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Yankees whip M's
Seattle Times staff reporter
In a rare display of anger, Mike Hargrove stomped to the mound in the sixth inning and apparently gave reliever Matt Thornton a hard lesson in what he expected to see from a pitcher, with much vehemence and finger-jabbing.
Thornton kept nodding and was fine thereafter. But the lesson came too late, for he and Seattle starter Ryan Franklin had already combined to incinerate a 4-0 lead over the Yankees into a 5-4 deficit that would end in a 7-4 loss.
After his first strong start in four post-suspension games, Franklin gave up two runs in the fifth and walked two batters in the sixth. Thornton came on in relief and hung a slider that Jason Giambi hit for his second homer to turn off the fun for 41,731 at Safeco Field.
The loss, 17th in 27 games for reeling Seattle, could get more costly today when Willie Bloomquist possibly goes on the disabled list.
The heady utility player strained a hamstring hustling out a grounder in the fourth that gave Franklin an extra run for his short-lived lead. Asked how he felt as he headed to the medical room, Bloomquist simply turned his thumb down.
Which is about how Hargrove rated his pitchers. "I'd rather not say what I was feeling in the sixth. We pitched well for four innings, and we didn't pitch well for five," said the manager, still understandably terse after the game. "The sad thing is it takes nine innings of pitching well to win."
That was not entirely true for New York. Starter Mike Mussina, 17-5 lifetime against the Mariners, looked like Franklin has of late for three-plus innings.
But he was picked up by reliever Aaron Small, who held Seattle to one hit over four innings while the Yankees offense geared up. When geared, Giambi twice tested the windows of the Hit It Here Café — his seventh multi-homer game since July 4 — and Alex Rodriguez and Matt Lawton added solos.
"After he went after people and threw strikes, for whatever reason, Franklin started nibbling," Hargrove said. "He was falling behind and walking people ... for whatever reason."
"We had that game in hand," he said. "Then we started pitching very tentatively, walking people, and when guys are hitting in 2-1, 3-1 counts, you get four homers.
"The Yankees are a good club and they're going to beat you, but you don't make it easier for them like we did tonight."
As irked as Hargrove might have been by Franklin's unnecessary about-face, he did say his pointed lecture with Thornton was directed only at the left-hander.
"What I had to say to Matt was all Matt. I usually don't take out on someone else something that was not their doing."
Franklin undoubtedly will hear his own version of what Hargrove felt of his work and could pay for his 10.02 ERA in August by being dropped from the rotation. Asked about this, Hargrove said, "We'll talk about that."
Thornton, who walked Bernie Williams after Giambi's game-turning strike, was frank in revealing what the skipper would not. "He wanted to make sure he knew I can compete, for me to pitch like he knows I can, like I know I can," said Thornton, who had given up crushing homers earlier in the year, but not lately.
Referring to the homer he gave up to Giambi on May 17 here, Thornton said, "It was a slider that didn't slide, the same pitch he hit off me before. I knew the location of this pitch was trouble when I let it go."
Seattle gave Mussina plenty of trouble early, with Ichiro hitting his 17th career leadoff homer to start the first.
The Mariners added a run on a rare Mussina walk with the bases loaded in the third, to Richie Sexson, but a chance at a bigger inning was quelled when Adrian Beltre popped out on a 1-0 count.
Pitching with a 4-0 lead, Franklin reverted to the flop he has been since coming off his steroid-abuse suspension.
New York got two in the fifth, despite a second strikeout/throwout double play by catcher Miguel Ojeda, and turned the game around when Franklin turned his approach around in the next inning.
"I didn't get tentative, I'm not scared to go after people," he said. "I just started missing."
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company