Hmm, let's look at some numbers for a second.
5 — straight losses at Safeco Field, which hasn't happened since August of the 2008 season - like any of you fans want to remember that.
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6 — the number of hits the M's got tonight
76 — the number of innings in between home runs after Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run homer off of starter Matt Garza in the bottom of the fourth to give Seattle a brief 2-0 lead.
9 — losses in the last 11 games.
8 — the number of times they scored three runs or less in the last nine games.
8 — passed balls that now leads the AL. the next closest is two.
14,627 — the number fans that attended tonight. It was the second lowest crowd this season and also the second lowest in Safeco Field.
–35 — what the temperature felt like at Safeco.
0 — the number of wins that the Mariners have in the last two starts each for Lee, Felix and Doug Fister.
“When we’re throwing a guy like Cliff or Felix or (Doug) Fister out there, those are the ballgames we need to win or we’ve got to get better offensively,” manager Don Wakamatsu said.
Lee (0-1) wasn’t quite as dominant as his Mariners debut five days ago, when he pitched seven shutout innings and allowed three hits. But he was also facing perhaps the best team in baseball — now 20-7 — and was still solid for parts of seven innings, allowing just two runs on six hits.
“It was a good ballgame through seven,” Don Wakamatsu said. “Cliff threw the ball well through seven.”
But it was the eighth where things fell apart with the game tied at 2-2 and Lee on the mound.
Lee got Rays lead-off hitter Jason Bartlett to fly out. But Carl Crawford singled and then Ben Zobrist reached on a bunt single that Wakamatsu felt should have been an out. Evan Longoria singled trhough the left side to score a run. Down 3-2, it was still a workable for Lee to get out with just the one run. He coaxed a line out from Carlos Pena to shortstop Josh Wilson. But Wilson tried to double off Longoria at first and tossed the ball into the dugout, allowing a run to score and Longoria to move up a base. B.J. Upton singled up the middle to score another run, and suddenly the Mariners trailed 5-2.
“We ended up having a defensive miscue and a bunt that we didn’t cover, and it ended up leading to three runs,” Wakamatsu said.
But it wasn’t the eighth inning that bothered Lee. No it was the fifth inning that he wanted back.
At that point in the game, the Mariners had all the momentum. In the bottom of fourth, Franklin Gutierrez snapped the team’s 76-inning homerless drought with a two-run blast to right field. The Mariners first home run since April 25th and 10th of the season, gave them a 2-0 lead.
But Tampa Bay answered as Dioner Navarro ripped a one out double to left-center and scored on Gabe Kapler’s single. Jason Bartlett followed with a double to left field to score Kapler from first. Suddenly the lead and the momentum were gone.
“I've got to do a better job after we get the lead there in the fourth,” Lee said. “We score two runs and I go back out there and give up two runs and tie the game back. I got to do a better job of keeping out team with a lead and getting us back into the dugout.”
Lee wanted back to the two changeups that led to the doubles.
“Both pitches were basically the same pitch - changeups kind of out over the plate,” he said. “One of them went down the line and one of them went over the third baseman for a double.”
Wakamatsu saw a change in his team after the Rays tied the game in the fifth.
“Once he gave up those two, you could feel it in the dugout a little bit,” Wakamatsu said. “The way we've been going, the offense has not done anything. I think it puts so much pressure on a pitcher to be perfect.”
A few other things …
Wak on Sean White's masterful outing of 1.3 inning pitched, three runs, one hit and three walks ...
"Because of the situation of the bullpen not getting consistent work, we wanted to get him in there. He hadn’t pitched in four days and he was not real good. His command was off and he struggled with his mechanics."
SS Jack Wilson felt tightness in his right hamstring after his bunt single in the third. It's the lower hamstring right behind the knee. It's the same thing that bothered him in spring training, where he missed three days.
"We're hoping it's not any longer than that," Wakamatsu said.
Wakamatsu said they would re-evaluate the situation. But with Milton Bradley having his issues, the bench was already thin.
"We’ll talk about it in the morning and see what we can do," he said. "We might make a move tomorrow, but we don’t know what that is yet."
Catcher Rob Johnson suffered bruised knuckles taking a foul tip off his throwing hand. He's going in for x-rays, but Wak didn't think it was too serious.
OF Milton Bradley sat in the dugout for the game and was in the clubhouse afterward.
• Starter Matt Garza earned his 5th win on the season, the top mark in the AL…he is the fastest Rays pitcher to 5 wins in franchise history…Garza retired the first 7 batters faced, and 9 of the first 11 Mariner batters…
• Garza has tossed 8.0 innings in 4 out of his 6 starts this season, which is most in the AL, and tied for most in the majors with Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright.
• The Rays improved to 11-1 on the road this, while winning 17 of their last 21 games.
• Jason Bartlett broke out of a 1x15 slump, going 2x4 with a single in the first and a RBI double in the fifth…he has 11 of 16 RBI on the season since April 25…is now hitting .444 (4x9) in his career against Lee.
• Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the go-ahead RBI single in the 8th…during this stretch he is batting .455 (20x44) with 12 runs scored, 3 doubles, 4 home runs and 9 RBI…he is 1 game short of career high streak…currently lead the Majors with 26 runs scored this season and is 2nd on the Rays with 21 RBI (Pena leads with 22).
• The Rays are now 3-1 on the season against former Cy Young winners…beating Zach Grienke (AL 2009), Lee (AL 2008), and Jake Peavy (NL 2007), while losing to CC Sabathia (AL 2007)…the Rays are 6-1 in last 7 games they have faced a Cy Young winner.
• Reid Brignac had a pinch-hit RBI double in the 9th…he has 11 RBI in last 10 games and leads all AL rookies with 13 RBI.
• Starter Cliff Lee tossed a season-high 8.0 innings in his second start of the season…the loss snapped a 4-game winning streak against the Rays, while the 5 runs allowed were the most ever against Tampa Bay…has tossed at least 7.0 innings in 5 of his last 6 starts vs. TB.
• Franklin Gutierrez homer in the 4th broke a 76.0 inning Mariner home run drought (last: Gutierrez, 4/25 vs. CWS)...Gutierrez has 3 home runs on the year to (tied with Kotchman for team lead) …it was his 8th career home run at Safeco...he is batting .333 (7x21) on the homestand and .358 (19x53) at Safeco this season.
• Gutierrez recorded his 11th multi-hit game of the season, going 2x4 with a single and home run…2nd most multi-hit games on the team behind Ichiro (13)…he also currently leads the team with 16 RBI.
• Jack Wilson left the game in the 4th with tightness in his right hamstring…was replaced at SS by Josh Wilson, who made his season debut after being called up from AAA Tacoma yesterday.