Tired Mariners collapse

  • By Kirby Arnold / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, June 6, 2007 9:00pm
  • Sports

SEATTLE – Twenty-three straight days of baseball may have been one too many for the Seattle Mariners.

On the last day of their longest stretch of games without a day off, the Mariners hit a wall Wednesday in a 9-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field.

Jarrod Washburn battled flu symptoms and they – along with the Orioles – got the best of him in the fifth inning when the O’s scored five runs to overcome a 4-0 Mariners lead.

The rest of the Mariners turned puny as well, much of that owing to Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera. He gave up four runs and five hits in the first two innings, then only two more hits through the next six.

“He got tougher as the game went on,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “Usually guys who’ve got good stuff, if you’re going to get them you’ve got to get them early.”

The Mariners did for a while. They scored in the first inning on Raul Ibanez’s RBI single and in the second on RBI hits by Jamie Burke and Jose Lopez, plus a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder by Jose Guillen.

Washburn, who’d held the Orioles to three hits in the first four innings, couldn’t contain them in the fifth.

It was no surprise, considering how badly he felt. While warming up before the game, he told pitching coach Rafael Chaves that he’d pitch as long as he could.

“I said I’d give it all I had until I ran out of gas,” Washburn said. “I’d like to think I could have lasted more than four innings, but I couldn’t.”

The end came swiftly. The first four Orioles in the fifth got hits off Washburn, and Aubrey Huff’s two-out double over Ichiro Suzuki’s head in center field drove in the fifth run.

“I was a little tired, but that’s no excuse,” Washburn said. “I was still out there, we had the lead and it was my job to keep it.”

Unlike the previous two games when the Mariners came from behind to win, the bullpen wasn’t able to hold down the Orioles.

Right-hander Jon Huber gave up three hits and a run in relief of Washburn, but came out of the game with two outs in the eighth because of tightness in his forearm. He said it’s not a serious situation and that he should be able to pitch in a few days.

George Sherrill finished that inning with yet another strikeout – his 10th in the past 17 hitters he has faced – but Chris Reitsma was knocked around in the ninth.

In his first outing since an inflamed elbow landed him on the disabled list May 23, Reitsma gave up three hits and two runs, and threw two wild pitches, as the Orioles pushed their lead beyond reach in the ninth.

Despite the loss, the Mariners ended their 23-game stretch as one of the hotter teams in baseball. They’ve won nine of their past 13 games, are four games over .500 at 30-26 and trail Anaheim by 5 games in the American League West.

The Mariners are fine with that with 106 games remaining, especially after a rugged first two months of the season that included six weather-related postponements and the 23-game stretch.

“I don’t know that we have learned anything about this team that we didn’t already know,” Hargrove said. “These guys are gamers. They come to play every day. One of the toughest things is holding them back and giving them the rest they need, although it’s not the rest they want.

“I haven’t seen anything to suggest that this isn’t the club I thought it could be coming into spring training. We’re not a juggernaut. But we’ve got a good, solid ballclub and if we play well and pitch well, we have a chance to win.”

They’ll be ready to get back to that Friday in San Diego, but not until after a long-awaited day off today.

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