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First-place Mariners hope hot bats don't cool off

MARINERS • UPDATED 1:20 P.M.

After taking both games this weekend against the Texas Rangers, and doing it by scoring 22 runs, the M's earned the leadoff role today at SportsLink.

Yes, we all know the Rangers' pitching isn't the best. But it's not worst in the American League either, is it? Texas' defense basically sucks, and contributed at least four runs to the tally, but even without the help of their brick-like gloves, the M's would have handled the Rangers this weekend.

So let's examine what went right. Ichiro started hitting. Adrian Beltre hit. Jose Vidro hit home runs. Kenji Johjima hit. Miguel Batista threw strikes. Horacio Ramirez pitched through some shoddy Seattle defense.

How is this possible? The best explanation came from Ichiro.

"Hits don’t fall from heaven, you have to work for them," he told the Seattle writers. Sounds like a saying from that faux best-selling self-help book, "The Zen of Ichiro."

But right now, with today off and Minnesota coming to Seattle on Tuesday for a three-game set, the M's are in first place for a while. And that does seem like a gift from heaven.

Today's hot list …

• The game stories talk about Ichiro's resurgence, and his joke about eating two ice cream cones Saturday. They also talk about the hitting of Jose Vidro. Here are the stories from the P-I, the Herald, the News Tribune and the Times. We also offer links to the Dallas Morning News and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram stories, both of which have a negative bent, not surprising considering the Rangers are 1-5 against AL West opponents.

• UPDATE: I know most of you have seen this, but I had to link to former Mariner's manager Lou Pinella's meltdown after Saturday's loss. It is vintage Lou. Boy, I miss the guy.

• With Sunday being the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, there were events all over the major leagues. Four Mariner players wore No. 42 in honor of Robinson.

• Vidro's offensive explosion was the subject of John McGrath's column.

• Ichiro is seemingly so important to the M's attack that his big game was also the lead to the Times' notebook.

And our question for the day …

• This is your last chance. Look at the M's schedule and try to fit in the four games with Cleveland. Where would you put them?




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