10:10 -- It was Seattle's seventh loss in eight games and they fall behind Texas into last place in the American League West at 14-21.
"We didn't have much run support, but (starter Erik Bedard) threw the ball well," manager John McLaren said. "… It's a grind right here. We're not swinging the bats very well, and when we do it's right at somebody. We've been challenged here. I really don't have much to tell you that I haven't told you before: We're just going through a real tough stretch right now."
McLaren said he was tossed in the second inning after what he described as a misunderstanding with home plate umpire Mark Wegner.
The Mariners played shorthanded as Richie Sexson left before the game to tend to a family matter. He is expected to be available Thursday. McLaren also disclosed that Jose Vidro has been unavailable for the past two nights due to back spasms.
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"I pitched good, but it doesn't really matter," Bedard said. "We need a win, and that's all that counts."
9:45: We're headed to the ninth, still 2-0, Rangers.
9:35: The Mariners are into the Rangers' bullpen now, and no doubt they are happy to see it. Starter Vincente Padilla left having allowed two hits and no runs in seven innings with eight K's.
9:15: Arthur Rhodes takes over for Bedard in the top of the eighth. Bedard's night: seven innings, two runs, two earned runs, six hits, one walk, five strikeouts, one wild pitch, one home run allowed; 109 pitches, 72 for strikes.
9:10: Rangers, 2-0 though seven. The Mariners got their first two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, then the next three struck out. A half inning ago the fans were stretching. Now a lot of them are walking to the exits.
8:40 -- Now it's Rangers 2, Mariners 0, in Seattle's half of the sixth.
By the way, before the game, we got some time with Mariners president Chuck Armstrong. There were two primary topics: the falloff in attendance (tonight's is 17,173) and the team's slow start.
A couple of his comments:
On manager John McLaren:
"He's doing a fine job. I like our staff. I like the manager. … I think Mac is doing a fine job. He's got a good staff, and they give him good support. He has a log of conversation, and he's providing good leadership to the guys."
"I'm optimistic about attendance picking up when the weather improves and the team's performacne inproves. But yeah, you see 15,000 here on a Tuesday night against a division rival, you're a little disappointed."
8:20 -- Halfway through: Rangers 1, Mariners 0.
8 p.m. -- We have just received word that Texas shortstop Michael Young left the game in the first inning with an injury to his left hip flexor.
7:50 -- 0-0 after three. Texas two hits, Mariners one. No errors.
7:30 -- Manager John McLaren was just ejected from the game. Starting pitcher Erik Bedard had just walked Texas' Milton Bradley, so the guess is he was tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Well, the balls at least.
7:25 -- OK, belatedly, here's the M's lineup:
1. Ichiro, cf
2. Jose Lopez, 2b
3. Raul Ibanez, lf
4. Adrian Beltre, 3b
5. Jeff Clement, dh
6. Yunieski Betancourt, ss
7. Wladimir Balentien, rf
8. Jamie Burke, c
9. Miguel Cairo, 3
(Oddly, the Rangers also have an alteration to their original starting lineup, with Ramon Vasquez sliding in for Michael Young at shortstop and second in the order. No reason yet announced.)
By the way, here's manager John McLaren's explanation for moving Betancourt up from his earlier No. 9 spot in the order: "I knew he was comfortable in the ninth position, but I just wanted to try something. You can only sit pat so many times. I don't like switching the lineup every single day, but if you see something's not working – some guys together who just don't look like they're going to mesh – try something else."
6:20 -- The Mariners just altered their previously announced starting lineup, moving Richie Sexson out -- due to what is being called a "personal family issue" -- and Miguel Cairo in. I never quite got around to posting that previous lineup, but I'll try to get the new one up soon.
2:30 p.m. -- We're opening up shop a little early today, simply stepping across the street after a Seattle Sounders even at Qwest. As we get going, it's drizzling in downtown Seattle, and the roof over Safeco is closed. A few Rangers are out hitting, running and shagging flies. A train whistle is blowing. Mariners clubhouse opens in about an hour, and I'll be back in a couple of hours with the batting order and quotes and -- less likely -- perhaps some actual clubhouse news. First pitch is at 7:10. The game is on FSN and, needless to say, plenty of good tickets remain.