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06/03/07 2:41 AM ET
Batista solid in win over Rangers
Guillen homers, but Ichiro's hit streak ends at 25 games
By Patrick Brown / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Miguel Batista only faced Edgar Martinez once in his career, and he didn't give up a hit to the All-Star. That didn't bode well for the Rangers, especially on a night that the Mariners honored Martinez. Batista baffled Texas, and the Mariners beat the Rangers, 5-4, on Saturday in front of 41,988 at Safeco Field on a night when Martinez became the fourth player inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. Batista shut down the Rangers for 6 1/3 innings, striking out five while holding the Rangers to just five hits en route to his sixth win of the season. Closer J.J. Putz recorded the final five outs to earn his 13th save in as many opportunities. Texas struggled to hit Batista all night, a performance the Mariners were looking for out of the right-handed pitcher given their depleted bullpen. "[Batista] did a great job for us," said bench coach John McLaren, who's acting as manager until Monday while Mike Hargrove attends his daughter's graduation. "Without him coming through like this, it could have been a situation where we had to go to the bullpen early again and could really have been a bad situation." Without relievers Chris Reitsma, Sean White and starter Jeff Weaver, McLaren said there have been instances when Seattle's bullpen has been overused. The 'pen has been strong all season, though, and it seemed fair that the starters give the relievers a break. "Our bullpen had a lot of work in the beginning of the season, and sooner or later we knew that would catch up to some of them," Batista said. "Now it's up to the starters to get some of those guys a rest, and hopefully by the time we need them again they can be as sharp as they were in the beginning of the season." They weren't very sharp on this night, though. After Batista left the game in the seventh inning, the Rangers cut a five-run deficit to two runs with just one hit. In a seventh inning that saw more than 50 pitches from three different Mariners pitchers, the Rangers scored three runs off Batista and relievers Eric O'Flaherty and Brandon Morrow, who had more than a little trouble locating the strike zone. O'Flaherty and Morrow allowed four batters to reach base without recording a hit, walking three and hitting one batter, giving the Rangers three runs. Even Putz, who has a lights-out reputation, allowed a solo home run to Mark Teixeira with two outs in the ninth before he shut the door, the first run he's allowed all season in a save opportunity. "We need to fight through this and stick together until we get everybody 100 percent again," McLaren said. The bullpen is close to getting a boost, as Reitsma threw a bullpen session Saturday and will soon pitch a simulated game, as will Weaver, McLaren said. Center fielder Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4, snapping his career-high and franchise-record 25-game hitting streak. The previous Mariners record was 24 games, set by Joey Cora in 1997. He was given the ball he recorded the hit with, as well as Friday's lineup card to commemorate his accomplishment. "I'm definitely not happy about [the streak ending]," Ichiro said through a translator. "It's not like I wanted [to feel more pressure], but it did happen." The Mariners still own the longest active hitting streak in the Majors, though, as Yuniesky Betancourt doubled and drove in two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. Seattle roughed up Rangers starter Kameron Loe, scoring five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Seattle kept pace with the Angels, who also won Saturday, and remain 5 1/2 games out of first place. But most importantly, on a night that belonged to one of the most famed figures in Seattle sports history, the Mariners came through for "Papi." "For us to go out there and make sure that we got a win, that's something that people will always remember," Batista said. "On Edgar Day, we won."
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.