M's Show a Lot in Series Split with Tigers

M's Show a Lot in Series Split with Tigers

The Mariners have been at their best in recent weeks against last year's post-season teams. They swept the Red Sox June 24-27, took three of four from the A's in Oakland July 5-8 and split four with Detroit July 12-15.

That being the case, the Mariners are in position to compete for the American League West title, and for the AL wild card entry into the playoffs, should it come to that. The Mariners figure to be active as the July 31 trade deadline nears. Seattle could use another starting pitcher, but those are a scarce commodity, so the club could go looking for veteran relief help even though Seattle's bullpen has been among the best in the business this season.

One change in the rotation happens this week, with left-hander Horacio Ramirez coming off the disabled list (left shoulder tendinitis), finally ending his seven weeks out of the rotation.

TIGERS 11, MARINERS 7: The Tigers, the best road team in baseball, managed to dodge bullets early Sunday, and then raced away to an 11-7 win that left Detroit and Seattle splitting a four-game series. The Mariners loaded the bases with no one out in the first, but got just one run off right-hander Justin Verlander. In the second, the Mariners had men at second and third with one out but again got just one run.

Meanwhile, right-hander Jeff Weaver, who had been on a streak of six good starts in succession, stumbled, giving up seven runs in five innings, matching the total of earned runs he'd allowed in six starts since returning from the disabled list.

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Horacio Ramirez will be activated off the disabled list Monday and will start against Baltimore. It will be the first start for Ramirez since May 24, when he came out of a start against Tampa Bay after two innings. He went on the disabled list the next day with left shoulder tendinitis.

--CF Ichiro Suzuki came out of Sunday's game after being hit on the right thigh just above the knee by a pitch from Detroit's Justin Verlander. X-rays were negative and there is a chance that Ichiro could be in the lineup Monday against Baltimore, but he may get one day off just to make sure the knee is sound.

--C Kenji Johjima, who hit a game-winning grand slam in the sixth inning Saturday, is now 3-for-8 with 11 RBIs with the bases loaded this season. Two of the three hits are grand slams.

--LHP Jake Woods was designated for assignment after Sunday's game to make room on the roster for LHP Horacio Ramirez, who is coming off the disabled list to rejoin the starting rotation Monday. Woods, called up Saturday, pitched the final two innings of Sunday's loss to the Tigers. LHP Ryan Feierabend had been sent to Tacoma to make room for Woods.

--RF Jose Guillen hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday and now has 20 hits in 47 at-bats, giving him a July average of .426.

--RHP J.J. Putz saved the first and third games of the weekend series against the Tigers. That gives him 28 consecutive saves over two seasons (26 of them this year) and a new club record. The old record of 27 consecutive saves was set in 2005 by LHP Eddie Guardado, Putz's mentor.

--RF Jose Guillen, CF Ichiro Suzuki and LF Raul Ibanez all have five outfield assists this season. The Mariners are the only club in the American League with three outfielders with as many as five assists.

--RHP Miguel Batista has recorded quality starts in eight of his last 11 starts, and he's thrown at least six innings in 13 of 18 starts.

--RHP Mark Lowe, who has is coming off two surgeries on his right elbow, has had his injury rehabilitation assignment changed to Class AA West Tennessee and it could be another week or more before he's deemed ready to go. "I want to make absolutely sure that he's healthy before we get him off the disabled list," manager John McLaren said Sunday.

--RHP Sean Green is getting more and more serious work time as the season goes along. The 28-year-old is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last 10 appearances, getting three double plays in addition to 10 strikeouts in that 9 2/3-inning stretch. For the year, he's 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA.

--INF/OF Willie Bloomquist, who averaged .385 in June, was just 2-for-15 in July before getting hits in his first two at-bats Sunday against Detroit.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 -- Number of base runners allowed this season by RHP J.J. Putz, who has 26 saves.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This (Tigers) team is going to be in the playoffs. And if we're fortunate enough to get there, we know we can play with them." -- Jose Vidro, after splitting a four-game series with Detroit.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

CF Ichiro Suzuki (bruised right thigh) left the July 15 game. He is day-to-day.

LHP Horacio Ramirez (left shoulder tightness) went on the disabled list May 25. He threw his first bullpen session June 19. He threw a 50-pitch simulated game June 25. He started an injury rehabilitation assignment June 30, pitching for Class AAA Tacoma. He's expected to make at least three rehab starts before being activated, and he's expected to return on July 16.

SS Yuniesky Betancourt (sore back) was held out of the starting lineup on July 8, but was able to play the ninth inning.

1B Richie Sexson (sore right thumb) didn't play July 3-4 but was back in the lineup July 5. He was out again July 6 with a left foot but played in the series finale against Oakland on July 8.

C Kenji Johjima (right hand contusion) left the game July 3 and didn't play July 4. He returned to the lineup July 5.

RHP Cha Seung Baek (shoulder) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 17.

RHP Chris Reitsma (sore right elbow) went on the disabled list June 11. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on July 1 and was activated on July 6.

RHP Jon Huber (elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 7. He threw on the side July 3.

RHP Sean White (right biceps tendinitis) went on the disabled list June 2. He threw his first bullpen session June 27.

RHP Mark Lowe (right elbow) had a second surgery on the elbow this spring, a move designed to remove scar tissue. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on July 3.

LHP Arthur Rhodes (left elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to April 1. He had Tommy John surgery on May 2, and he is out for the season.

LHP Cesar Jimenez (stress fracture in left elbow) opened the season on the 60-day disabled list. He began a minor league rehab assignment in late June.

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