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Rangers Tutor M’S Youngster Lowe Learns Tough Lesson In Rare Loss To Texas

Larry Larue Tacoma News Tribune

The Education of Derek Lowe continued Saturday, with a lesson taught by the Texas Rangers and a subsequent lecture from Seattle manager Lou Piniella.

The ninth start of Lowe’s career became a 9-2 loss in the Kingdome, where 53,929 fans sat on their hands through most of a game that Lowe will remember - though not fondly.

“That’s the best I’ve felt, the most consistent my stuff has been, all season,” said Lowe, who got into the sixth inning.

“A few mistakes, a few bloops, a few base hits …”

Ah, rookies.

“What happens to kids at this level is they get called up because they merit the opportunity,” Piniella said after the game. “They’re here awhile and they think they’ve got to change things. I was young once. You get here and think, ‘This is the big leagues, what I did in the minors isn’t enough.’

“But it is. Derek Lowe was a ground ball pitcher in Triple-A, and he ought to be a ground ball pitcher here. He’s got a good sinker, a change-up, a breaking pitch he can keep down - and that’s a pretty good formula.”

In a first inning that let the game slide away, Lowe changed the formula. In one sequence to Rangers third baseman Dean Palmer, he threw three consecutive sliders, and Palmer hit the third for a two-run triple that put Texas on top to stay, 3-0.

“If I’d known then what I know now,” Lowe said after the game, “my curveball was much better than my slider … “

Ah, rookies.

Matched against veteran John Burkett, it might not have mattered how Lowe pitched after the first inning. Changing speeds, hitting corners, Burkett won for the seventh time this season by allowing six hits - four singles, two doubles - in eight innings against the Seattle lineup.

Lowe, meanwhile, opened the second inning by walking No. 9 hitter Henry Mercedes. That brought Piniella out of the dugout.

“Lou basically told me I got here with my sinker and my slider and to throw those pitches,” Lowe said. “After that, I did.”

Lowe got a double play from the next Ranger he faced, then retired seven of the next eight batters - striking out six of them. A pop fly fell for a double in the fifth inning and led to a Texas run, but the Mariners got to the fifth inning trailing 5-1.

And got their only point-blank chance of the day.

Russ Davis and John Marzano opened the bottom of the fifth with singles to bring up Joey Cora, and Cora lined a one-hopper at second baseman Mark McLemore, who fielded it and began a rally-gutting double play.

“We had that chance, and Joey hit the hell out of the ball,” Piniella shrugged. “What are you going to do?”

Burkett never gave the Mariners another chance, and Lowe got into a jam in the sixth inning he couldn’t get out of - and his bullpen didn’t help.

A walk and two singles pushed home another Texas run, but Lowe struck out Mercedes, and Ken Griffey Jr. threw out Lee Stevens at third base. Piniella had seen enough and went to Josias Manzanillo. Manzanillo walked the first two men he faced, forcing in a run charged to Lowe, then gave up a single that caromed off the knee of Jose Cruz Jr. in left field to clear the bases.

Ah, rookies.

By the time Manzanillo got the final out of the sixth inning, it was 9-1. The Mariners began liberally substituting for their regulars. The score stayed there until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Cruz doubled home a run - his 25th RBI in 33 major league games.

“Derek had a rocky start and then gave us a few good innings,” Piniella said. “He had good moments. He’s learning on the job. One of the toughest adjustments kids have to make here is how to get big league hitters out four and five times a game, not one or two times.

“There’s a tendency to try and overthrow instead of taking a little off the pitch. That knowledge comes with experience, and Derek is getting that.”

The question arises, of course, whether a rookie with a 2-4 record and a 6.96 earned run average fits into the rotation of a team fighting for a division title. The Mariners continue to pursue a trade for pitching but have found the market less than favorable.

MEMO: Rangers 9, Mariners 2 Texas AB R H BI BB SO Avg. McLemore 2b 5 2 1 0 0 0 .253 DCedeno ss 3 2 1 1 1 2 .315 Greer lf 4 2 2 1 1 1 .331 JuGonzalez rf 5 0 2 2 0 1 .286 WClark 1b 5 1 2 1 0 2 .335 Palmer 3b 3 1 1 2 2 1 .244 LStevens dh 4 0 2 0 1 1 .298 Buford cf 5 1 1 1 0 2 .212 HMercedes c 4 0 0 0 1 4 .172 Totals 38 9 12 8 6 14

Seattle AB R H BI BB SO Avg. Cora 2b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .330 Blowers 3b 0 0 0 0 0 0 .241 ARodriguez ss 4 0 0 0 0 2 .315 Espinoza ss 0 0 0 0 0 0 .181 Griffey Jr cf 4 0 0 0 0 2 .297 Amaral cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252 EMartinez dh 4 0 1 0 0 1 .336 Buhner rf 2 1 1 0 1 0 .247 1-Ducey pr-rf 1 1 1 0 0 0 .263 Sorrento 1b 4 0 1 1 0 2 .281 Cruz Jr lf 4 0 1 1 0 1 .264 RDavis 3b 2 0 1 0 0 0 .314 Gates 3b-2b 2 0 0 0 0 0 .244 Marzano c 4 0 2 0 0 0 .310 Totals 35 2 8 2 1 8

Texas 300 015 000 9 Seattle 010 000 001 2 1-ran for Buhner in the 6th. E-WClark (3), Cruz Jr (2). LOB-Texas 9, Seattle 7. 2B-McLemore (9), Greer (25), WClark (20), Palmer (21), EMartinez (21), Sorrento (11), Cruz Jr (9). RBIs-DCedeno (17), Greer (48), JuGonzalez 2 (72), WClark (34), Palmer 2 (45), Buford (32), Sorrento (43), Cruz Jr (25). GIDP-McLemore, Cora. Runners left in scoring position-Texas 5 (WClark, Palmer, Buford, HMercedes 2); Seattle 5 (ARodriguez, Cruz Jr 2, RDavis, Marzano). Runners moved up-Sorrento. DP-Texas 1 (McLemore, DCedeno and WClark); Seattle 1 (Cora, ARodriguez and Sorrento). Texas IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Burkett W,7-7 8 6 1 1 1 7 123 4.39 Gunderson 1 2 1 1 0 1 20 2.27 Seattle IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Lowe L,2-4 5-2/3 8 7 7 3 8 105 6.96 Manzanillo 1-1/3 1 2 1 3 4 41 5.40 BWells 2 3 0 0 0 2 33 7.15 Inherited runners-scored-Manzanillo 2-2. IBB-off Lowe (LStevens) 1. HBP-by Lowe (DCedeno). T-2:57. A-53,929 (59,084).

Rangers 9, Mariners 2 Texas AB R H BI BB SO Avg. McLemore 2b 5 2 1 0 0 0 .253 DCedeno ss 3 2 1 1 1 2 .315 Greer lf 4 2 2 1 1 1 .331 JuGonzalez rf 5 0 2 2 0 1 .286 WClark 1b 5 1 2 1 0 2 .335 Palmer 3b 3 1 1 2 2 1 .244 LStevens dh 4 0 2 0 1 1 .298 Buford cf 5 1 1 1 0 2 .212 HMercedes c 4 0 0 0 1 4 .172 Totals 38 9 12 8 6 14

Seattle AB R H BI BB SO Avg. Cora 2b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .330 Blowers 3b 0 0 0 0 0 0 .241 ARodriguez ss 4 0 0 0 0 2 .315 Espinoza ss 0 0 0 0 0 0 .181 Griffey Jr cf 4 0 0 0 0 2 .297 Amaral cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252 EMartinez dh 4 0 1 0 0 1 .336 Buhner rf 2 1 1 0 1 0 .247 1-Ducey pr-rf 1 1 1 0 0 0 .263 Sorrento 1b 4 0 1 1 0 2 .281 Cruz Jr lf 4 0 1 1 0 1 .264 RDavis 3b 2 0 1 0 0 0 .314 Gates 3b-2b 2 0 0 0 0 0 .244 Marzano c 4 0 2 0 0 0 .310 Totals 35 2 8 2 1 8

Texas 300 015 000 9 Seattle 010 000 001 2 1-ran for Buhner in the 6th. E-WClark (3), Cruz Jr (2). LOB-Texas 9, Seattle 7. 2B-McLemore (9), Greer (25), WClark (20), Palmer (21), EMartinez (21), Sorrento (11), Cruz Jr (9). RBIs-DCedeno (17), Greer (48), JuGonzalez 2 (72), WClark (34), Palmer 2 (45), Buford (32), Sorrento (43), Cruz Jr (25). GIDP-McLemore, Cora. Runners left in scoring position-Texas 5 (WClark, Palmer, Buford, HMercedes 2); Seattle 5 (ARodriguez, Cruz Jr 2, RDavis, Marzano). Runners moved up-Sorrento. DP-Texas 1 (McLemore, DCedeno and WClark); Seattle 1 (Cora, ARodriguez and Sorrento). Texas IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Burkett W,7-7 8 6 1 1 1 7 123 4.39 Gunderson 1 2 1 1 0 1 20 2.27 Seattle IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA Lowe L,2-4 5-2/3 8 7 7 3 8 105 6.96 Manzanillo 1-1/3 1 2 1 3 4 41 5.40 BWells 2 3 0 0 0 2 33 7.15 Inherited runners-scored-Manzanillo 2-2. IBB-off Lowe (LStevens) 1. HBP-by Lowe (DCedeno). T-2:57. A-53,929 (59,084).

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