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06/02/07 4:30 AM ET
Mariners drop wild one with Rangers
Beltre's would-be blast robbed by Lofton in seesaw battle
By Patrick Brown / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- That one hurt. Maybe it was losing two key players in the same game, or maybe it was Kenny Lofton's spectacular grab in center field. Whatever the reason, Friday's 9-8 loss to the Rangers in front of 34, 570 at Safeco Field stung. The day started with celebration, as Ichiro Suzuki recorded a hit in his 25th straight game, setting a new franchise record. The hit came in the first inning, and Ichiro received a standing ovation. Bench coach John McLaren offered high praise for Ichiro, who scored three times and stole yet another base. "He's kind of like [Ken] Griffey [Jr.]," McLaren said. "Every night is a new adventure. He's a great player, and I think everyone is amazed at what he does." Shortly thereafter, though, Seattle couldn't find any consistency. Even though the Mariners struggled on the mound -- walking a season-high nine -- they still had many chances to go ahead. None better though, than Adrian Beltre's center-field blast in the seventh inning. A ball that appeared almost certain to give the Mariners a two-run lead suddenly died just above the center-field wall, and Lofton brought the ball back from the stands with a flying leap. He then doubled off catcher Kenji Johjima, who had made it almost all the way to third before turning around to head back to first. "When he hit the ball, he hit it pretty good, so I thought it was probably gone," Lofton said. "But you never know, in this ballpark it could go or it could die, so I said I better get back there." McLaren, who's filling in for manager Mike Hargrove while he attends his daughter's graduation in Ohio, said he wished Mariners fans would have played a little defense of their own. "The play of the game was Lofton in center field," McLaren said. "I wish one of our fans would have reached over a little bit and helped out a little bit, but it didn't happen, and we'll get them tomorrow." That wasn't even the worst part of Beltre's night. Just minutes later, while diving for a line drive down the third-base line, his glove appeared to roll underneath his wrist before he toppled over it. He left the game with a sprained left thumb and is listed as day-to-day. That was disheartening news, considering the Mariners had lost right fielder Jose Guillen two innings earlier with tightness in his right elbow. Guillen was struck by a pitch in the third inning, and although he tallied a two-run single the next inning, McLaren said his elbow felt progressively worse as the game wore on. Guillen is also listed as day-to-day. Lofton's eighth-inning sacrifice fly put the Rangers up for good. Southpaw Jarrod Washburn struggled to find any consistency, lasting just 3 2/3 innings while allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits. Washburn walked four and managed just 48 strikes on 84 pitchers. "I just didn't have command of anything," Washburn said. "Fastball command for me is very important, and I didn't have command on either side of the plate." Coupled with an Angels win, the loss drops the Mariners 5 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West. Sean Green (0-1) took the loss, allowing Lofton's sacrifice fly. Green allowed two hits in one-third of an inning. The shaky performance came at a bad time for Washburn, who hadn't received much run support this season from the Mariners. The teams traded runs throughout the 3 hour, 38 minute game, compiling a combined 28 hits and seven runs. On a night that the Mariners scored eight runs on 12 hits, though, Washburn knew he missed a golden opportunity. "You hope to never have nights like this, but you really don't want to have them on a night your offense clicks," Washburn said. "You'd rather waste a night like this on a day you get shut out."
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.