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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mariners may have won by one strand of leather


One play. One dive. One win.

In a 162-game Major League baseball schedule, at least a few games will be decided by defense. Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Devil Rays was one of them.

When Yuniesky Betancourt left his feet in pursuit of B.J. Upton's ground ball with two on and one out in the second inning, he probably wasn't thinking the game was on the line. But, as is often the case in baseball, it was. When Betancourt came up with the ground ball and got a force at second, it killed a Devil Rays' rally. And opened the doors for the M's.

Betancourt was the guy who kicked it open as well, with a two-run double in the fourth to give Seattle the lead for good.

The M's go for the sweep today (12:10; no TV; 700-AM) with Horacio Ramirez (4-2, 6.10 ERA) trying to take his Safeco Field success to the road.

Today's hot list …

• The plays with the leather lead the way in the game stories as well. Here they are, from the Times, the P-I and the News Tribune. There are two papers covering the Devil Rays, the St. Pete Times and the Tampa Tribune.

• Julio Mateo is out of limbo. The M's are satisfied the relief pitcher is doing well enough in counseling to activate him. He'll be in Tacoma.

• The Rays are going through a domestic violence problem of their own as we linked to yesterday. There is more about NiShea and Elijah Duke's problems here.

• The brightest spot on the M's pitching staff, taking all the expectations into consideration, might just be the work of rookie Brandon Morrow. The right-hander has taken over the eighth inning and made it his own.

• And our question of the day …

• Are you looking forward to Friday's matchup of Gil Meche and Felix Hernandez in Kansas City? Who will come out on top?

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Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.