Reserves Playing Important Roles

Manager Mike Hargrove typically doesn't rotate his bench players into the lineup on a regular basis, although this season is anything but typical and the reserves are seeing plenty of action.

Nagging injuries to starters -- left fielder Raul Ibanez and right fielder Jose Guillen have missed the past few games -- and a schedule that has forced the Mariners to play makeup games on scheduled off days have required Hargrove to use his bench, particularly Willie Bloomquist and Ben Broussard.

And they're producing. Broussard is batting .287 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 87 at-bats, and Bloomquist is batting .268. Backup catcher Jamie Burke is getting less time than those two, but he is batting .400 in 45 at-bats.

"Being a bench player is the toughest job in baseball," Hargrove said.

Broussard, especially, has made a big transition. Traded to the Mariners midway through last season, he primarily was a first baseman who is playing the outfield for the first time this year. He hasn't committed an error and, on Sunday, made a diving catch of a sinking liner in right field.

"Ben's a good athlete, so it's not surprising," Hargrove said. "We worked real hard on it at spring training. Good athletes are able to adjust to things better than the rest of us."

MARINERS 9, RED SOX 4: The Mariners scored five runs in the fifth inning, aided by Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez's wild throw on a sacrifice bunt, and won their third straight game. RHP Jeff Weaver, 0-6 to start the season before going on the disabled list, gave up six hits and one earned run in 5 2/3 innings and won his second straight start.

NOTES, QUOTES

--When C Kenji Johjima and 3B Adrian Beltre homered on consecutive pitches in the seventh inning, it was the Mariners' first back-to-back home runs of the season.

--1B Richie Sexson's 2-for-3 game lifted his season average to .212 and continued his recent hot streak. He is batting .357 over his past eight games, including five multi-hit games.

--RF Jose Guillen missed his third straight game because of a sore elbow. Hargrove said he hoped to play Guillen on Tuesday.

--LF Raul Ibanez missed his second straight game because of a strained right hamstring. While he's considered day-to-day, the Mariners aren't likely to play him until at least Friday, taking advantage of Thursday's off day.

--LHP Eric O'Flaherty hasn't allowed an earned run in his past 10 outings, covering 8 1/3 innings in which he has held hitters to a .074 average.

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