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News » Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-04-18
For the 10th time in 11 games, Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu put a different lineup on the field Friday night against Detroit.

Coming into the season, Wakamatsu said he might have 120 different lineups in his first season as the Mariner manager. He's well ahead of that pace now, but he suspects that pace will slow some over time.

Changes aren't likely to lessen in the immediate future, however. Catcher Kenji Johjima went on the disabled list Thursday, and first baseman Russell Branyan is probably going to spend some time out of the lineup in the next few days after suffering back stiffness following a slide at home plate in the fifth inning that forced him out of Friday's game.

Before the game, Wakamatsu said the lineup that he put on the field Friday was as close to a regular lineup as he was likely to get without Johjima.

If Branyan is out, Wakamatsu has a couple of choices. One is the one he used defensively Friday after Branyan left, with infielder Ronny Cedeno playing at second base and second baseman Jose Lopez moving to first base.

The other option is to have DH Mike Sweeney play at first base. Sweeney, coming off three knee surgeries in the last two seasons, is as healthy as he's been in a long time. It remains to be seen if he can play first base with any regularity.

MARINERS 6, TIGERS 3: Held without a base runner for the first four innings, Seattle exploded for five runs against Detroit's RHP Justin Verlander to run its record to 8-3, tying the best 11-game start in Seattle history.

3B Adrian Beltre brought the perfect game to an end with a first-pitch double in the fifth. That set in motion a five-hit inning that included a run-scoring grounder by SS Yuniesky Betancourt and a squeeze bunt by CF Franklin Gutierrez that tied the game.

RF Ichiro Suzuki, who came into the game with a .379 average on the previous seven Ichiro Bobblehead Nights, kept that average up with a full-count single up the middle off Verlander that put Seattle ahead to stay. A wild pitch closed out the inning's scoring.

RHP Felix Hernandez struggled through a 30-pitch second inning in which Detroit scored all of its runs. He needed 104 pitches to get through six innings, but he didn't allow a run after the second to keep the Mariners in the game.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 18, 2009

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