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04/14/07 8:30 PM ET
Sosa belts long ball, but Rangers fall
Slugger's 590th homer not enough as errors prove costly
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- One disastrous inning ruined the Rangers' afternoon and spilled a little bad blood between them and the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. Errors by third baseman Hank Blalock and second baseman Ian Kinsler helped feed the trouble, and Vicente Padilla hitting Ichiro Suzuki with a pitch helped feed the hard feelings. Ultimately, the Mariners scored four runs in the third off Padilla, and the Rangers never fully recovered. Sammy Sosa hit his 590th career home run, but the Rangers still suffered an 8-3 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field. Padilla has now lost three straight starts, leaving him 0-3 with a 6.62 ERA on the season. "I like the way he's pitching," manager Ron Washington. "I don't think there's anything wrong with the way he's pitching. We just have to support him more." Washington was more concerned about the two errors in the third and three in the game. The Rangers have committed 10 errors in 11 games so far this season, leading to seven unearned runs. "It's been pretty good at times, and not so good at times," Washington said. "It will get better." The feelings, however, between the Rangers and the Mariners may not get better anytime soon. Immediately after Ichiro was hit by Padilla, Mariners right-hander Miguel Batista (1-1) hit Michael Young with a pitch to start the fourth. The pitch didn't bother Young, who said, "I didn't think about it. It's part of the game." But home-plate umpire Paul Emmel immediately warned both sides. "I don't think Padilla hit Ichiro on purpose," Washington said. "He pitches inside, and every time he hits somebody, they think it's on purpose. He didn't hit Ichiro on purpose, but they definitely hit Mike on purpose. They did something they intended to do. It seems like we have some bad blood between us and Seattle. I don't like it, but what can we do?" Asked if he thought Padilla hit Ichiro on purpose, Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said, "Yeah, probably. ... Wait, I don't know. I can't say that, but it was awfully suspicious." Batista said, "That's the ugly part of the game. You have to protect your players." The ugly part was the Rangers' defense in the bottom of the third behind Padilla. Jose Lopez led off with a single, and Jamie Burke, who was the Rangers' Triple-A catcher last year, then doubled down the right-field line to put runners on second and third. That brought up Ichiro with first base open, and Padilla hit him with the first pitch to load the bases. Adrian Beltre followed with a chopper at Blalock, who might have had a play at home but fumbled the ball and ended up getting nothing instead. A run scored and the bases remained loaded. Jose Vidro hit a relatively slow grounder to Kinsler's left, and Kinsler seemed to slip as he went to field it, trying to at least get a force at second. Instead, the ball got through him, and two more runs scored. Beltre went to third on the play and scored on a sacrifice fly by Raul Ibanez, giving the Mariners a 4-0 lead. "It's frustrating, frustrating for Padilla," Kinsler said. "He's out there working his tail off getting ground balls, and we can't make a play for him." Beltre added a two-run homer off of Padilla in the fourth to make it 6-0, and the Rangers never were able to recover despite home runs from Sosa and Brad Wilkerson and Mark Teixeira's double, which preceded Sosa's home run and was his first extra-base hit of the year. "We cost ourselves four runs," Washington said. "We might have gotten out of that inning with just one run, but that's baseball. Kinsler will make that play, Hank will make that play, we just didn't make them, and it ended up a four-run inning. We made Padilla work a little too hard. We made some mistakes we couldn't overcome."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.