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M’S Let Another W Slip Away Poor Defense And Typical Mariners Bullpen Work Help Colorado Pull Out A Last Inning Victory

Larry Larue Tacoma News Tribune

In a small bathroom off his office, Lou Piniella smoked a cigarette he couldn’t taste and studied the reflection in the mirror of a man who’d turned 54 a day earlier.

“We coughed up another one,” he said.

And then he said something unprintable.

A few hundred feet away, in the visitors’ clubhouse of Coors Field, most of the Seattle Mariners showered and dressed quietly, although Mike Timlin sat in his cubicle - still in a sweat-soaked T-shirt - and talked about the last thing his team needed from him.

A blown save.

“It was a game we should have won,” he said.

No one argued.

For the 21st time this season - a number incomprehensible to a first-place team - the Seattle Mariners blew a save Friday, losing a one-run lead in the ninth inning as the Colorado Rockies rallied to beat Timlin 6-5.

A pair of desperation trades made on the final day of July were supposed to dam a river of late-inning losses, but as August slides into September, the Seattle Mariners are closing in on desperation.

“We’re not playing well fundamentally,” Piniella said, dragging on his cigarette.

And then there’s the obvious. The bullpen.

After trying virtually every arm on their roster in the closer’s role, Seattle traded Jose Cruz Jr., Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for relievers Heathcliff Slocumb, Timlin and Paul Spoljaric.

Since those deals, the Mariners’ record is 14-14.

The first eight innings, Seattle looked good.

Rookie Ken Cloude, making his fifth major-league start, gave up six hits in six innings - three of them long home runs. But the Mariners wouldn’t let him lose.

Paul Sorrento hit a two-run home run, Ken Griffey Jr. doubled home Roberto Kelly in the third inning and then in the eighth, down 5-4, Seattle rallied again.

Griffey started it by beating out an infield hit, then scoring from first base on Sorrento’s double. And then Alex Rodriguez singled home Sorrento. Advantage Mariners, 5-4, with six outs to get for a victory.

Bobby Ayala got one out but then gave up a double and was lifted in favor of Timlin. Baserunner Walker promptly stole third base, but with the infield in, Joey Cora threw Walker out at the plate on a grounder from Dante Bichette.

Timlin then struck out Andres Galarraga. Three outs to get.

Opening the ninth inning, Timlin struck out Vinny Castilla, who earlier had hit his 37th home run. Then Reed singled to left.

Perez tripled to right center, tying the game and reaching third when Cora’s relay was high and wide.

Piniella brought his infield in, and Todd Helton grounded the ball into right field for the victory.

Rockies 6, Mariners 5

Seattle AB R H BI BB SO Avg. Cora 2b 5 0 0 0 0 0 .310 RKelly lf 3 2 1 0 1 0 .289 Griffey Jr cf 4 1 2 1 0 0 .306 Sorrento 1b 3 2 3 3 1 0 .275 ARdrguez ss 4 0 1 1 0 0 .302 Buhner rf 3 0 0 0 1 2 .240 Timlin p 0 0 0 0 0 0 — DaWilson c 3 0 0 0 0 1 .267 Sheets 3b 4 0 0 0 0 1 .211 Cloude p 2 0 0 0 0 0 .000 a-Ducey ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .278 Ayala p 0 0 0 0 0 0 — Amaral rf 1 0 0 0 0 1 .267 Totals 33 5 7 5 3 5

Colorado AB R H BI BB SO Avg. Weiss ss 3 0 0 0 1 2 .263 Burks cf 4 0 1 0 0 1 .267 LWalker rf 4 1 2 1 0 0 .374 Bichette lf 4 0 0 0 0 1 .313 Galarraga 1b 4 2 2 1 0 1 .314 Castilla 3b 4 1 1 2 0 2 .306 JeReed c 4 0 1 0 0 2 .317 1-McCrckn pr 0 1 0 0 0 0 .282 NPerez 2b 4 1 2 1 0 0 .290 JmWright p 3 0 1 0 0 0 .125 Dipoto p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .125 b-Helton ph 1 0 1 1 0 0 .309 Totals 35 6 11 6 1 9

Seattle 201 000 020 5 Colorado 022 000 002 6

One out when winning run scored.

a-grounded into fielder’s choice for Cloude in the 7th. b-singled for Dipoto in the 9th.

1-ran for J.Reed in the 9th.

E-DaWilson (6), Castilla (16). LOB-Seattle 5, Colorado 5. 2B-Griffey Jr (32), Sorrento (18), LWalker (40). 3B-NPerez (6). HR-Galarraga (36) off Cloude; LWalker (38) off Cloude; Castilla (37) off Cloude; Sorrento (26) off JmWright. RBIs-Griffey Jr (121), Sorrento 3 (69), ARodriguez (75), LWalker (105), Galarraga (121), Castilla 2 (94), NPerez (20), Helton (6). SB- LWalker (26), NPerez (2). GIDP-ARodriguez, Bichette.

DP-Seattle 1 (ARodriguez and Sorrento); Colorado 1 (Weiss, NPerez and Galarraga).

Seattle IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Cloude 6 6 4 4 1 5 84 4.71 Ayala 1-1/3 2 0 0 0 2 24 4.31 Timlin L, 3-3 1 3 2 2 0 2 21 3.36

Colorado IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA JmWright 7-1/3 7 5 4 3 1 105 6.68 Dipoto W, 4-2 1-2/3 0 0 0 0 4 23 4.25

Inherited runners-scored-Timlin 1-0, Dipoto 1-0.

HBP-by JmWright (DaWilson). WP-Dipoto.

T-2:47. A-48,176 (50,200).

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