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News » Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-04-22

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-04-22

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-04-22
Given that the Rays had stolen 19 bases in 20 tries coming into Tuesday, the Mariners thought their best chance of doing well in this week's three-game series was to focus on keeping the Tampa Bay running game quiet.

Seattle was able to do that in Tuesday's series opener, in part because of the pitching of starter Jarrod Washburn and partly because of a pregame fielding practice that focused on stopping the running game.

The club worked on pitchouts, pickoff throws, quick deliveries and throws to second base by the catchers. It's part of a plan that goes back to spring training for manager Don Wakamatsu and pitching coach Rick Adair.

Coming into Tuesday, the Mariners had allowed just five steals in their first 13 games.

"So far, we've done an extremely good job of doing that," Adair said. "But the Rays will give us a real test. If we're going to win these games, we're going to have to contain them."

Wakamatsu, himself a former catcher, has preached the importance of containing the running game from day one.

"We talked again today like we have been since spring training about the ability to eliminate the running game," Wakamatsu said. "This club (the Rays) presses you. We're trying to get a handle on the running game. And it's not just second base. They have guys who are going to steal third if you let them."

The Rays did not attempt a steal Tuesday in a 4-2 Seattle win.

MARINERS 4, RAYS 2: Seattle took advantage of a drawn-in outfield with fourth-inning triples by Rob Johnson and Yuniesky Betancourt, and those were all Jarrod Washburn and the bullpen would need.

Washburn gave up two runs in the first inning on RBI hits by Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell but settled in to allow just five hits and two runs over seven innings in running his record to 3-0. It's the first time Washburn has started a season with three consecutive wins since going 4-0 to start the 1998 season.

Johnson came up in the fourth inning with no one out after Mike Sweeney had been hit by an Andy Sonnanstine pitch and Jose Lopez had singled. Johnson tripled to deep center with Gabe Kapler playing shallow.

Two batters later, with the outfield still drawn in, Betancourt tripled to the warning track in left-center.

The Mariners are now 5-0 in the first games of series en route to a 9-5 record and first place in the American League West.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 22, 2009

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