for most of the 2008 season as the Marlins came away with a 6-1 victory to open the Interleague series in front of 21,609 at Safeco Field.
"It's a rough time. No one's enjoying themselves, but we gotta find ways to try and create things," center fielder Willie Bloomquist said.Starting pitcher Carlos Silva's night began like several of his recent starts -- first-inning hits and plenty of them. After a groundout from Hanley Ramirez, the Marlins reeled off three singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly in succession. That produced two runs and helped welcome Florida into its first Seattle visit with some Mariners hospitality that has been in high supply during their eight-game home losing streak. But Silva then showed some promise by finding the strikeout touch and setting down the Marlins down in order in the next three innings to bring the game into the fifth. "Silva had a rough first inning but got his sinker going and I thought he was throwing the ball extremely well," manager John McLaren said. That sinker would only be around for four more hitters. When Jeremy Hermida was ruled safe at first on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the top of the fifth, Silva raised his hands in disbelief to first-base umpire Bill Welke. His questioning earned him a quick dismissal from the game as the Mariners were forced to go to the bullpen on short notice with a 3-1 deficit. "I didn't see the replay, but it was a bang-bang play at first and Silva is an emotional guy," McLaren said. It wasn't so much that the Marlins feasted on the Mariners' bullpen after Silva's exit, but rather some quiet snacking. A run in the sixth came on another sacrifice fly. Then there were two in the seventh thanks to some base hits, a walk and an odd play when 6-foot-8 first baseman Richie Sexson ducked out of the way of a throw from pitcher Roy Corcoran. Small, unflashy baseball, but a successful style that has eluded the Mariners for much of the season. When Seattle had three similar opportunities with runners on third and less than two outs in the fourth and fifth innings, they twice were unable to get runners home. And to add frustration, multiple hard-hit line drives buried themselves in the gloves of Florida infielders. "It seems awful monotonous that we keep saying the same things over and over again, but guys are swinging OK," Bloomquist said. "Their positioning against us seems to be impeccable every game so we just gotta keep going." Hard-throwing Florida lefty Andrew Miller was the latest beneficiary of a slumping Mariners offense that has scored only 21 runs in the past nine games. Rarely in trouble and content to let his defense tidy up behind him, Miller went seven strong innings and left with the 6-1 lead. "He had great command," Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima said. "And it was tough to lay off those pitches inside, especially the cutters, which were very effective I thought." Besides starting in right field, Ichiro stole his 30th base of the season, making him only the 15th player to record eight consecutive seasons of 30 or more steals. "It feels like going to my yard," he said of the switch. After changes like that one, the Mariners were still switching things up after the loss with the promotion of Clement. Outfielder Wladimir Balentien, currently hitting .196, will go back to Triple-A Tacoma. "We do want [Clement] to catch a little bit," McLaren said. "We need some pop in our offense. Balentien has been working with [the hitting coaches] and we want him to follow up, stay with that approach. He's going to be a fine ballplayer."
Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.