Notes: Boost from Borders

Notes: Boost from Borders

ST. PETERSBURG -- Forty-two-year-old Pat Borders found himself in the lineup again Sunday after he hit a game-winning home run against Tampa Bay one day earlier.

"Hey," Mariners coach Mike Hargrove said, "he won a game for us last night."

It's the first time Borders, who Hargrove has said will catch regularly for starters Jamie Moyer and Aaron Sele, started consecutive games for Seattle since he was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on May 20. In three appearances, Borders is 2-for-10 with a run scored.

Facing Rays starter Casey Fossum, Borders hit the first pitch of the at-bat 418 feet into the seats in left field on Saturday to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead. He finished 1-for-4.

Another reason Hargrove keeps running Borders out there is that when he catches, starting pitchers tend to pitch well. Borders caught Sele's four-hit shutout against San Diego on May 22 and Moyer's complete game Wednesday against Baltimore.

"There's very little that Pat can't say, 'Been there, done that' to," Hargrove said. "It's amazing to see anybody at that age still competitive."

Milestone for Nelson: Reliever Jeff Nelson made his club-record 400th appearance Saturday.

"That's a lot of appearances," said Borders, who knows something about longevity. "It's a testament to his durability."

Nelson, 38, is in his third stint with Seattle (also 1992-95, 2001-03). His 760 career appearances place him 38th all-time, tied with Tommy John.

In focus: Hargrove attributed Saturday's win to better concentration, sort of. "Maybe our focus was more focused," he said with a smile.

This and that: Backup Willie Bloomquist, 1-for-5 the first two games this series, started at shortstop Sunday. "Willie seems to be swinging the bat well right now," Hargrove said. ... Seattle must win its next three games to avoid the worst May in team history. The Mariners are 7-17 this month. ... Seattle is 1-4 on the road trip after snapping a four-game skid Saturday. ... The win helped improve the Mariners' record when they face a left-handed starter to 2-9. The next time the Mariners will see a southpaw is Monday against Toronto's Ted Lilly (3-4, 7.59 ERA).

Up next: Seattle closes out May in the middle of a three-game series against Toronto at Safeco Field. The homecoming completes a six-game road trip at Baltimore and Tampa Bay. After the Blue Jays series, the Mariners host the Rays for three games.

Thomas Simonetti is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.