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News » Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2008-07-31

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2008-07-31

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2008-07-31
Twice in the last week, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt has blown bunt opportunities in key points in a game.

Twice he's had a seat on the bench the next day, including Wednesday, when he didn't start after missing a squeeze bunt in the ninth inning Tuesday that could have meant an insurance run in a game Seattle wound up losing 11-10.

Manager Jim Riggleman wouldn't say he was trying to send his shortstop a message, but the message seems to be that Betancourt, whose offensive and defensive form is off from his 2007 level, needs to pick up his game.

"It was disappointing to not get that bunt down, because the pitch looked like it was right down the middle," Riggleman said. "But we're looking to get Willie Bloomquist more playing time."

Betancourt, who hit .289 last year and who came into the season with a .283 career average, is hitting just .255. In his third full season in the big leagues, the 26-year-old has a .267 on-base percentage that is the lowest among American League players with 350 or more plate appearances.

RANGERS 4, MARINERS 3: LHP Arthur Rhodes walked three consecutive batters on 3-2 pitches with one out in the eighth inning, then was touched for a sacrifice fly off the bat of PH Michael Young that gave Texas the winning run.

Rhodes was unhappy with the strike zone of umpire Paul Nauert, and told Nauert so repeatedly, and when he said something after the sacrifice fly, Nauert took offense and ejected Rhodes from the game.

The Mariners had a chance to blow the game open with a bases-loaded, none-out opportunity for RBI leader Raul Ibanez in the seventh. Ibanez flew out to medium-deep right, apparently deep enough to bring home the go-ahead run, but RF David Murphy threw a bullet to the plate to cut down SS Willie Bloomquist with what would have been the go-ahead run.

RHP Miguel Batista threw six innings for the first time since May and had a 3-2 lead before a throwing error by C Kenji Johjima allowed the Rangers to tie the game in the sixth.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 31, 2008

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