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Winning streak lifts M’s back to .500

MARINERS

Four in a row. After six in a row in the loss column, the four consecutive wins brings the M’s back to .500 at 9-9. It’s not pennant-winning stuff but it’s a step in the right direction.

And, as Jack just said, it was nice to see a win.

A win built on effective starting pitching from Horacio Ramirez, some timely pop from Jose Lopez and Kenji Johjima and another five-out save from J.J. Putz.

The 7-4 final exposed one of the M’s weaknesses right now though. The lack of effective middle relief is galling. Tonight it was Chris Reitsma who, when handed a 5-1 lead to protect, gave up a three-run dinger to pinch-hitter Ross Gload in the eighth. That was proceeded by a walk to Alex Gordon, a rookie hitting a buck-and-a-half.

So Putz had to come in during the eighth for the second consecutive night. During the ninth, when he was protecting the final score, Putz had to be visited by trainer Rick Griffin and pitching coach Rafael Chavez. But Putz was OK, finishing the game with 4-6-3 double play.

He better be OK, because Mike Hargrove is using him like Hargrove thinks Putz is either Mariano Rivera or it’s the last week of the season. Either way, if Putz has to pitch like this for long, his arm won’t last the year.

Well that’s it from Seattle other than to report we were bombarded by mayo and relish from the upper deck midway through the eighth inning. The rude fans sitting in the 200 level ruined Jack’s new M’s hat, stained his jacket and nailed the woman behind us.

They were ejected, I think, but not before making the trip a little less enjoyable. And that’s too bad.


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