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04/01/08 12:37 AM ET
Rangers show frustration after defeat
Young not happy he didn't make play on hard-hit grounder
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The Rangers know Opening Day is only one game, but there was still some frustration and emotion bubbling over, both on the field and in the clubhouse after a 5-2 loss to the Mariners on Monday.
Most of the frustration in the clubhouse was directed at themselves and, no, shortstop Michael Young wasn't happy that he couldn't come up with Ichiro Suzuki's ground ball to start the sixth. The Rangers and pitcher Kevin Millwood were leading 1-0 at the time, and the error set up two crucial unearned runs for the Mariners.
"I should have made the play," Young said. "He hit it hard, but that's a play I'd like to have back. If he doesn't get on, that inning might have looked different."
Third baseman Hank Blalock also wasn't happy that the Rangers couldn't turn a double play to get out of that inning with the game tied. Singles by Jose Lopez and Raul Ibanez scored Ichiro with the tying run, but Millwood got Richie Sexson on a short fly to center.
That left runners at the corners with one out and Blalock was thinking double play when Adrian Beltre hit a grounder right at him. But the ball took a tricky hop at the end, Blalock bobbled it for just a second and Beltre hustled all the way. He beat second baseman Ian Kinsler's relay and that allowed Lopez to score the go-ahead run.
"That's a play I've got to make to get us out of the inning," Blalock said. "If we get out of the inning, we still have the momentum on our side."
Millwood defended Blalock, saying, "It was a tough play. It wasn't hit that hard, and a third-to-second-to-first double play is a long double play. I was hoping we could turn it, but Beltre did a good job hustling down the line."
Emotions got a little high on the field in the third inning, when Milton Bradley, batting with two out and Josh Hamilton at second, took a 2-2 pitch from pitcher Erik Bedard off his back right foot and jogged to first base. However, when Bradley got there, home-plate umpire Jim Joyce called him back, saying he didn't see the ball hit Bradley in the foot.
Bradley didn't argue, preferring manager Ron Washington take up the cause with Joyce.
"[Joyce] said in his opinion he didn't think it hit him," Washington said. "He thought it hit the ground."
It didn't really matter, because the next pitch was ball four. But Bradley reacted by firing his bat toward the Rangers' third-base dugout before going to first base. Joyce wasn't thrilled with that gesture. Again, Washington intervened, and there were also some comments from the Rangers bench that didn't sit well with Joyce.
"He felt Milton was showing him up," Washington said. "I had to go straighten him out. It's no big deal. Milton was just fired up. I just didn't want him to throw Milton out."
The Rangers still had runners on first and second with two out, but Bedard struck out Marlon Byrd to end the inning. Byrd reacted by slamming the bat down at home plate. He was a .315 hitter with runners in scoring position last year but was 0-for-2 on Monday.
"I pride myself in hitting with runners in scoring position," Byrd said. "Not being able to come through with the way Millwood was pitching, that was really frustrating."
This was Opening Day. The Rangers wanted this one, which is why second baseman Ian Kinsler fought off fever and flu symptoms to get into the lineup.
"I felt fine defensively and offensively," Kinsler said. "It wasn't too bad. I took five or six pills and tried to gut it out and help the team out. Hopefully I'll get a good night's sleep and be ready tomorrow."