SEATTLE – Ian Snell will have other chances to atone for the first impression he left Seattle Mariners fans Saturday night at Safeco Field.
For that, he and the Mariners should be thankful.
Unable to get a feel for both the umpire’s strike zone and his own fastball, the newly acquired Snell labored through 11/3 innings before being pulled from what became a 10-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Snell, acquired along with shortstop Jack Wilson in the July 29 trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, gave up six walks, two hits and three runs before manager Don Wakamatsu said enough.
Despite all that, the Mariners came back to tie the score at 3 in the second inning and had another opportunity in the sixth before the game finally got out of hand when the Rays scored four runs in the eighth.
Snell and four Mariners relievers issued 10 walks, and six of those runners scored.
“That was really three different games in one,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We gave up three runs and battled back to tie it up, then we had an opportunity in the sixth inning to tie it again. That was the critical point in the ballgame.”
Well, that and the first 60 pitches thrown by Snell.
He needed that many to get four outs, and only 27 were strikes.
Wakamatsu pulled Snell from what tied him for his shortest career start in the big leagues. He also had a 11/3-inning upchuck on May 14, 2006, against the Florida Marlins.
“This kid has tremendous stuff but we have to throw the ball over the plate,” Wakamatsu said. “I thought he got caught in trying to force a pitch he didn’t have command of. He threw a lot of fastballs – 35 of the 42 that he threw in the first inning were fastballs. It’s (a matter of) recognizing that you might have to go to another pitch to get yourself out of trouble.”
As dismal as it seemed through 1½ innings, the Mariners teased the crowd of 28,239 with what looked like a second straight comeback.
They scored three times in the bottom of the second off Rays starter James Shields, including Franklin Gutierrez’s two-run homer, then got superb relief from right-hander Chris Jakubauskas.
Jakubauskas got a double play to snuff the Rays’ attempt to blow the game open in the second and retired eight straight hitters.
Then he ran afoul with his command in the fifth inning and the Rays rocked him. Evan Longoria hit a 2-2 pitch over the center-field fence for a home run and a 4-3 lead. Jakubauskas followed that by walking Ben Zobrist, and he fell behind Carlos Pena and paid a big price on a 3-2 fastball. Pena knocked it out to right, a two-run homer that made the score 6-3.
Jakubauskas retired the next six he faced and the Mariners managed a run in the sixth when Michael Saunders hit an RBI double to right field for his third hit. Trailing by two runs with runners on second and third with one out, the top of the Mariners’ order couldn’t produce.
Against left-handed reliever Randy Choate, Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Branyan grounded out to end the inning. The Mariners didn’t have another baserunner, much less an opportunity, the rest of the game.
It didn’t matter after what the Rays did in the top of the eighth.
Two hit batters, two bloops and a broken bat produced three straight hits, followed by a sacrifice fly in a four-run Rays rally.
The only unscathed pitcher for the Mariners was Doug Fister, the rookie who’d spent the day traveling from Round Rock, Texas, to join the team after being called up.
Fister, being considered to start Tuesday night against the White Sox, gave up a single and a walk in the ninth but struck out Gregg Zaun for the third out of his in his first big-league inning.
“It was good to get him in there and get him acclimated,” Wakamatsu said.
Rays 10, Mariners 4
|Griffey Jr. dh||3||0||0||0||1||1||.220|
E—J.Shields (2). LOB—Tampa Bay 7, Seattle 7. 2B—Crawford (18), Beltre (20), F.Gutierrez (14), M.Saunders (1). HR—Longoria (24), off Jakubauskas; C.Pena (28), off Jakubauskas; F.Gutierrez (13), off J.Shields. RBIs—Bartlett 2 (53), Crawford (54), Longoria 2 (83), Zobrist (58), C.Pena 2 (73), Burrell (42), B.Upton (37), F.Gutierrez 2 (48), M.Saunders (3). SF—Crawford. RLISP—Tampa Bay 5 (Zaun 3, C.Pena 2); Seattle 4 (Branyan 3, I.Suzuki). GIDP—Longoria, C.Pena. DP—Seattle 2 (Jo.Lopez, Ja.Wilson, Branyan), (Ja.Wilson, Jo.Lopez, Branyan).
|J.Shields W, 7-8||5 1/3||8||4||3||3||6||111||3.79|
|Choate H, 5||1 1/3||0||0||0||0||0||13||2.41|
|Balfour H, 12||1 1/3||0||0||0||0||2||14||4.50|
|Jkbsks L,5-7||4 2/3||2||3||3||1||3||56||5.57|
IR-S—Choate 2-0, Jakubauskas 3-0, White 2-2. WP—Fister. Balk—Jakubauskas. T—3:08. A—28,239 (47,878).
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